The Premier League has signalled its latest offensive in The War on Football Before 1992 with the announcement of its very own Hall of Fame.
The fist two inductees in the Premier League Hall of Fame will be revealed on March 19th.
I think we can influence this, people.
RT for @morrisonclinton and Gary Breen.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) February 27, 2020
The first two inductees are to be unveiled next month – Alan Shearer and Ryan Giggs can probably get their tuxedos dry-cleaned now – and then there will be a mass brawl to the death among the remaining famous footballers to decide who secures the remaining places.
And, by “mass brawl to the death”, I mean a public vote for further spots the number of which are yet to be determined.
Now, while that means Thierry Henry’s vavavoom need not be disturbed or Roy Keane’s temper traduced, some great names are going to slip through the cracks, so we’ve drawn up a quick list of some memorable Premier League heroes who’ll probably be disappointed come voting time.
I mean, how can you NOT have the man who scored the first-ever Premier League goal in the Hall of Fame? Playing for Sheffield United on August 15th, 1992, the England striker (three caps, yes, really) nodded a header past Peter Schmeichel with five minutes on the clock and wrote his name into Premier League history.
Finishing 2-1 to Sheffield United, it was also the first of many, many Man United defeats in the Premier League that ensured the club continued to sink without a trace from its 1968 pinnacle.
For the outright craziest celebration in Premier League history, the Georgian must have the sheen of his slappyhead recreated in bronze and placed among the competition’s greatest talents. He was, of course, overshadowed by the Geordie goal-scoring behemoth Sir Alan of the Tyne in terms of numbers, but his rage-fuelled rampage against a McDonald’s advertisement hoarding after scoring a late winner versus Bolton in 1998 knocks seven bells out of Shearer’s “peel away with one hand raised” efforts in the celebrating stakes.
Rumour has it that the outburst stemmed from missed McNuggets order, though they have never been confirmed.
Ketsbaia can’t get in as greatest Georgian who ever graced the top-flight post ’92 because that honour goes to Kinkladze, whose dazzling feet and devastating close control was the sole positive highlight of Manchester City’s intermittent Premier League tenures before the magical money tree sprang up in Eastland’s and raining its bounteous fruit all over the pitch.
The diminutive midfielder’s slaloming runs played an integral part in waking Premier League teams up to the fact that there were lots of cheaper, better players knocking around Europe than those already on their books and basically singlehandedly made Brexit an inevitability with his unbelievable skills and goals.
Worth it though.
The man who rewrote the thunderb*stard rules for the Premier League era – a crown hotly disputed with Norwich City’s Jeremy Goss – Tony Yeboah may have only played two Premier League seasons and scored a fraction of the number of goals Shearer, Henry and Rooney netter, but the goals he did score – okay, two in particular – for Leeds United are indelibly seared on the minds of all who saw them, as well as the crossbars against which they rattled before ping-ponging into the net.
For control, set-up and sheer brute power, his strike against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park, 33 days after he’d belted in a scorching volley versus Liverpool at Elland Road, must rank as the greater of his two incredible strikes, though either should see him installed among the celebrated Premier League names of yore.
While there would be stiff competition from Chelsea’s Dmitri Kharine, the Hungarian goalkeeper has to get the nod into the Prem Pantheon of greats for his efforts while wearing the slackest tracksuit bottoms Primark could provide. He could also lay claim to being the most surprising Premier League player under-30 before Charlie Adam appeared with Blackpool.
And he made a few decent saves, to be fair.
His career stretched over 25 years, during which he had over 100 appearances for Crystal Palace, more than 700 club appearances in total and was capped 108 times for Hungary as well.
That’s a lot of knee patches.