My choices for the Premier League Hall Of Fame. by Dan Smith
In my opinion Thierry Henry is the greatest to ever grace English Football, which is why it’s fitting that he and Alan Shearer are the first inductees into the Premier League Hall Of Fame.
It’s believed that originally there was going to be three inaugural recipients of the honour, with the strikers joined by Ryan Giggs. The Wales manager would be an obvious choice given that no man has come close to his 13 titles.
It’s obvious that organisers felt the timing was not convenient to celebrate an individual charged with assaulting two women and controlling or coercive behaviour. I’m sure his legal team have equally advised their client to stay out of the public eye until after his court case. After his innocence or guilt has been proven, he can then take his rightful place in the HOF.
Yet organisers have unintentionally provoked the sensitive subject by choosing that the next 6 inductees will be selected by a 23-man shortlist. By doing so, they hurt the credibility of their own ‘Home Of The Greats’.
Henry was on Sky this week where he and Jamie Carragher had to suggest who the next 6 should be. The problem is that no one believes that a man who has won the very competition you are celebrating more than anyone else, does not meet the criteria for the best 23 talent to play in the top division since 1993.
While noble that you have asked fans to vote for the next half dozen graduates, as long as the most successful talent in the League’s history is phased out, it dilutes how special you want this accolade to be.
An independent panel should once a year announce a class – one Keeper, full back, centre back, midfielder, winger and striker.
It would make sense to pay tribute to those who played in the early nineties and gradually work your way up the years.
That way no one would have to know the politics behind your motivation.
People would still suspect but it wouldn’t be so blatant.
For example if Giggs is cleared of all charges, do you awkwardly add him to your shortlist and just pretend that before he didn’t warrant being on the original shortlist? Quite a Mickey Mouse operation that.
Their website claims that this is “a place for celebration, admiration and nostalgia. For moments made famous and players famous for having made them”.
It says nothing about being a nice guy!
The poll (closing date -9th May) shouldn’t be a popularity contest. If that was the case Matt Le Tissier will be picked ahead of Ashley Cole? John Terry was stripped of the England captaincy for being found guilty of Racial abuse.
He and Frank Lampard were part of a Chelsea group of players fined for mocking American’s stranded at Heathrow airport, 24 hours after September 11th.
Rio Ferdinand missed a European Championships for his failure to comply with a drugs test.
Gerrard was charged with assault.
Eric Cantona was banned from playing for 9 months due to kicking a fan.
Wayne Rooney and David Beckham have been charged with drink driving, an offense Tony Adams spent time in jail for.
My point is, this list shouldn’t be based on morality, it should be based on what you have done on the pitch. To try and pretend Ryan Giggs career never happened makes a mockery of the whole process.
There are exceptions to the rule of course. It would be difficult to celebrate a murderer or rapist, but let’s stress that in the UK a person is innocent until proven guilty.
My six choices based on the 23-man shortlist will rightfully have a strong Man United presence as they dominated the first decade of the Premier League. It’s my choice to vary the positions (so if you want to have 6 attackers, it’s up to you).
Your options are
Adams, Beckham, Bergkamp, Campbell, Cantona, Andy Cole, Ashley Cole, Drogba, Les Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand, Fowler, Gerrard, Roy Keane, Lampard, Le Tissier, Owen, Schmeichel, Scholes, Terry, Van Persie, Vidic and Vieira.
My Six Inductees …….
Schmeichel – Shamefully the only keeper on the shortlist
Adams – Mr Arsenal. A great leader and inspirational story. In terms of iconic moments, his goal against Everton was like the end of a Shakespeare play.
Gerrard – The greatest to never win the Prem. Provided the Prem with iconic moments. His love for Liverpool was infectious.
Lampard – This is why I think a panel should choose because certain players need to be inducted together.
For example you can’t have a Vieira without a Keane and you can’t have a Gerrard without a Lampard (the only reason Keane and Vieira have to wait is so I had a variation of clubs represented).
Lampard and Gerrard’s career parallel each other’s, especially with England, meaning Lampard never got the credit he deserved. He is a classic example of someone who worked hard to maximise his career.
Beckham – For obvious reasons, morphed the world of footballer and celebrity together. Because of that often he doesn’t get credit for being the best crosser and set piece taker in the world.
Growing up, Beckham over a free kick was one of the iconic images of the whole Prem.
Cantona – When it was decided to break away from the Football League, this is what Sky Sports envisaged having every week.
Cantona was box office in everything he did, the raised collar, the goals, the celebrations. The face of the early years of the Prem.
Unless you’re old enough to remember, it’s hard to describe the Frenchman. An enigma!
Who’s your next 6 inductees?
Be kind in the comments