The 23 Premier League Hall of Fame nominees - ranked

27 April 2021 08:30

At long last, something we have all been waiting for - a Premier League Hall of Fame.

An idea first floated by yours truly back in 2019 - ah, simpler times - Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer were announced as the first two inductees recently. Now, we have been treated to a shortlist of 23 further candidates to choose from.

It goes without saying that these names are the cream of the crop. Ranking them would be nigh-on impossible. Surely no one would be stupid enough to do that, unless they wanted their Twitter feed to resemble a script from 'The Thick of It'?

Well, as it turns out, we are that stupid.

Are you ready to be annoyed to the point that steam starts coming out of your ears? Good, good. Let's get started.

23. Les Ferdinand

It's called fashion, look it up | Phil Cole/Getty Images

Back in the 1990s the Premier League was home to a plethora of hulking target men.

One of the very best was Les Ferdinand, who racked up three 20+ goal seasons during his lengthy career. More importantly, he also seems a very nice man.

22. Sol Campbell

Campbell missed just three games during Arsenal's Invincibles season | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Racking up over 500 Premier League appearances, Sol Campbell did the unthinkable when he moved from Tottenham to Arsenal on a free transfer in 2001.

His treachery would be justified though, with the defender winning two Premier League titles with the Gunners. Let us not forget his spell with Portsmouth as well, where he skippered Pompey to FA Cup glory in 2008.

21. Ian Wright

Ian Wright had to wait for his break in the Premier League. When he did make it to the big time he wasted little time getting started, notching 15 goals in his first season.

Just shy of 100 more would follow in six subsequent campaigns, with the cheeky Londoner capturing the hearts of a generation of Gunners fans.

20. Matt Le Tissier

Matt Le Tissier was the archetypal fan favourite. Spending his entire professional career at Southampton, the Guernsey born attacking midfielder loved a wonder-goal.

Not as much as he loved penalties though, missing just one before retiring in 2002. Mark Crossley saved it by the way, just in case that comes up in your next pub quiz.

19. Michael Owen

A Ballon d'Or winner barely inside the top 20?! We told you this list was competitive.

If injuries did not get in the way, Michael Owen would have scored more than his 150 Premier League goals. At his peak in the late 1990s and early 2000s he was one of the most exciting players on the planet.

18. Robin van Persie

The early 2010s was the Robin van Persie era of the Premier League.

Over the course of the 2010/2011, 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 seasons the Dutchman managed 74 goals, including a host of net-breaking thumps.

17. Didier Drogba

Didier Drogba had one too many 'meh' seasons to trouble the big boys on this list, but when he was firing on all cylinders he was unplayable.

His greatest ever season was the 2009/2010 campaign. That year he managed 29 goals, despite taking a month off to play in the African Cup of Nations.

16. Ashley Cole

Cole was ridiculously consistent for over a decade | Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

For well over a decade, there was little doubt as to who was the best left-back in the Premier League.

After becoming Invincible with Arsenal, Cole joined London rivals Chelsea and secured a bulging bag of winners medals over the next decade or so. Dangerous going forward while never neglecting his defensive duties, Cole was the perfect full-back.

15. Tony Adams

Tony Adams gave everything each time he crossed the white line | Ben Radford/Getty Images

'Mr. Arsenal' Tony Adams bridged the gap between the old and the new, leading the Gunners before and after the birth of the Premier League.

His reward for such loyalty was four top flight titles and a swathe of other honours.

14. David Beckham

The best dead ball specialist in Premier League history, David Beckham's global brand started with him whipping in free kicks with startling regularity.

An ever present in some of Manchester United's best ever teams he was one of the last and greatest pure wingers in European football on his day.

13. Nemanja Vidic

Few Premier League signings have represented better value for money than the £7m United spent on Nemanja Vidic.

A no-nonsense centre-back, the Serbian was the perfect foil for the more cultured Rio Ferdinand. The pairing would provide the bedrock for the Red Devils' all conquering side of the late 2000s.

12. Andy Cole

Andy Cole had rocket like pace | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Andy Cole's departure from Newcastle in 1995 broke the city's heart as he'd scored 32 goals the previous season.

Manchester United - who paid a British record transfer fee for the striker - definitely got their money's worth with the striker scoring at an impressive rate to help them to win five Premier League titles. He is currently third on the division's all-time goals list.

11. Robbie Fowler

Robbie Fowler loved goals. He even once bagged a hat trick in four minutes and 33 seconds against Arsenal.

Blessed with frightening speed and effortless finishing ability, the local hero scored for fun at Anfield during the mid 1990s. He also enjoyed double figure scoring seasons for Leeds and Manchester City before he retired, with only seven Premier League players managing more goals in their careers.

10. Dennis Bergkamp

Whether you think it was a fluke or not, the beauty of Dennis Bergkamp's turn and finish against Newcastle in March 2002 was undeniable.

That remarkable goal summed up Bergkamp's time in England with a moment of inspiration always around the corner.

9. Peter Schmeichel

One of the Dane's many loud shirts | Ben Radford/Getty Images

Peter Schmeichel made goalkeeping cool for youngsters across the world.

With his loud jerseys and larger than life personality, Schmeichel held down the number one jersey for seven seasons at Old Trafford.

8. Patrick Vieira

Vieira enjoyed a feisty rivalry with Roy Keane | Ian Walton/Getty Images

The fact that Arsenal are still trying to replace Patrick Vieira 16 years after he departed tells you everything you need to know about his influence.

The Frenchman made the Gunners' tick in the late 1990s and early 2000s, lynch-pinning their two double winning and Invincibles sides.

7. Rio Ferdinand

A born winner | Clive Mason/Getty Images

Rio Ferdinand set the tone for the modern day Premier League centre-back. Not only could he head, tackle and block, the Englishman was also comfortable with a ball at his feet.

Leeds and then Manchester United made him the most expensive defender of all time twice and neither could argue that they had overspent, as his six PFA Team of the Year inclusions could attest.

6. John Terry

Terry was a winner at Chelsea | Michael Regan/Getty Images

If you are going to insist on being substituted in the 26th minute during your final game, you better be some player.

Luckily John Terry was, forming part of Chelsea's spine for over 10 years. Expensive defenders would come and go, but none would ever threaten Terry's place in the starting XI. He would retire with six Premier League titles.

5. Roy Keane

Just hanging out | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Roy Keane was the tone setter for United in the 1990s and early 2000s. He made sure standards did not slip, whether that be in the dressing room or on the pitch.

Keane's reputation as a leader sometimes means his ability is underrated. This is criminal as the all-action midfielder could do a bit of everything.

4. Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard not having a Premier League winners medal is one of football's great tragedies.

The beautiful game is not all about trophies though, and Gerrard produced more than enough magic during his 500+ appearances to warrant a place in the Hall of Fame.

3. Paul Scholes

If MF DOOM is your favourite rapper's favourite rapper, Paul Scholes is your favourite footballer's favourite footballer.

Over the years the subtly brilliant midfielder has earned praise from the likes of Lionel Messi, Pele and Zinedine Zidane. If he could tackle, he might be considered the best player of all-time.

2. Frank Lampard

Forget about Frank Lampard the manager. Lampard the player was something else.

The consistent of his scoring was unbelievable with the midfielder racking up 11 consecutive seasons of 10+ goals. Scoring was not his only quality either with Lampard also able to carve out chances for his teammates.

A Premier League icon for 15 years.

1. Eric Cantona

Compared to most others on this list Eric Cantona's time in the Premier League was brief, but he sure managed to pack a hell of a lot in.

Brilliant goals, wondrous pieces of skill and of course, kicking a supporter very hard in the face, the Frenchman was the new league's first true superstar.

Source: 90min