FOOTBALL guru Simon Clifford is the latest big-name signing to a team dedicated to spreading the word about the delights of Yorkshire.
The coaching expert and businessman has been recruited as one of tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire’s select line-up of Yorkshire patrons, it was announced today.
They use the high profiles they have achieved in their respective fields to promote the county at home and abroad.
Existing ‘ambassadors’ include broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson, cricket hero Michael Vaughan and Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis.
Simon, 40, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to have been asked to represent the county.
“I was brought up in Loftus, near Middlesbrough, and moved to Leeds at 18 to attend university.
“My job has allowed me to visit some of the finest destinations across the globe, but Leeds will always be my favourite city.
“I am and always will be a proud Yorkshireman and I hope that I am worthy and of use to the county as I go about promoting it with the passion and spirit it deserves.”
Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity said: “We are delighted to bring Simon into the esteemed ranks of our Yorkshire patrons.
“His rise in both the football and business worlds has been remarkable and we are confident he will do an excellent job in flying the flag for our great county.”
Simon made his name as a coach thanks to the success of his Brazilian Soccer Schools (BSS) venture.
Founded in 1996, it hones the talents of budding professionals using a South American version of five-a-side that is endorsed by football greats such as Pele and Zico.
Sister programme Socatots was launched 10 years ago to help younger children develop agility, balance and co-ordination by playing with a ball.
Former primary school teacher Simon combines his work at BSS and Socatots with his role as owner of non-league football side Garforth Town.