Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer were the first two inductees into the Premier League’s Hall of Fame last week.
As expected, there was some consternation (largely, but not exclusively, on social media) surrounding the two selections.
There were those who felt that considering Manchester United’s dominance of the Premier League since its inception in 1992 (and up until 2013) that the Red Devils should have had at least one of the first two inductees. Ryan Giggs, with close to 700 Premier League appearances and an amazing 13 Premier League winner’s medals in his trophy cabinet, is amazingly (in my opinion), not even in the Premier League’s 23-man shortlist for the next six Hall of Fame slots.
The full list of the 23-man shortlist for the next six Hall of Fame slots is as follows: Tony Adams, David Beckham, Dennis Bergkamp, Sol Campbell, Eric Cantona, Andy Cole, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba, Les Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Matt Le Tissier, Michael Owen, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes, John Terry, Robin van Persie, Nemanja Vidic, Patrick Vieira, Ian Wright.
In this article I discuss who I feel should be the next six inductees into the Premier League’s Hall of Fame.
In many people’s view the greatest captain in Premier League history. He won seven Premier League titles, four as an always influential captain in his 12-year stint at Manchester United, though he could not prevent Nottingham Forest’s relegation from the Premier League at the end of the first Premier League season in 1993.
While Keane’s disciplinary issues could sometimes adversely affect his team’s prospects, his influence on Manchester United and on the club’s most successful era cannot be explained by mere statistics alone.
Keane was a constant force of nature during his 13 season Premier League career, as likely to pop up with a goal saving tackle at one end of the pitch before creating a goal or goal scoring chance at the other end seconds later. Constantly cajoling, berating and forcing his colleagues on, the Corkman pushed his teammates to heights they would not have reached were it not for his influence.
The only player on this list to never win the Premier League, it’s as close as elite level sport can come to a travesty that the Liverpudlian never did lift that trophy.
There is no player in Premier League history who was in the PFA Team of the Year more (eight times) than Gerrard. That shows what the players who played against him thought of him.
Gerrard is the third player (after Ryan Giggs and Jamie Carragher) to play 500 or more Premier League games for one club.
In his 17 seasons at Anfield, Gerrard won two FA Cups, three League Cups, the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, Community Shield and the UEFA Super Cup. He was the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or Bronze Award in 2005.
The only player to win the Premier League (ten times) before retiring for a year and coming back to win the title once more.
When asked to reveal his toughest opponent, no less a critic than Zinedine Zidane replied:
Scholes of Manchester. He is the complete midfielder. Scholes is undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation. He’s almost untouchable in what he does. I never tire of watching him play. You rarely come across the complete footballer, but Scholes is as close to it as you can get. One of my regrets is that the opportunity to play alongside him never presented itself during my playing career.
Not bad for a player who “couldn’t tackle”, eh?
The only World Cup winner in this list, the Frenchman played nine seasons with Arsenal, the last three of those being their tour-de-force captain.
Vieira’s midfield battles with the aforementioned Keane are the stuff of legend and the winner of their encounters tended to decide who would win the Premier League between 1996 and 2004.
Vieira won three Premier League titles with Arsenal (including two league and FA Cup doubles), including the historic “Invincible” 2003-’04 season where The Gunners went the entire league season without losing a game. They were the first English top flight team in more than a century to go through an entire league season unbeaten.
As already mentioned, Giggs is the only player here to not be on the 23-man shortlist for the Premier League’s next six-man Hall of Fame inductees.
For me, the most decorated player in Premier League history (13 Premier League titles as well as four FA Cup winner’s medals, three League Cup winner’s medals, two UEFA Champions League winner’s medals, a FIFA Club World Cup winner’s medal, an Intercontinental Cup winner’s medal, a UEFA Super Cup winner’s medal and nine FA Community Shield winner’s medals) has to at the very least be on the shortlist for admission to the Hall of Fame.
Manchester United and Liverpool are the only clubs in English football history to have won more league championships than Giggs.
Giggs made his professional debut for Manchester United as a 17-year-old in 1991 and spent the next 23 years in the Manchester United first team. He is one of only 28 footballers to have made more than 1,000 professional career appearances.
He was the first player in history to win two consecutive PFA Young Player of the Year awards (1992 and 1993) and he won the PFA Player of the Year award in 2009. He was the only player to play in each of the first 22 seasons of the Premier League, as well as the only player to score in each of the first 21 seasons. He was elected into the PFA Team of the Century in 2007, the Premier League Team of the Decade in 2003, as well as the FA Cup Team of the Century.
Not a bad list of achievements for a player who apparently doesn’t deserve to be on the 23-man shortlist for the next six inductees into the Premier League’s Hall of Fame.
A creative and technically extravagantly gifted box-to-box midfielder, Lampard began his career in 1995 at West Ham. He is best known however for his time at London rivals Chelsea, whom he signed for in 2001. In his 13 years with the club, he established himself as a prolific scorer from midfield, becoming Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer, hitting the net 211 times in all competitions.
Lampard also won three Premier League titles, a UEFA Champions League title, four FA Cups, a Europa League title, as well as two League Cups. In 2005, he was named FWA Footballer of the Year and finished runner-up for both the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards.
Voting for the next six inductees into the Premier League Hall of Fame closes on May 9 at 6pm GMT. You can vote here.
So, there you have my six choices for who should be the next inductees into the Premier League Hall of Fame. Let us know which choices you agree with and who you think are glaring omission(s).