The Ferenc Puskás – Sir Alex Ferguson Sponsor of the Year Trophy goes to the company judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work of the Robert Burns International Foundation during the course of the previous year.
Stewart Miller, a sports fan from Argyll, Scotland, had been so moved by the death of the legendary Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskás that he wanted to present something to the Galloping Major’s widow, Erzsébet, in honour of the great man. In 2006 he commissioned a Scottish artist to fashion a copper football.
Miller wrote to the Hungarian embassy in London outlining his plans, and details eventually came to the attention of our very own Zoltán Magyar, the Robert Burns International Foundation Founder, President of the Hungarian-Scottish Society and a man long involved with Hungarian football.
It was Magyar who suggested that, rather than sit in a trophy cabinet somewhere, the piece of art be given a larger, more rewarding profile; Mrs Puskás agreed that it could be used as an annual sponsor’s award. In 2007, Sir Alex Ferguson became the Honorary President of the RBIF. Since his daytime job as manager of Manchester United Football Club tends to keep him fully occupied on weekends in January, it was decided he would make a presentation of the award at United’s ground, the Theatre of Dreams, just before kick-off at a home Premier League game.
Previous winners of the trophy are Tesco Global Áruházak Zrt (2011), Vodafone Hungary (2010), Diageo Hungary Ltd (2009), Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc (2008), and the Corinthia Hotel Budapest (then the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal), which won the inaugural title in 2007 for its continued support as host and co-organiser of the Burns Supper.
by Robin Marshall