Image: Wikimedia Commons / Robbie MacDonald
Image: Wikimedia Commons / Robbie MacDonald

Shearer, Henry or Giggs: Who will be the first inductee into the Premier League Hall of Fame?

The Premier League has announced plans to launch an official Hall of Fame, which will be dedicated to recognising “the exceptional skill and talent” of players who have featured in the competition since its formation in 1992. A statement from the Premier League revealed that two inductees would be welcomed into the Hall of Fame at a special event tomorrow (19/03/2020)*, fuelling speculation about who will be selected as the first inductees.

It will be an occasion for our fans around the world to look back over the years and help us celebrate some truly exceptional playing careers

– Richard Masters

In addition to the induction of the first two players into the Hall of Fame, the Premier League is set to announce a shortlist of candidates eligible for a fan vote to decide the following inductees at the 19th March launch event. In order to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame, the player must be retired, and will only be judged on their contributions while playing in the Premier League.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said in an official statement: “A place in the Premier League Hall of Fame is reserved for the very best. It will be an occasion for our fans around the world to look back over the years and help us celebrate some truly exceptional playing careers.”

Under the careful instruction of Mr Masters, Boar Sport has taken the opportunity to cast a watchful eye over our heroes of yesteryear, and has compiled a list of candidates worthy of being inducted into the Hall of Fame at the earliest opportunity.

A Premier League champion with Blackburn in 1994/95, Shearer won the Golden Boot three times in succession between 1995 and 1997

Alan Shearer simply must be inducted as the first entrant into the Hall of Fame. In 441 appearances for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United, Shearer scored 260 goals and provided 64 assists. A Premier League champion with Blackburn in 1994/95, Shearer won the Golden Boot three times in succession between 1995 and 1997, becoming the most prolific goal-scorer in Premier League history as a result.

Of course, Shearer had to overcome adversity throughout his career. In 1992, Shearer missed half of his first season with Blackburn after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in a fixture against Leeds United. After rejecting a move to Manchester United, Shearer would once again be forced out of action in his first season with a new club: missing seven matches as a result of a groin injury in his debut season at St. James’ Park. An ankle ligament injury in 1997 meant that Shearer only featured in the Premier League on seventeen occasions in 1997-98.

Aged 35, Shearer was forced to retire mid-season due to yet another knee injury. Despite his career being blighted by time on the treatment table, Alan Shearer remains the all-time Premier League leading goal-scorer. A legendary captain and generational goal-scorer: Shearer must be inducted first into the Hall of Fame.

Shearer, however, disagrees. The BBC Sport pundit has suggested that Ryan Giggs and Thierry Henry – who now manage Wales and Montreal Impact respectively – should be inducted in the Hall of Fame instead.

The French forward scored more than twenty goals in six successive seasons between 2002 and 2006, leading Arsenal to the Emirates Stadium through talent alone

Ryan Giggs played 632 times for Manchester United in the Premier League, scoring 109 times in a career spanning the 90s, 00s and 10s. A thirteen-time Premier League champion with Manchester United, Giggs has made the second-highest number of appearances in the Premier League (bettered only by Gareth Barry) and was perhaps the most influential member of the Class of ’92 under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Thierry Henry is the most famous disciple of Arsene Wenger. A vital part of Arsenal’s Invincibles, Henry dazzled the Premier League with his talent during two spells in North London. The French forward scored more than twenty goals in six successive seasons between 2002 and 2006, leading Arsenal to the Emirates Stadium through talent alone. Henry departed North London in 2007 in favour of a move to Barcelona, but returned to the club five years later on loan from New York Red Bulls. Henry’s Premier League return yielded one goal in four starts for the club that has cast a statue in honour of his contributions.

The charm of the Hall of Fame is that it will inevitably invite spirited debate between fans about which legends should be fast-tracked into English football’s museum of excellence

Perhaps Roy Keane, a perennial winner at Old Trafford, Frank Lampard, the highest scoring midfielder in Premier League history, or John Terry, the face of Chelsea throughout the club’s period of dominance, deserve swift passage to the Premier League Hall of Fame? Maybe Matt Le Tissier, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes or Peter Schmeichel too?

The charm of the Hall of Fame is that it will inevitably invite spirited debate between fans about which legends should be fast-tracked into English football’s museum of excellence. Regardless of who is inducted first into the Hall of Fame, a plethora of childhood heroes will be thrust under the spotlight once again.

Be patient, make your vote count, and enjoy the reawakening of glorious montages from years gone by. The 1990s called, she asked for her legends back.

*NB: At the time of print publication, the Hall of Fame event was still expected to take place; it was cancelled on Monday 16th March. For updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on sport, follow @BoarSport on Twitter, or our article thread.

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