The five inductees of the 2023 Premier League Hall of Fame have officially been announced, with two legendary managers and three talismanic players being the latest to receive the prestigious award.
Described as the Premier League’s “highest individual honour”, the Hall of Fame recognises and celebrates individuals who have an exceptional record of success and have made a significant contribution to the league since its inception in 1992.
The first two inductees for 2023 are Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, making them the first managers to be honoured with the award since it was introduced in 2021.
Joining them in this year’s Hall of Fame class are Petr Cech, Rio Ferdinand and Tony Adams, all three of whom were selected from a shortlist of 15 players by fans worldwide through an online public vote and the Premier League Awards Panel.
SIR ALEX FERGUSON
With a record 13 Premier League titles to his name, including winning the title for an unprecedented three seasons in a row on two separate occasions, Sir Alex Ferguson is the most successful manager in the league’s history.
According to the Premier League, “During an incredible 27-year career at Old Trafford, which incorporated 21 Premier League seasons, his Manchester United side won the inaugural Premier League title in 1992/93 to deliver the Red Devils’ first league success since 1967 and kickstart a remarkable era of success.
“Renowned for his motivational leadership, Sir Alex set impeccably high standards in a systematic pursuit of success.
“During his glittering tenure, the squad was entirely rebuilt several times, including a commitment to nurturing prodigious homegrown talents, notably the ‘Class of ’92’, along with a plethora of international superstars.”
The Scotsman managed a total of 810 games in the Premier League, winning 528 (65 per cent) of those matches, and accumulating 1,752 points. In addition to his 13 title wins, Ferguson was the recipient of the Manager of the Month award 27 times, and is also an 11-time Manager of the Season award winner.
Arsene Wenger holds a Premier League record for his 22 seasons in charge of Arsenal.
A three-time Premier League winner, Wenger attained a historic achievement in 2003/04 as his Arsenal side for that campaign became the only team to win the title while remaining unbeaten throughout the season, garnering themselves the moniker of “The Invincibles”.
According to the Premier League, “Arriving as one of the first foreign managers in the Premier League in 1996, Wenger’s impact was instantaneous and remarkable. He raised standards through a revolutionary football philosophy and commitment to playing attractive, attacking football, winning the title in 1997/98, his first full season with the club.
“Wenger oversaw an astute transfer strategy, including scouting abroad for talent, which notably brought about the signings of fellow Hall of Fame members Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira.”
Overall, the Frenchman managed a record 828 Premier League matches, including 476 wins (58 per cent) and 199 draws. He also won the Manager of the Season award three times – in 1998, 2002 and 2004.
A six-time premier league winner with Manchester United, Rio Ferdinand first lifted the trophy in the 2002/03 season after breaking the British transfer record when he joined from Leeds United.
He was part of the Manchester United team that retained the Premier League title in 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09.
A fifth title followed in 2010/11, before winning a sixth title in 2012/13, reclaiming it from Manchester City in Ferguson’s final season at the club.
A Premier League statement notes that, after making his debut as a 17-year-old for Harry Redknapp’s West Ham, Ferdinand played in 504 matches across 20 Premier League seasons, keeping 189 clean sheets in the competition, an incredibly impressive ratio of 37.5 per cent of matches he played in.
“Known as one of the greatest ball-playing central defenders of his era, Ferdinand’s ability to carry and play the ball, paired with his natural pace and relentless desire to win set him apart,” said the Premier League.
With his induction, Petr Cech becomes the second goalkeeper to make it into the Hall of Fame.
He holds the record for the most Premier League clean sheets as a goalkeeper, with 202 shutouts in 443 appearances for Chelsea and Arsenal.
A four-time Premier League champion with Chelsea, Cech’s debut campaign saw the team concede just 15 goals, with him keeping 24 clean sheets in 35 appearances, both of which are records for a single season.
Cech helped the blues win back-to-back titles in 2004/05 and 2005/06 – his first seasons in English football. Two further title wins would follow in the 2009/10 and 2014/15 seasons.
“A phenomenal save-maker, but also renowned as an organiser of his defence, with the ability to communicate in eight languages, Cech notably returned from a potentially life-threatening injury sustained in 2006 and ended his career with four Premier League Golden Gloves, which is another record,” said the Premier League.
Legendary Arsenal captain Tony Adams made his senior debut for the Gunners in 1983 and had already won two league titles, before the start of the Premier League.
Having captained the side in the first 10 seasons of the Premier League, Adams made 255 appearances at the heart of their defence and securing 115 clean sheets in the process.
In addition, according to a Premier League statement, his ratio of shutting out the opposition in 48.5 per cent of matches in which he played 90 minutes is a record for players who have played 200 or more full matches.
“Adams helped Arsenal to their first Premier League title in 1997/98 under Wenger, sealing top spot with a memorable 89th-minute goal in a 4-0 win against Everton in May 1998. The win was part of a domestic Double for Arsenal, which also featured the FA Cup,” said the statement.
“In his final season in 2001/02, Adams became a Premier League Champion again as the club completed another Double.
“The ultimate one-club man, Adams remains the only player to captain a side to top-flight titles in three different decades and is immortalised in a statue outside Emirates Stadium,” added the Premier League.