Patrice Lafarge, stadium operations and maintenance manager at Paris Saint-German, was last month recognised for his decades of service at the French Ligue 1 football club as he picked up the Unsung Hero Award at TheStadiumBusiness Awards in Manchester.

The event at Emirates Old Trafford recognised leadership, innovation and achievement in the sports facilities sector and Lafarge was one of many individuals and venues to be celebrated.

In awarding Lafarge the Unsung Hero Award, the judges said: “There are many unsung heroes in our industry but this year we recognise a Gallic hero! Patrice Lafarge is one of the longest serving employees of Paris Saint-Germain FC, having worked at Parc des Princes for 37 years.

“He began his career as a gardener at Le Parc before moving into operations and maintenance. Today, he leads a team which ensures everything runs smoothly at the stadium, both for match fixtures and the numerous and varied non-matchday events. No wonder everyone at his club simply calls him ‘Magic Patrice’.”

The other finalists in the Unsung Hero category were:

  • Human Resource Team, Everton FC, UK
  • Rafael Mangabeira, Marketing Leader, Arena Corinthians, Brazil
  • Sarah Smith, John Motton & Facilities Management Team at Wembley Stadium & St George’s Park, The FA, UK
  • Thomas Franke, Head of Infrastructure & Organisation, VfL Wolfsburg, Germany

The Unsung Hero award is designed to celebrate an individual (or team) that delivers consistently outstanding service to a particular stadium, arena or major sports venue… without recognition!