Alan Shearer, Patrick Vieira and Michael Owen among the players to join legends in the National Football Museum Hall of Fame
Tue 21st Oct 2014 | Football Industry Events
Ten football legends were inducted to the National Football Museum Hall Of Fame in a glittering ceremony at the museum in Manchester, last week.
Guests including Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini saw host Dan Walker and a collection of football greats honour the new inductees, including Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and Patrick Vieira.
Premier League all-time record goalscorer Alan Shearer received his award from former Southampton team-mate Iain Dowie, and spoke about how lucky he was to have enjoyed a record-breaking career. "When I scored the goal that broke the (Newcastle top goalscorer) record, I just wanted to bottle that feeling and take it home", Shearer told Walker when collecting the trophy.
The scorer of England women's first ever official international goal Sylvia Gore then received her award, sponsored by The FA, from Sir Trevor Brooking. A hugely-respected figure in the football family, Gore has continued to coach and create opportunities for women in football throughout her career.
Two-time European Cup winner Trevor Francis is already in the history books as the first £1million player. He received his Hall Of Fame award from former Nottingham Forest team mate Viv Anderson and expressed his gratitude to the awards panel, adding "I've won medals in lots of countries, but this award means so, so much to me."
Arsenal's 'Invincible' captain Patrick Vieira was next to receive his award. Vieira's family alongside a number of colleagues from his current role as Manchester City Elite Development Squad manager were in the room as he received the award from former Arsenal and England defender Martin Keown.
Vieira recalled his early days in England, saying "I straight away knew this was the country where I could be successful." Keown was full of praise for his Arsenal captain, including his ability to perform under pressure: "On Saturday he became a man of steel."
Great Britain Paralympic captain Matt Dimbylow received the award in the Football For All category, sponsored by The FA. Presented with the trophy by his friend and 2013 inductee David Clarke, Dimbylow, who suffered serious head injuries in 2003, told the audience how "Love of football turned my life around.
"It's a dream to be here tonight, to receive the award from David makes it even more special."
Club secretary Ben Rhodes received the award recognising the Preston North End 1888-89 'Invincibles' in the team category. Presented by Mark Lawrenson and Michael Conlon of award sponsors Conlon Construction, the induction recognises the team's role as the standard bearers for the era of professional football, not just in the title season, but for the remarkable record that saw them score over 1500 goals in 6 seasons, losing just 35 of over 360 games.
The PFA's Gordon Taylor was full of praise in a rousing speech at the presentation of a special award honouring 'The Footballer's Battalion'. Over 4500 players and supporters signed up together a century ago to play 'The Greater Game' for their country. 900 were killed in action, many at The Somme, with many hundreds more injured.
Accepting the award from Gordon Taylor and museum director Kevin Moore were Brigadier RW Dennis OBE, Colonel of The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment and Colour Sergeant Brian Wood, who in return presented the museum with a ball famously kicked 'over the top' of the trenches by Captain Nevill in 1916, which will remain on loan to the museum for 'The Greater Game', an exhibition opening in December 2014.
Alan Shearer returned to the stage to present the award for another legendary Newcastle United number 9, Hughie Gallacher, whose son, Matthew, flew in from South Africa to receive the trophy.
Gallacher described it as "the pinnacle of my father's career...", while Shearer added that his own father often told the striker "You'll never be as good as Hughie Gallacher."
Museum President Sir Bobby Charlton presented an award to Jimmy McIlroy, who he called "the most fantastic midfield player I've ever seen."
Burnley legend Jimmy stood alongside Sir Bobby to hear the Manchester United and England great praise the Northern Irishman, completing his speech with the compliment of describing his opponent as "a right bloody nuisance."
The final inductee of the year was the England, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Manchester United goalscorer Michael Owen.
Liverpool and England great Roger Hunt presented Owen with his award, who was asked about his memories of that early career-defining goal against Argentina.
"I knew it was a good goal at the time, but it was only later and a couple of days after that I really realised the significance of it."
The striker was quick to praise another goalscorer in the crowd when receiving his award; his father, Terry, the former Chester City and Rochdale forward; "It's fantastic my parents can be here tonight.
"Dad always knew I could be a great player, I always knew I wouldn't let him down."
Read profiles for all this year's inductees, and find out more about the awards, including the selection process, at nationalfootballmuseum.com/hall-of-fame
Posted by: Aaron Gourley
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