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Billy McNeill and Malin Moström, awarded by Athletic as One Club Awards

The legendary Celtic captain played 822 matches for his club and lifted his only European Cup. Umeå’s Swedish star will be the first to receive the One Club Woman Award.

Billy McNeill and Malin Moström, awarded by Athletic as One Club Awards
Billy McNeill and Malin Moström, awarded by Athletic as One Club Awards
Apr 16, 201909:00

BILLY McNEILL, MYTHIC CELTIC CAPTAIN, ONE CLUB MAN AWARD 2019

Athletic Club has decided to award with the One Club Man Award 2019 to the legendary Celtic FC captain William McNeill (March 2, 1940). The Scottish defender is the footballer who has played the most matches in the famous Scottish jersey, the only one he wore during his career, a total of 822 encounter during 18 seasons.

The choice of Billy McNeill as OCM transcends the player’s extraordinary individual career and links directly to the team he captained, the so-called “Lisbon Lions”. That memorable Celtic won the 1967 European Cup against Helenio Herrera’s Inter Milan (2-1) with a squad made up entirely of Scottish players, all born within a radius of less than 50 kilometres around Glasgow.

The principle of territoriality, the same principle that Athletic Club has upheld throughout its history and of which it is today the only representative in the five major European leagues, is taken to its highest expression and personalised in a mythical figure for Celtic fans, Billy McNeill.

At present, Billy McNeill suffers from dementia and is in a delicate state of health, which will prevent him from receiving the award in San Mamés personally, as has happened with the previous winners Matt Le Tissier, Paolo Maldini, Sepp Maier and Carles Puyol. Athletic Club will make public in the near future the relevant information regarding the award ceremony.

Billy McNeill was Celtic’s captain during their most glorious era in the 1960s and 1970s, winning nine consecutive league championships and 13 other Scottish tournaments, although that team will always be remembered for one of the greatest feats in the history of football, that European Cup in 1967, being also the first British team to conquer it.

He was also 29 times international with Scotland. After retiring as a footballer, the Celtic legend led the team for nine seasons, from 1978 to 1983 and from 1987 to 1991, winning four Scottish leagues and the double in the 1987-88 season which marked the club’s centenary. He also coached Clyde, Aberdeen, Manchester City and Aston Villa.

From 2009, McNeill became Celtic’s best possible ambassador, just as Iribar is Athletic’s ambassador. In 2015, after more than 60 years dedicated to the club between player, coach and ambassador, Celtic decided to dedicate to him a statue of recognition next to his stadium, in which Billy McNeill is appreciated lifting the European Cup with the unmistakable horizontal striped green and white jersey.

MALIN MOSTRÖM, FIRST ONE CLUB WOMAN

The former Swedish player is one of the great references of women’s football in her country of the recent years. The 12 seasons she spent at Umea IK after her debut in 1995 until hanging up her boots at the end of 2006 have made her an icon of the club where she played her entire professional career.

The list of honours, both individual and collective triumphs, speaks for itself. From her position in the centre of the field, Malin Moström was one of the keys to explain Umeå IK’s dominance of Swedish and European women’s football mainly in the first decade of the 21st century. The same applies to the good times the Scandinavians had during that period.

With Umeå IK, Moström won six times the Damallsvenskan League and four times the Swedish Cup. The greatest achievements, however, were undoubtedly in 2003 and 2004 when she won the Champions League against Fortuna Hjørring of Denmark and Germany’s FFC Frankfurt.

She was 113 times international with the Swedish team, with which she was world runners-up in 2003 after losing the final to the United States and where she was chosen in the best eleven of the World Cup. She also finished subchampion in Europe in 2001 after losing to Germany and fourth at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Elected women’s footballer of the year in Sweden in 2001 and best midfielder in 2003, 2004 and 2005, Umeå IK withdrew their number 6 jersey as a tribute when Malin announced she was hanging up her boots. Interestingly, she would be back a few months later when, in June 2007, she reappeared with a contract for a couple of weeks to help her lifelong team-mates and cover the injuries of Frisk and Ljunberg.

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