In a busy week of functions, the PFA Awards evening was a chance to meet many old friends.

It is a long evening in so far as the teams of the year from every division are announced and of course the major awards of young player and senior player.

There were few arguments against the choice of Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard this year.

The guest of honour and main speaker was our own Alan Ball.

I can tell you it is a very hard audience. When the speaker gets on his feet, the 900 or more in the audience have been socialising for a good few hours. And traditionally over the years, many of the young footballers do not always give their full attention.

But you could have heard a pin drop when Alan spoke from the heart about his own career, in the early days with the influence of his own father and then Alf Ramsey when he was with England.

He spoke about rejection by two clubs because he was too small before signing for Blackpool, playing his first game as a teenager against Liverpool, replacing Stanley Matthews who was injured.

I sat close to Rooney, who I must say having talking to him seems to have matured quickly from the youngster I first met at those BBC awards when he had his tie loose and chewed gum.

He was totally enraptured with every word Alan had to say. If ever he needed inspiration from a World Cup winner, this was it.

Another function later in the week was when McDonald's celebrated bringing 10,000 coaches through their system.

Their British ambassadors, Geoff Hurst and Kenny Dalglish, spoke about being involved. And on my own table was the oldest coach of all, a 71-year-old lady from Sheffield named Sheila.

Steve Rider, the TV presenter, came in the audience and Sheila had everyone applauding when she spoke of her efforts in her own area which is predominately Asian where the youngsters were more involved in fighting and breaking the law.

She decided to do something about it and now there are literally hundreds joining in coaching sessions and playing against each other in a newly formed league.

She reminded me, in both looks and the passionate way she spoke, of another lady Cissie, who I knew well many years ago when she lived in a pit village.

Lest anyone think these schemes are just for publicity and will never really produce anything, it should be remembered that not only did Cissie encourage the youngsters to get out and kick a ball she happened to produce a couple of her own called Jack and Bobby. Their surname was Charlton and, like Alan, they won the World Cup.

So whilst McDonald's has certainly had a rough ride recently, not only have they changed their menus they really have done something worthwhile and should be congratulated for their efforts.