Former Manchester City goalkeeper, Alex Williams MBE, handed the Premier League trophy to Club Captain, Ilkay Gundogan, during the presentation.
Williams was selected as the lead trophy bearer as a fitting tribute before he retires from the Club’s Charity after 33 years of service.
He was joined by 19-year-old Tom O’Dell, whose journey with City in the Community has taken him from the verge of school expulsion to degree student and now member of staff.
Following his playing career at Manchester City, Williams became Head of City in the Community in 1990, shaping the charity into one of the largest and most impactful football foundations in the country.
After spending 12 years on the leadership team as CITC Ambassador, where he continued to support the strategic development of the charity, Williams will step away from his full-time role at the end of August this year.
Born in Moss Side, Manchester, Alex has devoted over three decades to improving the lives of people in Greater Manchester, during which time he has helped to grow the charity from a team of just 12, to an outfit of over 110.
City Football Group’s Group Chief Operating Officer, Roel de Vries, said: “Manchester City was built upon community values and, for 33 years, Alex Williams has personified the heartbeat of our Club.
“His impact across this city is beyond measure and I know that his legacy, along with the stories told by the people whose lives he has changed, will continue for many years to come.
“I speak on behalf of the whole of Manchester City when I say, thank you, Alex. Thank you for your compassion, your vision and your commitment to our community.”
Before joining City in the Community, Williams’ successful playing career began at Manchester City in 1979, where he helped the club to two youth cup finals and became a key member of the England side that won the UEFA U21 trophy. He was voted as a member of the PFA team of the year in 1984 and aided the Club’s promotion back to the top tier the following year.
After spells with Queen of the South and Port Vale, Alex retired from playing and set up the community programme at Port Vale. Alex returned to Manchester City in 1990 to formalise and lead the Club’s community programme; he has remained at the forefront ever since.
Tom O’Dell, who carried the Premier League trophy onto the pitch, began his City in the Community journey when he was a 15-year-old student at Falinge Park High School.
Tom was on the cusp of being expelled from school due to his high-level of challenging behaviours and his tendency to truant on regular occasions. He very nearly fell out of education completely aged 15.
City in the Community introduced Tom to its Inspires* programme, which helped him to regain motivation and focus, enabling him to complete all GCSEs before successfully enrolling onto the CITC BTEC programme.
Tom excelled on this course, resulting in him receiving one of only two scholarships to join CITC’s Degree programme at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Throughout this time, Tom has also volunteered on CITC programmes, and has just recently been offered employment with the charity whilst he studies.
Commenting on the day, Tom said: “Without City in the Community, my life would be very bleak. I wasn’t engaged at all at school and had no real aspirations for the future.
“The charity helped me to find something that sparked a passion – they essentially threw a lasso around me, pulled me in, and I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Head of City in the Community, Mike Geary, added: “Today is a historic day for the Club and an emotional one for everyone connected to City in the Community.
“Seeing Alex and Tom walk out on the pitch together, for us, really symbolises the past, present and future of our charity.
“To us, and the whole fanbase, Alex Williams personifies the foundations that this Club was built on and we look forward to giving his legacy a just celebration in the summer – today marked the start of that.”
City in the Community exists to empower healthier lives with city youth through football. Find out more information at www.mancity.com/CITC.