Two of English football’s greatest rivals were reunited this week as Sir Alex Ferguson and his long-time sparring partner Arsene Wenger were inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Thankfully, the once infamously fractious relationship between the former Arsenal and Manchester United managers seems to be entirely more courteous these days as the pair became the first two inductees of 2023.
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Ferguson has won 15 of the 29 titles contested to date, while Wenger is a three-time winner with the Gunners and is widely credited as one of the most influential figures in the progression of English top-flight football. Together the duo oversaw 1,638 Premier League matches and individually have won more games than every club outside the so-called Big Six.
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger are really out here with more wins than a lot of teams 😳
True icons of the game.
And into the Premier League Hall of Fame.#PL #OptusSport pic.twitter.com/XKnayCVEYT
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) March 30, 2023
The pair had a little fun after accepting their medallions by adopting a couple of iconic poses, with the United boss tapping his watch in classic “Fergie Time” manner while his French contemporary re-created the defiant stance he took atop the dugouts after being sent off at Old Trafford in 2009.
The Premier League Hall of Fame was introduced in 2021 with Alan Shearer, Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Dennis Bergkamp, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham comprising the inaugural raft of inductees.
The following year saw Wayne Rooney, Patrick Vieira, Sergio Aguero, Didier Drogba, Vincent Kompany, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes and Ian Wright take their rightful places in the pantheon.
While few could argue that those legendary names fully warranted Hall of Fame status there were questions as to why the Premier League had previously chosen to overlook their most decorated managers in history for so long.
Ferguson and Wenger are the first figures to join the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2023, with a shortlist of 15 former players eligible for inclusion at the next induction: Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, Michael Carrick, Petr Cech, Andrew Cole, Ashley Cole, Jermain Defoe, Les Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler, Gary Neville, Michael Owen, John Terry, Yaya Toure and Nemanja Vidic.
Voting is open until 6pm on Monday, April 10, with the three inductees to be announced on Wednesday, May 3.
Whoever makes the grade, they’re certain to be keeping extremely esteemed company.