Opinion: Which ex-Red should make the Hall of Fame?
Six former Manchester United players are eligible to make the Premier League Hall of Fame after being named to the 15-player shortlist.
Just three players will be selected from the 15, with fans welcomed to vote. The final decision is made based upon the votes plus the views of the Hall of Fame panel, and already inducted members.
Each of our nominees has their own unique history at the club, with four of our writers delving into who they believe should be the latest to join the pantheon of greats...
“Most people talk about how Nemanja Vidic got off to a dodgy start at United but (honestly) I liked what I saw of him from the first glimpse: a rugged, no-nonsense defender who leads from the back. A reliable, consistent performer who would run through brick walls, he was just the sort of character United fans have always adored. The thing is, as aggressive and combative as he was on the pitch, he is, in contrast, friendly and engaging off it, making him ideal captain material, even if it was a role he did not feel necessarily suited to. Five title-winners medals in seven full seasons says it all, in terms of his influence.”
“People need to put some respect on Andy Cole’s name. There, I said it. And I don’t mean United fans because it’s obvious that we love and appreciate our legendary no.9. I’m talking about the general football public, which too often overlooks him when it comes to the history books. Our sport is subjective and we love the debates, of course, but numbers do not lie. Coley scored 187 Premier League goals during his era-spanning career and only three men can boast more: Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, and Alan Shearer. That achievement alone is impressive enough in my book, but it’s on another level when you consider he didn’t take penalties (well, just two to be precise, scoring one). What would his tally have been if he was more selfish? When you add five Premier League titles into the mix then you have a Hall of Famer on your hands. For me it’s an absolute tap-in that Andy should be inducted and, without question, he must always be ranked among the greats of the modern era.”
"Surely one of the most decorated defenders in the English game has got to be in with a shout of making the Premier League Hall of Fame. As someone who tried and usually failed to play well in Gary's unglamorous right-back role, I have to declare some positional bias here. But the stats also stack up in favour of the senior Neville sibling. His 602 United appearances - let that number sink in - are testament to his tenacity, physical fitness, and resilience. And had he not also been capable on the ball, you can bet the boss - Sir Alex Ferguson - would have swiftly found someone else to feed David Beckham and then Cristiano Ronaldo on the Reds' ultra-creative right flank. Probably his younger brother and fellow United Academy graduate, Phil. Knowing Gary, as we think we all do from his work as a popular Sky Sports pundit, he's unlikely to be perturbed if fans of other clubs overlook him in their three HOF picks. After all, he can always show them - and us, with local pride - his eight Premier League winner's medals."
"Rio Ferdinand would be one of the picks in my all-time United XI (of players I've personally seen), so I have zero hesitation in recommending that he is immediately slotted into the Premier League's Hall of Fame. He helped United win six titles – more than any other centre-back in the competition's post-1992 history – but the many great numbers, medals and garlands are beside the point, really. Rio was simply the best defender I've ever seen at Old Trafford: he read the game with diabolical ease and was a supreme athlete that did everything with a smooth grace and poise. That relaxed and reassured his team-mates - not to mention us fans – and made him the perfect counterpoint to his oak-solid defensive partner, Nemanja Vidic. They should really be voted into this Hall of Fame in tandem but, if I have to make one selection, Rio is an easy choice. He was a glorious, regal footballer; as good as anything else this new shortlist has to offer."