Saints legend Francis Benali has become the first recipient of the Barclays Spirit of the Game award.

The 45-year-old received the honour in recognition of Benali's Big Run - the epic 1,000-mile challenge that saw him run to all 20 Premier League grounds in just 21 days, raising more than £180,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Barclays asked all of the sides in the top-flight to nominate someone who “champions the true spirit of the game”, with Benali's name being put forward by Saints.

An awards panel then selected him as the first winner.

David Wheldon, of Barclays, said: “We wanted to reward those we go the extra mile for their club and community, and Francis has certainly done just that.

“His commitment to Cancer Research UK, Southampton FC and all those fans who supported him along the way deserves to be celebrated so it gives us great pleasure to present Francis with this award.”

As well as the trophy, all of those who were involved in Benali's Big Run were rewarded with a VIP day out at St Mary's, for the Manchester City game earlier this month.