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 his widow, Erzsébet, in honour of the great man. This is his story:
I am like many people on this planet a fanatical football fan. The death of Ferenc Puskás evoked mixed emotions amongst everybody with a love of the great game. Whilst we were all deeply saddened by the loss of one of the sport’s greatest ambassadors, we can also take some comfort from the great memories he has bestowed on us.
My own introduction to the legendary Puskás was via my father and grandfather. Both were present at Hampden Park (Glasgow) on 18 May 1950, to witness what has been recognised as one of the greatest football games ever. On that day Puskás and Real Madrid showed the world football perfection, by winning the European Cup in front of over 130,000 fans, defeating Eintracht Frankfurt by seven goals to three. Puskás scored four goals. Though I was not even a twinkle in my father’s eye in 1960, I was to hear stories of this marvellous football game for many years to come. Ferenc Puskás achieved greatness. He scored 511 goals in 533 appearances in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues. He also scored 83 goals in 84 international matches for Hungary – a strike rate unmatched in international football (and footballs were very much heavier in those days!). On two occasions, in 1953 and 1954, Puskás and the national Hungary side also demolished England, and in the process became the first overseas team to beat England at Wembley. This feat also won the hearts of the Scottish nation.
As a tribute to this legend and truly outstanding character, I have commissioned the production of a very unique gift. A highly skilled craftsman located in the north of Scotland has lovingly created a hand-made copper football. The football is of the highest quality it is creative, and it is unique – just like Puskás. This gift is for the family of Ferenc Puskás. Please accept this gift from the football fans of Scotland We love Ferenc Puskás. He will never be forgotten – his football exploits will be told for many generations to come – in his native Hungary, in Scotland, and all over the world.
Stewart wrote to the Hungarian embassy in London, and the news eventually made its way to Zoltán Magyar, the Robert Burns International Foundation Founder.
Zoltán suggested that the gift could perhaps be used in a different way, and 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, and the trophy now bears the names of the two footballing legends.
You can read all about the previous winners of the trophy in the separate articles on our Sponsors of the Year, which you can find here.