By 90Min
October 31, 2019

Worry no more, readers, for the moment has arrived - it's the latest instalment of 90min's Premier League Hall of Fame!

I'm sure you've all been itching as you await your next hit of English football nostalgia, though I must warn you that this is the penultimate chapter of the series. In case you haven't learned the rules from the previous 13 segments, here's a link to them all, as dictated by lord and creator of these prestigious awards, Sean Walsh.

So, without any further ado, let's take a look at the six retired stars who form the Class of 2018.


Ryan Giggs

Alex Livesey/GettyImages
Premier League Club Years Played
Manchester United 1992-2014

This one is a no-brainer. It's not a subjective decision and it's not up for debate. In fact, Ryan Giggs quite possibly tops the list of candidates for a spot in this Hall of Fame. 

The Welshman collected more Premier League titles with Manchester United than the combined total won by the other five clubs that comprise the 'Big Six'. You can also throw Everton in there, plus NewcastleLeeds... you get the picture.

Of course, those are team achievements and they don't necessarily reflect Giggs' own virtuoso talent, although they do at least demonstrate his durability and stamina. 

The tricky winger became the first man to earn consecutive PFA Young Player of the Year awards, has the most assists in Prem history and spent over two decades representing perhaps the greatest side that club football has ever witnessed. 

Well, I say he represented them - more to the point, Giggs embodied everything that was good about Fergie's imperious United outfit.


Thierry Henry

Mark Thompson/GettyImages
Premier League Club Years Played
Arsenal 1999-2007, 2012

Once again, some serious soul-searching is required if you doubt Thierry Henry's claim to a place within this Hall of Fame. The Frenchman was a ruthless, clinical assassin who owned the most heart-warming of smiles.

An unrivalled tally of four Golden Boots came the way of the Arsenal talisman, as did the club's all-time scoring record, with the World Cup winner striking on 175 occasions in the top-flight.

Only three players - who all spent significantly more time on these shores - have scored more than Henry in the Premier League, while just one of the 35 sides he has faced in the first division were able to deny him a goal. Swansea City have that honour, but they'd surely have caved if they'd gone up against the veteran forward for more than 24 minutes.

Henry's performance during the Gunners' 49-match unbeaten run between 2003 and 2004 offers the best insight into his impact on Arsenal, as well as English football at large. 


During that immense period of the club's history, he scored the most goals, played the most minutes and was the top assist-maker for Arsene Wenger's men. Absolute game-changer.


William Gallas

Ryan Pierse/GettyImages
Premier League Club Years Played
Chelsea 2001-2006 
Arsenal 2006-2010
Tottenham Hotspur 2010-2013

It takes a fair amount of charisma to play for the three most successful clubs in London and not be universally hated, yet William Gallas managed it. You just know he'll deliver a delightful acceptance speech when he is officially inducted into the hall.

When Claudio Ranieri was Chelsea boss, the centre-back's partnership with John Terry secured a Mourinho-esque 16 straight clean-sheets for the Blues. Once the peevish Portuguese actually arrived at Stamford Bridge, Gallas was an integral part of back-to-back title victories.

Those triumphs ended a half-century-long wait for another English crown in west London, helped the France international get selected in two PFA Teams of the Year and made him a beloved figure at the Bridge... until he started threatening to score own-goals.

That eagerness to depart saw him trade places with Ashley Cole at Arsenal, although a grand total of zero trophies were won during four campaigns under the watchful eye of Wenger. 

Gallas' finest hour at the Emirates actually came in a Tottenham shirt as he and the Lilywhites clawed back a two-goal deficit to claim a famous 3-2 victory on their enemies' turf in 2010, with that their first away win in the North London Derby since 1993.


Freddie Ljungberg

Phil Cole/GettyImages
Premier League Club Years Played
Arsenal 1998-2007
West Ham United 2007-2008

As strange as it sounds, Freddie Ljungberg's Premier League career began with a marvellous showing in Stockholm as Sweden defeated England 2-1 in European Championship qualifying. 

Arsenal chief Wenger knew of the winger's existence through his scouting network, but watching that encounter was enough for old Arsene to get out his cheque book immediately.

The Gunners coach had never previously seen him in action. By the end of the Scandinavian's nine-season stint at the club, Wenger had seen Ljungberg's entire repertoire of tricks and skills; there's a strong likelihood the manager was impressed.

Named as the Premier League Player of the Season in his fourth campaign at Highbury and a member of those pesky Invincibles in his sixth, the Calvin Klein model was at the forefront of a dominant era at Arsenal. 

His only year with West Ham wasn't quite so glorious, though I'm sure Ljungberg cherishes the memory of helping the Irons' to a 10th-place finish in the table.


David James

Craig Prentis/GettyImages
Premier League Club Years Played
Liverpool 1992-1999
Aston Villa 1999-2001
West Ham United 2001-2003
Manchester City 2004-2006
Portsmouth 2006-2010

From the early days when his hair was jet black, to the times when grey specks started to appear, David James was always a reliable pair of hands between the sticks - even during his bleached blonde phase.

Almost any first division club would have had the England goalkeeper as their number one, which is demonstrated by the fact he's fourth on the Premier League's all-time appearance-makers list - wherever he went, he was first-choice.

James never won the league, but he did collect the 1995 League Cup with Liverpool and the 2008 FA Cup with Portsmouth. How's that for longevity? 

That elusive top-flight title has no significant baring on what was overall a fabulous career, with the shot-stopper previously holding the record for most clean-sheets in the Premier League, amassing 169. 

Considering he spent a large chunk of his playing days turning out for some of the competition's lesser sides, that tally is nothing short of sensational.


Craig Bellamy

Alex Livesey/GettyImages
Premier League Club Years Played
Coventry City 2000-2001
Newcastle United 2001-2005
Blackburn Rovers 2005-2006
Liverpool 2006-2007, 2011-2012
West Ham United 2007-2009 
Manchester City 2009-2011
Cardiff City
2013-2014

Surely, if you represent every single club that has ever played in the Premier League, you deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Ok, Craig Bellamy wasn't quite that level of journeyman, but the winger did sparkle for a fair few top-flight teams.

The Welshman never stuck around long, though memories of him will have lived on long after he left. Despite not wanting to join Coventry, he became their record signing for £6m in 2000, yet stuck around for just a year.

Newcastle found Bellamy to be a Jekyll and Hyde character, equally capable of brilliance and insolence, with the two often occurring together. That relationship swiftly ended and, in single seasons at Blackburn and Liverpool, he was voted Rovers' player of the year and reached a Champions League final with the Reds.

Injury disrupted the forward's spell with West Ham, whilst a strong beginning to life at Manchester City turned sour following Roberto Mancini's appointment as head coach. 

Still, that turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Bellamy went on to win the League Cup during a brief return to Anfield, before helping hometown team Cardiff secure promotion and, therefore, a maiden Premier League campaign in the dying embers of his career.


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