Harrogate council praises England manager Gareth Southgate but stays tight-lipped on calls to give him Freedom of Borough
Widely-admired for his intelligent, thoughtful approach and down-to-earth nature both on and off the pitch, Gareth Southgate has genuine Harrogate links.
He lives in the Harrogate district in a beautiful location near Swinsty Reservoir.
As a family man, he is involved in children's football in the local Harrogate league.
And, on top of that, he is a public fan of Harrogate's iconic Bettys tearooms and a Fat Rascal and, what's more, he is happy to tell the national press that.
It is also believed a congratulatory hamper from Bettys is winging its way to the great man as we speak.
The England manager's thoughts may currently be on England's first-ever appearance in a Euro Championships final on Sunday when England face Italy at Wembley.
But, as well as calls for a knighthood at the national level, appeals have been building at the local level for Harrogate to recognise Southgate's historic achievements with the national side in Harrogate itself.
Rather like conversations with the Queen or the awarding of Royal Honours, Harrogate Borough Council is unlikely to confirm or deny any such rumours.
But, although it won't commenting on any discussions with nominees for the Freedom of the Borough, whether they are actually taking place or not, the leader of Harrogate Borough Council, has addressed the subject for the Harrogate Advertiser.
To a degree.
Speaking today, Coun Richard Cooper said: “Gareth Southgate, and the whole team, are inspirational and he would obviously be an outstanding candidate for the Freedom of the Harrogate Borough.
"However, we would not reveal conversations we have with potential nominees.
"For entirely understandable reasons, we respect the confidentiality of those with whom we might discuss this type of subject.
"In terms of Mr Southgate, I think he has other things on his mind at the moment and I wish him and the team every success on Sunday.”
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