Southampton Football Club is delighted to announce that Franny Benali has been appointed as an official Club Ambassador.
The former left-back earned iconic status at Saints during a memorable 15-year career with the first-team, coming through the youth set-up before playing 389 times, from 1988 until 2003 – and, of course, scoring once.
Southampton-born Benali’s achievements extend well beyond the football pitch, though, with the 50-year-old having recently broken his £1m fundraising target for Cancer Research UK, after completing the last of three ultra-endurance challenges in aid of the charity.
martin semmensthroughout the club's history, few people can claim to have brought the level of passion and commitment that franny has.
southampton FC's CEO
His incredible efforts helped to raise vital funds to help with life-saving research, and also saw him awarded the Honorary Freedom of Southampton in 2016.
Benali joins his great friend and former teammate Matt Le Tissier as a Club Ambassador, with Le Tissier having also been appointed earlier this year, and he will now represent the club through a variety of community and commercial activity.
Southampton Football Club’s Chief Executive Officer, Martin Semmens, said: “I am delighted that Franny has accepted our offer of becoming an official Club Ambassador.
“Throughout this club’s history, few people can claim to have brought the level of passion and commitment that he has, and to this day Franny remains one of our greatest supporters. It is only fitting, therefore, that he takes on a role such as this.
“The heart Franny showed as a player is not something restricted to the football pitch, either. We have all watched with total admiration as he has put himself through such great physical and emotional pain to raise an incredible amount of money for Cancer Research UK.
“He is an inspiration to so many people, and someone who embodies everything that is great about this football club.”
Franny Benali said: "It's an absolute honour. It's quite overwhelming in many ways. It has been a long journey personally, from walking into the club as a 13-year-old and having some trials and training sessions, and then signing in an official capacity at 14.
“The playing career goes by in a flash, and I've turned into a supporter since then and supported the club in any way I could over the years, but to now have an official role as well is amazing and I will continue to try to support and promote the club in a positive light wherever I can.
"It’s a wonderful opportunity. I'm excited and I'm delighted.”