Chris Powell, the manager of Charlton Athletic Football Club, received an honorary degree, Doctor of Science (HonDSc), from the University of Greenwich yesterday.
As one of only two black managers currently working in the English professional game, Chris is a key role model, and as a former player at the university’s local club, he is a key figure in the area.
Chris was chosen as League One’s manager of the year and was recently named as one of the most inspirational figures in the country by the Independent on Sunday. The newspaper selected Chris as one of the top ten “celebrities who inspire” in its annual Happy List, marking him as having the potential to be the first black England manager
He led Charlton to the League One championship last season, his first full season in charge. The club broke its points record for a single season, ending the campaign on 101 points, and were top of the league for almost the entire season.
Chris says: “This is a superb honour, not just for myself, but for my family and our wonderful football club. This is something I will really cherish. The university and the football club are both important parts of the local area and we try to help and contribute to the community. Charlton is very big on that and there have always been people doing great work at the club to stress the players’ responsibilities to the community.
Chris enjoyed a long career as a left back, playing 270 games over eight seasons in three spells at The Valley. He earned five England caps after making his debut at the comparatively late age of 31.
He served as chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association, the players’ union, for five years until retiring in 2010. In October 2009 Chris was named as one of 50 ambassadors for England’s 2018 World Cup bid.
Honorary degrees are awarded to individuals of distinction who have made a major contribution to the work of the university, or who have earned prominence for activities associated more widely with education, business, culture, creative work and public service.