LIVERPOOL FC manager Jürgen Klopp and actress Sue Johnston are set to be awarded the Freedom of Liverpool.
The proposals to bestow the city’s highest civic honour will be considered at an extraordinary meeting of Liverpool City Council next Wednesday, 20 July, and, if approved, a ceremony will be held at a future date.
The council will also consider a proposal for HMS Prince of Wales to be granted admission to the Freedom Roll of Associations and Institutions.
Born in Stuttgart in 1967, Jürgen Klopp is a former professional footballer who spent most of his playing career at Mainz 05 before becoming the club’s manager in 2001.
He was appointed Liverpool manager in 2015 and has guided the club to great success, winning the UEFA Champions League in 2019, and taking the club to another two finals in 2018 and 2022, and winning the Premier League title for the first time in 2019/20. In the 2021/22 season the club won both the FA Cup and the EFL cup.
Jürgen won FIFA Coach of the Year awards in 2019 and 2020. Cllr Richard Kemp has nominated Jürgen to receive Freedom of the City.
Sue Johnston was born in Warrington and grew up in Prescot, getting her first taste of acting at a drama group at Pilkington Glass where she was also working. She attended Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and her first professional job was on stage at the Theatre Royal in St Helens.
Working mainly in the theatre in the 1970s, Sue’s first television appearance was on the cobbles of Coronation Street in 1982. She went on to become one of the most recognisable faces on British TV, most notably as Sheila Grant in Brookside and reunited with her Brookside husband Ricky Tomlinson in The Royle Family.
Sue was appointed OBE in 2009 and has been nominated for Freedom of the City by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.
HMS Prince of Wales is affiliated to the city of Liverpool and, along with her sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth, is the largest ever aircraft carrier in the Royal Navy. The 65,000-tonne vessel visited Liverpool in 2020 when 20,000 people took the opportunity to get onboard the ship in a series of sold-out visits.
Liverpool’s Armed Forces Champion and Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roy Gladden has made this nomination.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roy Gladden said:
“Awarding the Freedom of Liverpool is one of the great honours of the position of Lord Mayor. It is a chance to acknowledge the achievements and service of a wide range of people and organisations on behalf of our city.
“Jürgen Klopp, Sue Johnston and HMS Prince of Wales represent three aspects of Liverpool life that are close to our hearts – sport, culture and the Armed Forces.
“It will be an honour to formally thank them for their hard work, commitment and service.”
Said Jürgen Klopp:
“I have to be honest, when I first heard this news I had to take a minute to take it in. As you can imagine, I get a lot of different types of news in my job but this was definitely a ‘Wow’ moment.
“The main reason for this was what Liverpool, the city and its wonderful people, mean to me and my family. The welcome that we have been given has been unbelievable from the word go, so to get this kind of recognition is incredible. It is also very humbling.
“Obviously, I am not from Liverpool so there will be countless people who know more about the history than I do but I actually already knew a little bit about this award. This was because earlier this year it was granted to Andrew Devine, someone who we all had an enormous amount of love for, along with the other 96 victims of Hillsborough.
“I also know that Sir Kenny Dalglish has received the Freedom of the City previously so if my name is listed alongside those and all of the other recipients that makes the honour even more special.
“So to everyone who made this possible – thank you. You have made my family and myself so, so proud to know that the bond we have with this wonderful city has been made even stronger and will now stay for ever.”