Barry Middleton, Great Britain’s most capped player, has been awarded an MBE for services to hockey following an outstanding career in the sport.
Middleton, 36 next month, joins more than 1,000 people who have been recognised in the New Year Honours list.
Middleton was capped 432 times for his country and scored 119 goals over a 16-year career which saw him revered both on and off the pitch across the globe. In all, he played in four Olympic games, four World Cups, eight European Championships and four Commonwealth Games.
The men’s World Cup in India last December was his last hurrah as he put one final, typically combative effort into playing for England, who finished fourth.
Thus, Doncaster-born Middleton finished 21 caps shy of Teun de Nooijer’s world record 453.
Ultimately, his decision to end one of world hockey’s most glittering of careers – the 2009 Eurohockey success being the shining light – instead of playing at a fifth Olympic Games came down to personal factors, rather than chase personal accolades.
“I wanted to be with [wife] Beckie and do other things as I’ve become selfish for a number of years,” he admitted. “When I’m in, I’m all in and it’s meant not committing to a few things.”
The pair travelled to coach and play in New Zealand this year, while Barry is still playing club hockey and has started coaching England’s elite development programme.
Meanwhile Andy Tapley was also awarded an MBE, for services to hockey, in the New Year’s Honours List.
What they said…
“Throughout his whole career, Barry trained harder than anyone else, made sure new members of the squad were integrated and listened to everyone’s opinion, no matter how much experience they had. On the pitch this team ethic was highlighted by the highest work rate, defensive diligence and high levels of bravery; he just happened to have brilliant attacking skills as well!”
Former GB coach Bobby Crutchley
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