By Chris Harris
Jayne Ludlow has led calls for Arsenal Ladies manager Vic Akers to be honoured for his contribution to women's football.
The driving force behind the Club's formation nearly 20 years ago, Akers has won 27 major trophies and led his team to an unprecedented quadruple last season. That included the Uefa Women's Cup, a prize no British club had won until Arsenal beat Swedish champions Umea.
Ludlow enjoyed a stellar season as stand-in captain while Faye White recovered from a serious knee injury. Now she wants Akers, the 'Godfather' of Arsenal Ladies, to receive national recognition for his incredible achievements.
"He does deserve an honour," Ludlow told Arsenal.com. "We're surprised as a group that he hasn't actually had any recognition.
"The MBEs, the OBEs come around every so often and if you are looking for someone who has made an impact with a sport like women's football, apart from Hope Powell, the main manager in the country, then Vic has got to be the next one.
"For whatever reason he hasn't been recognised yet but hopefully that will get sorted in the next 12 months because he thoroughly deserves that. I know his enjoyment is about watching the girls progress and do well but it would be good for him to have something even nicer to remember it by.
"He's got the medals now, he's got the clips to watch, but I think some national recognition would polish off the season for him."
Ludlow's own contribution to the Ladies' success last season cannot be underestimated. Handed the captain's armband after White damaged knee ligaments, she rose to the challenge. A natural leader, Ludlow was a powerhouse in Arsenal's midfield and contributed valuable goals, notably in both domestic Cup Finals.
But the Wales captain admits that, without Akers, she would not be the player she is today.
"He's made me more aggressive," said Ludlow. "Vic and I clash a lot but we also have the same aims and a lot of respect for each other, especially me for him.
"As a Valleys girl coming here at the age of 20 or 21, while I was still a student, he gave me so much support. Football-wise he's made me a better player.
"In my first few years I probably didn't acknowledge him that much because, as the girls will tell you, I'm always right! But he's had an immense impact on me as a person and a player and I think a lot of the senior girls especially will say the same. He makes a big difference."
'Sir Vic' certainly has a nice ring to it. So how would Ludlow enjoy playing for a knight of the realm? "Sir Vic? Oh I don't know if I'd go that far! I'd have to bow every time he took a [training] session.
"But it would be good recognition for a guy who has put a lot of effort and a lot of years into the sport he loves."
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