Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are the first managers to enter the Premier League Hall of Fame
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Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have become the first managers to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
The legendary duo won 16 Premier League titles between them while developing a fierce rivalry over the years when managing their respective clubs, Manchester United and Arsenal.
They are also the first to be inducted as part of the ‘Class of 2023’.
Ferguson, 81, is the most successful manager in Premier League history and has won a record 13 titles – including winning the title for an unprecedented three seasons in a row on two separate occasions – before retiring in 2013.
After arriving at Old Trafford in 1986, Ferguson helped turn the club back into one of English football’s juggernauts and went on to dethrone Liverpool as the club with the most top-flight English league titles.
Sir Alex Ferguson (left) and Arsene Wenger (right) have been inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame – the first two managers to be given the honour
The legendary duo established one of the biggest rivalries in the Premier League’s history
Ferguson (left) reveals he and Wenger (right) have gone for dinner in Switzerland
Ferguson also won the inaugural Premier League title in the 1992-93 campaign and he would manage some of the game’s best players during his incredible 27-year spell as Red Devils manager.
Renowned for his brilliant leadership skills and ability to rebuild title-winning teams time and time again, Ferguson’s all-time Premier League record stands at 528 wins from 810 matches and 1,752 points accumulated.
He was named manager of the season 11 times and collected the Manager of the Month award on 27 occasions.
Ferguson said: ‘I’m truly delighted to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. It’s an honour when you receive recognition like this.
‘However, it’s not just about me as a person. It’s about the job at Manchester United and the bond we had over many years, so I’m also proud for the club, the staff and my players.
‘My job was to send the fans home happy. United’s history and my own expectations were the things that drove me, and I then had to try and develop all my players with the same expectations and make sure we could go out and achieve them.
‘I feel Arsene is a very worthy inductee as he transformed Arsenal Football Club fantastically. They became a tough team to compete with and we both wanted to win, which motivated us further.
‘Through the years since retirement, we’d go for dinner together in a little restaurant he knows well in Switzerland. He is a really interesting man and I enjoy his company, but it is still my job to pick the wine!’
Ferguson is the most successful manager in Premier League history, winning a record 13 titles
Ferguson won the Premier League title in his final campaign as Manchester United manager
While Ferguson was there at the very start of the Premier League, Wenger arrived in 1996 as one of the league’s first foreign managers.
The Frenchman made an instant impact and helped raise standards through a revolutionary football philosophy while dedicating his teams to play attacking and attractive football.
Wenger managed to win the Premier League title in his first full campaign as Arsenal manager in the 1997-98 season, but five years beyond that would see him achieve his greatest accomplishment to date.
Wenger made history in the 2003-04 season when his Arsenal side went the whole campaign unbeaten to win the title, with his side being dubbed the ‘Invincibles’.
Wenger has managed a record 828 Premier League matches, including 476 wins and 199 draws. He was voted Manager of the Season in 1998, 2002 and 2004.
Wenger said: ‘I am very grateful to have been selected for the Premier League Hall of Fame. We always wanted to give something special to the fans and when you have players capable of remarkable things, the most important thing for me is the obligation of perfection.
‘I’d like to be known as someone who loved Arsenal, who respected the values of the club and left it in a position where it can grow and become even bigger.
‘To share this with Sir Alex is a great honour for me. It’s like two boxers, you fight like mad and go the distance together.
‘At the end of the day, you have respect and it will be a great opportunity to meet with him, share a good bottle of wine and memories of our old battles.’
Eight inductees were named as part of the inaugural group when the Hall of Fame was launched in 2021.
Wenger holds aloft his third Premier League trophy while at Islington Town Hall in 2004
Wenger’s ‘Invincible’ Arsenal side went the whole 2003-04 season unbeaten to win the title
Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Dennis Bergkamp and David Beckham made up the initial group before Paul Scholes, Didier Drogba, Peter Schmeichel, Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and Ian Wright joined them in last year’s class.
This year’s inductees will be formally honoured at a Premier League Hall of Fame event in May.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: ‘We are delighted to welcome our first two managers into the Premier League Hall of Fame. Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger both made a remarkable contribution to the history of football in this country.
‘They brought unparalleled levels of success to Manchester United and Arsenal respectively, raising standards and thrilling fans with a rivalry which resulted in an astonishing 16 title wins between them.
‘The dominance of Manchester United under Sir Alex remains unmatched after he guided them to an incredible 13 titles across 21 Premier League seasons. To maintain that level of success for such a long period means he is quite rightly regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time.
‘Arsene was an innovator who was well ahead of his time, bringing numerous changes to Arsenal that would be replicated at other clubs. His teams played some of the best football we have ever witnessed and the Invincibles season is not only one of the greatest accomplishments in English football, but sport in general.’
The Hall of Fame launched in 2021, with inaugural inductees including David Beckham, Dennis Bergkamp, Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Alan Shearer.
In 2022, Sergio Aguero, Didier Drogba, Vincent Kompany, Wayne Rooney, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes, Patrick Vieira and Ian Wright, were the next group to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Ferguson (left) and Wenger (right) strike their famous poses after entering the Hall of Fame
SIR ALEX FERGUSON’S PREMIER LEAGUE ACHIEVEMENTS
• Sir Alex Ferguson won the Premier League title on 13 occasions as Manchester United manager, nine more times than any other manager in Premier League history.
• Ferguson has won more games (528) and seen his teams score more goals (1,627) than any other manager in Premier League history.
• Ferguson was the first manager to win 50 Premier League games (May 1994), 100 Premier League games (April 1996), 200 Premier League games (September 2000) and 250 Premier League games (November 2002).
• Ferguson is the only manager to win the Premier League title in three consecutive seasons, doing so on two separate occasions between 1998-99 and 2000-01 and 2006-07 and 2008-09.
• Under Ferguson, Manchester United won the most Premier League points in the 1990s (620), 2000s (832) and between January 2010 and his final game in May 2013 (300).
• Ferguson won the first-ever Premier League Manager of the Month award in August 1993 and went on to win it 27 times, the most of any manager.
ARSENE WENGER’S PREMIER LEAGUE ACHIEVEMENTS
• Arsene Wenger managed 828 Premier League matches, the most of any manager in Premier League history.
• Wenger is the only manager to go through an entire Premier League season without losing, doing so in 2003-04 with Arsenal, winning 26 and drawing 12 of their 38 games on their way to winning the title.
• Wenger holds the record for the longest unbeaten run by a manager in Premier League history, going 49 matches unbeaten with Arsenal between May 2003 and October 2004.
• In 2001-02, Wenger’s Arsenal scored in every Premier League match on their way to winning the title. They remain the only team in Premier League history to score in every match in a season.
• Wenger managed in 22 consecutive Premier League seasons between 1996-97 and 2017-18 – it’s the most different seasons anybody has managed in in Premier League history.
• Wenger won 106 London derbies in the Premier League, 64 more than any other manager in Premier League history.
Six of those already inducted have been managed by Ferguson (Cantona, Keane, Beckham, Rooney, Scholes and Schmeichel), while four have been coached by Wenger (Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira and Wright).
To be eligible for the Premier League Hall of Fame, individuals must have been retired as of 1 January 2023, and only an individual’s Premier League career is considered in their candidacy.
A shortlist of 15 former Premier League players will be eligible to enter this year’s class, with the list being announced on Thursday, March 30. Fans will be able to help select three more candidates to join the 16 players already in the Hall of Fame.
Voting will take place at www.premierleague.com/halloffame and on the official Premier League app until 6pm (UK time) on Monday 10 April.
WHO’S ALREADY BEEN INDUCTED INTO THE HALL OF FAME?
1. Alan Shearer
2. Thierry Henry
3. Eric Cantona
4. Roy Keane
5. Frank Lampard
6. Dennis Bergkamp
7. Steven Gerrard
8. David Beckham
9. Patrick Vieira
10. Wayne Rooney
11. Paul Scholes
12. Didier Drogba
13. Peter Schmeichel
14. Sergio Aguero
15. Vincent Kompany
16. Ian Wright