Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that Pat Rice has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Rice, who left his role as assistant manager at the end of last season after a 44-year association with Arsenal, is to receive an MBE in the New Year as a result of his services to sport.

Rice has a rich history with Arsenal Football Club, having first joined as a youth team player back in 1964. A Northern Ireland international right back, he was a Double winner in 1971 and captained the side to FA Cup glory in 1979. In total, he made 528 appearances for Arsenal across 14 seasons.

After a spell with Watford between 1980 and 1984, Rice returned to Arsenal as a youth team coach, winning two FA Youth Cups in 1988 and 1994. He took up a senior coaching role as assistant manager when Arsène Wenger joined in 1996. In this role, he helped guide the Club to seven major honours, including Doubles in 1998 and 2002, three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.

Rice said: “I’m delighted and honoured to be receiving an MBE. The news of the award came as a complete surprise and I’m just so flattered to be included in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

“Football and Arsenal have been my life and I have so many fantastic memories during my career. I have been lucky to have played and worked with so many great individuals, and through hard work I have enjoyed some success along the way.

“It has been a privilege to have represented Arsenal Football Club for more than forty years, a great club with great values. I am also proud to have represented my country on many occasions, and also a special mention to Watford Football Club, who I enjoyed a short spell with as well.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me throughout my career, and importantly, a special thank you to all my family, who have always been there for me and supported me throughout my career.”

On learning of the news of Rice’s MBE, Wenger said: “I am absolutely delighted because if someone deserves it, it's Pat Rice.

"He had 100 per cent genuine commitment to Arsenal every single day and you respect that when you see that from someone. Pat Rice is someone you could go to war with, and you would love to be in the trenches with him. These are very difficult qualities to find in modern society and I am delighted that Pat is being rewarded.

"Pat is an Arsenal legend and a great human being. We’re all so proud and happy for Pat and his family.”

Everyone at Arsenal Football Club congratulates Pat on this special achievement.

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29 Dec 2012