Gareth Southgate has been awarded Freedom of the Borough by Middlesbrough Council following his leadership of the England football team during Euro 2020.
A motion was brought before the council meeting on Wednesday 28 July by Labour group leader Matthew Storey to award the prestigious honour to the England manager.
Southgate has a strong link to Middlesbrough as he played for the side between 2001 and 2006 before going on to manage the club for three years.
The award bestows on him the title of Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Middlesbrough and previous people to receive this title include Middlesbrough FC chairman Steve Gibson, artist Mackenzie Thorpe, and Jack Hatfield.
Throughout the tournament, the players were subject to racism and the abuse received by those who missed penalties in the final became national news.
Speaking of this, the Labour group leader added: "On the key issue of taking the knee, Gareth was a true leader, standing up for his players and defending them in the face of vicious racial abuse that would rain down on them.
"Defending their right to make a clear anti-racist statement before every game.
"How lucky we are to have such examples in our great national sport of players and a manager prepared to tackle racism, not deny its existence, or stoke prejudice for cheap headlines and supposed populism."
There was huge public support for the award as a poll launched by Mayor Andy Preston found nearly 90% of the 1,768 voters, in favour of honouring Southgate.
However, while the motion passed, not everyone was in agreement and opposition came from the councillor with, arguably, the most in common with the England manager.
Former Middlesbrough goalkeeper, Cllr Jim Platt, added: "This is an award bestowed on very few people and is the highest award the council can give.
"I have been in Gareth Southgate's company and you will not meet a more genuine, or honest, man, but to give him this honour I would question it.
"It's my belief that this award should go to only people, or persons born, in Middlesbrough."
He also named a long list of Middlesbrough sporting heroes, including footballer and manager Brian Clough, who have not received the award.
While Cllr Joan McTigue also agreed with Cllr Platt, Andy Preston backed the motion, though said that he could see the points from both sides of the debate.
The independent mayor said: "I personally think that Gareth Southgate should get this award and I will tell you why - it's because he has a really strong connection with the town.
"He did something really remarkable that I have never seen before, he united the nation.
"He wasn't on the pitch, he didn't score a goal, he didn't save a goal, he didn't take a penalty, but it was his decency, his honesty, his integrity that set the tone for those players.
"I think the racism stuff, I don't think we should dwell on that, it's a footnote.
"I think basically, I'm going to use the word nutters, and I know we'll get complaints, but I think there were a handful of nutters on Twitter after a match and it happens after every team loses, players get abuse.
"What really happened was the nation is colourblind, the nation was behind a team, the nation was supporting the team, not just because they won but because of their decency.
"Nobody cared whether someone was mixed-race or white or not white, nobody cared at all."
In response to the mayor's comments about racism, Labour Cllr Alma Hellaoui said: "I don't want to be colourblind, I want to value people of colour and give them all the respect that I would give to any other person from any other culture or colour.
"So we are not colourblind, we are learning to value colour and I think that is what Gareth Southgate also gave us, the example of how to do that."
Gareth Southgate became nail-bitingly close to securing the England men's football team's first major trophy in 55 years.
However, despite an impressive save by Jordan Pickford in the penalty shoot-out to keep England in the game, a final missed penalty by Bukayo Saka led to victory for Italy.