The National Football Museum proudly announces the latest 11 football legends to be inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.
This year the voting has brought some big name pairings together: two Manchester United defenders, two Liverpool legends, two goalkeeping greats, two tricky Scottish wingers and two Lionesses are among the inductees.
Two players from Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson era will be inducted: Rio Ferdinand, who won Premier League and Champions League titles with the club, and Denis Irwin, who Sir Alex Ferguson regarded pound for pound his greatest ever signing.
From the other end of the M62, centre half Mark Lawrenson, who won 5 league titles and a European Cup during his time at Liverpool is to be inducted. The Anfield club’s legendary forward Billy Liddell will join the National Football Museum Hall Of Fame as the choice of the historian panel.
Joining these greats are goalkeepers Neville Southall, who became a club legend after making nearly 750 appearances for Everton, and former England and Arsenal number one David Seaman, who appeared over fifteen consecutive years for the national team, picking up 75 caps along the way.
Current Scotland manager Gordon Strachan, who captained Leeds United to the final First Division Championship in 1991, is to be inducted as a player. Fellow Scot, Nottingham Forest’s John Robertson, who manager Brian Clough once described as the ‘Picasso’ of football, will also be inducted.
The FA continue to support the National Football Museum Hall Of Fame and have the honour of choosing inductees in the Female Players and Football For All categories.
This year two of England’s Lionesses are being honoured: 2006 FA Player of the Year and long-serving Everton left back Rachel Unitt, who has won 102 caps for the England women’s national football team and Rachel Brown-Finnis; the former Liverpool and Everton goalkeeper who played in an FA Cup Final aged just 15 and went on to win 82 England caps.
The honour roll is completed with the induction of Paralympic Great Britain and England Cerebal Palsy player Martin Sinclair, whose brother is Aston Villa winger Scott Sinclair.
The Hall of Famers will all be inducted into the Hall of Fame at a prestigious award ceremony on Wednesday 19 October at the National Football Museum.
They will be immortalised next to legends such as Sir Tom Finney, Gordon Banks, Alan Shearer and last year’s inductees Gary Neville and Norman Hunter, whose achievements are already celebrated with a place in the Hall of Fame, a focal point of the museum.
In addition to the individual players joining the Hall Of Fame, two new team awards will be presented at a special, one-off event in Nottingham later this year.
Nottingham Forest’s remarkable achievements from 1978-1980 will see the double European Cup-winning side inducted to the Hall Of Fame, while Notts County will also be honoured as the world’s oldest professional football club.
Inductees are chosen by a panel featuring some of the biggest names in football including the Museum’s President Sir Bobby Charlton, Vice President Sir Alex Ferguson and Gordon Taylor.
National Football Museum Director Dr. Kevin Moore said: “Our expectations have been surpassed this year as our inductees have continued to amaze us not just with their talent, but their commitment to the game.”
“These footballing greats will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at an awards dinner in October. The evening will be an experience like no other where the inductees can collectively reflect on their successes, spanning over five decades. As ever, we’re extremely grateful to our main sponsor the Professional Footballers’ Association who have ensured that the Hall of Fame has become one of the most prestigious fixtures in the sporting awards calendar. We’re also delighted that once again The FA is supporting our Football for All and Women’s Football Awards.”
Kelly Simmons, The FA’s Director for Participation and Development said:
“As a governing body we have made massive strides to encourage greater participation across all of football. In both disability football and the womens’ game we are now seeing excellent growth.
“It is at the elite end of the game that the role models are to be found, and there are no finer examples than Martin and the two Rachels – who each have consistently demonstrated their dedication, commitment and team spirit. They are worthy inductees who we are proud to have had the honour of naming.”
To qualify for nomination players must have finished their career or be aged over 30 and have played or managed in England for at least five years.
The National Football Museum provides a world-class home for the greatest collection of football memorabilia ever assembled, in addition to housing its nationally-recognised Hall of Fame in Manchester.
More than 140,000 objects, works of art and photographs make up this unique collection with over 2,500 on display at any one time. Highlights include a shirt from the world’s first international match played in 1872, the 1966 World Cup Final ball and the shirt worn by Maradona during the infamous 1986 ‘Hand of God’ quarter final match between England and Argentina.
Admission is free of charge but, as the museum is a registered charity, it relies on donations from the public and support from the corporate sector.