When we think about the criteria one requires to be considered as an inductee into a Hall of Fame for any industry, certain qualities stand out as a necessity. One of which is the extent to which that individual positively impacted and changed the environment of the profession they participated in, elevating it to a higher level and setting a new benchmark for future generations to exceed.
Looking back at the English Premier League over the years, since its inception in 1992, two names are almost always immediately mentioned in association with the greats who have graced English football. Both Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry are always at the center of nostalgic football arguments and are often used as the measuring stick for attacking talents that have entered the league after their time. It is no surprise that both of these legendary strikers were the first names to be included in the newly established Premier League Hall of Fame.
Alan Shearer spent his career at three clubs: Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United. He led Blackburn to a surprising Premier League title win in 1995 under the guidance of manager Kenny Dalgleish. To this day, Shearer still holds the record of the most Premier League goals in history with 260 in 441 appearances, a record that seems incredibly difficult to surpass. He is also the only player to have reached 100 Premier League goals with two different clubs in the league and will always be fondly remembered for his clinical finishing and iconic celebrations.
For Henry, the Frenchman will forever be immortalized as an Arsenal and Premier League icon. There was simply no other striker like him. His demeanor, charisma, swagger and leadership captivated fans from all over the globe in a Premier League career that spanned from 1999 to 2007 and briefly in 2012. The pinnacle of his Arsenal career came in the 2003/2004 campaign, where he helped guide the team to a historic unbeaten season in the Premier League, a feat that has never been achieved outside of that iconic season. He was a serial goal scorer but he was also known for his assists as well, holding the joint record for the most assists in a single Premier League campaign (20). He broke other records along the way, including winning the EPL Golden Boot four times whilst also becoming Arsenal’s leading goal scorer of all time.
Henry scored 175 Premier League goals in 258 appearances and was eventually gifted with his own statue, featured outside the Emirates Stadium, following his retirement.
Many great players have graced England’s top flight since the establishment of the English Premier League, but very few will be remembered like the first two inductees in its Hall of Fame.
The next question is, who will be the subsequent inclusions?
A list of 23-players was shortlisted by the Premier League and among them are names such as Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard, John Terry, Robbie Fowler and Patrick Viera. In the coming weeks we will know which other players will officially be inducted into the Hall of Fame but for now, many fans around the world continue to wait in anticipation in hopes that their favourite players will be recognized with this notable achievement.