Football: Seven Englishmen step into the Hall of Fame

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The Independent Online
Twenty more players were voted into the International Football Hall of Fame yesterday. Glenn Moore, our Football Correspondent, was on the voting panel and explains the background to some of the choices.

The status accorded to football's new International Hall of Fame was apparent yesterday when George Best turned up for the inauguration. Then again, it was held in a bar run by his former Northern Ireland team-mate, Terry Neill.

The presence of Best and several more of the game's legends, including Tom Finney, Nat Lofthouse, Gordon Banks, Alan Ball, Pat Jennings and Jim Baxter at Neill's London bar added weight to the concept, which will be made concrete in Manchester next year.

The first five names, voted for by the public, had been revealed on Wednesday. Yesterday Pele, Best, Bobby Charlton, Stanley Matthews and Bobby Moore were joined by 20 more greats, chosen by a panel of journalists from 100 names put forward by the public and whittled down to 65 by the seven aforementioned legends.

They included no surprises, even if the inclusion of seven English players did indicate a certain bias. If England had really had that many of the 25 best-ever players they, and not Brazil (five representatives), would have won four World Cups.

As a member of the journalists' panel I can offer some mitigation. The 65-strong list that came to us included a staggering 28 English names and eight Scots. Uruguay, twice World Cup winners, were not represented at all, while Italy and Germany had three candidates, Argentina two and Spain one. This meant players such as Francisco Gento, Gianni Rivera, Giacinto Facchetti, Paul Breitner, Kazimierz Deyna, Tostao, Gerson, Johan Neeskens, Steve Bloomer and Peter Doherty were not able to be considered. Among those included in the 65 were Tony Currie and Peter Osgood.

The Hall of Fame concept is an old one in the United States, which even has a Soccer Hall of Fame which includes many of the same players. This one is intended to be a multi-faceted attraction incorporating all manner of new technology as well as the inevitable restaurants and bars. More unusual is the intention to include a mini-stadium and football academy backed by the PFA, the footballers' union.

Hall of Fame

1 Pele

2 George Best

3 Bobby Charlton

4 Johan Cruyff

5 Bobby Moore

6 Gordon Banks

7 Marco van Basten

8 Franz Beckenbauer

9 John Charles

10 Kenny Dalglish

11 Duncan Edwards

12 Eusebio

13 Tom Finney

14 Garrincha

15 Jairzinho

16 Stanley Matthews

17 Gerd Muller

18 Michel Platini

19 Ferenc Puskas

20 Rivelino

21 Alfredo Di Stefano

22 Lev Yashin

23 Billy Wright

24 Zico

25 Dino Zoff

Future Hall of Fame

1 Diego Maradona

2 Alan Shearer

3 Ronaldo

4 George Weah

5 David Beckham