George has been recognised for his services to football and to disability awareness having overseen a massive transformation at Worthing Football Club over his near 10 years as owner.
George said he was “blown away” by the honour.
“What an incredible end to 2023, firstly becoming a Dad and now this, totally blown away by it all – I thought it was a scam when I first received the letter. I had to hunt out an email address online so someone could confirm it was true and I was being awarded an MBE, I couldn’t believe it.
“Although I never set out to buy the club to inspire people, we get messages from other people in my situation saying they see my story and it gives them hope. That is always nice to hear.”
George didn’t waste any time, investing heavily in not only wiping out all the club’s debts but also laying down a brand new 3G pitch, giving The Rebel’s Tavern a complete makeover, converting it into what is now the Stand Bar, and continuing general improvements to Woodside Road.
All this coming after his own career was ended by a serious car crash in 2010, which left him confined to a wheelchair and paralysed from the chest down.
George used his compensation money wisely, setting up Worthing Football Centre to help create a real community hub at Woodside Road, with the new artificial surface available for hire to all teams and age groups seven days a week.
During his time as owner, the club has gained two promotions to the National League South and the Rebels finished the 2022/23 season in their highest-ever league position in their 137-year history.
“I love football and I love Worthing, my home town – Looking back at what we’ve achieved in the last 8 years fills me with huge pride and I just want to thank everybody involved in that journey, because it just simply isn’t possible without the amazing people on & off the pitch.”
“Woodside is unrecognisable from the place I grew up knowing as a young player, and that was what it was all about for me. To create a club that was welcoming to the community and a hub/facility for young local players to enjoy & develop.”
George has also been recognised for his services to disability awareness. In 2021 George and his partner Jessikah Lopez set up an Instagram page to show some of the challenges couples like them come across – and what they do to overcome them.
“Obviously I don’t think of myself as an ‘inspiration’, but I do hope my story shows others that have had a Spinal Cord Injury, or any life-changing injury, that life does go on and there’s still plenty you can go out and achieve post injury. You may have to find a slightly different way of doing it, but if you’re passionate about something, you’ll find a way. My passion is football, and I’m so grateful I found Worthing Football Club.”