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  Saturday, 30 December, 2000, 00:00 GMT
Suits you, Sirs
Steve Redgrave with all five medals
Redgrave's five medals recognised at highest level
Steve Redgrave has received a knighthood in the New Year's Honours List, making him the the latest recruit to a select club of sporting Sirs.

Redgrave carved himself a special place in history when he won his fifth successive Olympic rowing gold in the summer, at the age of 38.

The rower's reward follows the CBE he received after victory in Atlanta four years ago and the MBE he got in 1986.

Now Redgrave has been rewarded for his sporting genius by receiving the highest recognition from the Queen - and he is in extremely good company.

Sir Stanley Matthews became the first footballer to be knighted back in 1965.

The mercurial winger was one of the greatest talents the game has ever seen with his trademark mazy runs that made him almost impossible to tackle.

Stanley Matthews
Stanley Matthews - first footballer to be knighted

Between two spells at Stoke City, he spent 14 seasons with Blackpool.

In Lancashire he won an FA Cup winners' medal against Bolton virtually single-handed. It has since been dubbed The Matthews Final.

In 1956 he became the first winner of the European Footballer of the Year award.

Cricket dominates

Of England's 1966 World Cup winning side two players - Bobby Charlton and hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst - were awarded knighthoods, along with manager Alf Ramsey.

Victorious captain Bobby Moore would surely have joined the group, but sadly the stylish defender died in 1993 before getting the Queen's call.

Football's most recent knight was Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson.

Henry Cooper
Henry Cooper poses with his kinighthood from the Queen

He received the honour last year for his impressive record at Old Trafford.

It has included six Premiership titles in eight years and an unprecedented treble of league, FA Cup and European Cup titles in 1998-99.

Away from football, cricket boasts the largest number of knighthoods - with most of them non-Englishman.

In 1949, Australia's Don Bradman, universally recognised as the greatest batsman of all time, became Sir Donald Bradman.

Boasting an incredible Test average of 99.94, he took on and beat the world's best bowlers.

He was England's tormentor-in-chief throughout the 1930s, prompting the infamous 'Bodyline' tactic.

West Indian pair Garfield Sobers and Viv Richards were also touched with the famous sword.

New Zealand captain Richard Hadlee is also now Sir Richard.

Stirling Moss
Moss' services behind the wheel recognised

All-rounder Hadlee unusually collected the accolade when he was still playing.

The late Colin Cowdrey, who died last month, went on to become a Lord after being made Sir Colin in 1992.

Heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper, who famously put down Muhammad Ali at Wembley in 1963, became boxing's first knight last year.

Our 'Enery was eventually beaten twice by Ali, who fought as Cassius Clay in the first of their world title fights.

Cooper cemented his place in the hearts of the British public because of his gutsy displays and gentlemanly manner.

Stirling Moss also received a knighthood last year for services to motor racing, while team boss Frank Williams was handed the honour in 1998.

Other sporting knights include horse racing trainer Michael Stoute and four-minute miler Roger Bannister.

Now, in a fitting tribute to a special athlete, Redgrave is privileged enough to become a member of this special group - a true knight to remember.

New Year Honours

Sporting knights

Olympic honours

Football honoured

'Services to sport'

Around the UK
See also:

22 Feb 00 | UK News
23 Sep 00 | Rowing and Water Sports
31 Dec 99 | New Years Honours
10 Dec 00 | Sports Personality
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