Academy Director Tony Carr has spoken of his immense pride after being made an MBE by the Queen for his services to football.
Carr, who is now in his 38th year of work with West Ham United's famed youth department, attended Buckingham Palace for his investiture on Wednesday.
The 60-year-old, who was joined at the Palace by wife Brenda, daughter Louise and sons Dean and Neil, said the moment was one he would never forget.
"It made me feel so proud for both myself and my family to receive this amazing honour from the Queen," said Carr, who embarked on a peerless coaching career after his playing days were cut short by injury.
"From humble beginnings living in a council house in Bow to visiting Buckingham Palace is quite a journey, but it is one I have thoroughly enjoyed every step of the way.
"I never thought anything like this would happen to me and my family, so to be made an MBE is something truly special and it is a day I will cherish forever."
Carr and his family made their way to Buckingham Palace before the Academy Director went down on one knee to be invested by the Queen shortly after 12.30pm.
Following the ceremony, the Academy Director mingled with his fellow guests before enjoying a well-deserved lunch with his family.
"I'm going to enjoy the rest of the day, but I won't be drinking too much as I have to be back in to take the boys for training first thing on Thursday," Carr confirmed.
"I want to thank all the other coaches and scouts who I have worked with during my years at the club as well as, of course, all the players who have gone on to do so well in the game."
During nearly four decades at the club, Carr has overseen the development of dozens of top-class players, including many future internationals.
Paul Allen, Tony Cottee, Paul Ince, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and, more recently, Mark Noble and Jack Collison, have all come through the ranks since he began work in 1973.
Carr's amazing work was also rewarded by the club last year with the award of a Testimonial. A successful match was staged at the Boleyn Ground in May, with the year culminating with an eagerly-anticipated dinner at the stadium on Thursday 18 November.