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Friday, June 2, 2023

Ferguson, Wenger join Premier League Hall of Fame

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger were inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

The two men have won 16 English Premier League titles during a period of intense rivalry that began in the 1990s.

Ferguson, 81, is the most successful manager in Premier League history, having led Manchester United to 13 titles, while Wenger has three titles with Arsenal, including an unbeaten season in 2003/04.

He managed the team for more than 26 years, leading the Red Devils to their first Premier League title in 1992/93, their first since 1967.

Ferguson has already had six players inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame: David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Wayne Rooney, Peter Schmeichel, and Paul Scholes.

Reacting to the news, he said, “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 of the club, the staff and my players.”

On the other hand, Wenger joined Arsenal as one of the Premier League’s first foreign managers in 1996 and stayed until 2018.

The Frenchman introduced a revolutionary football philosophy to the English game, emphasising nutrition and sports science. He was committed to playing attractive, attacking football, and he won the title in his first full season with the club in 1997/98.

Wenger oversaw an astute transfer strategy that included scouting abroad for talent—fellow Hall of Fame members Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira were two of his key players.

“To share this with Sir Alex is a great honour for me,” said the 73-year-old, who is currently FIFA’s football development chief.

“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.”

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said the two managers brought “unparalleled levels of success” to their clubs.

“The dominance of Manchester United under Sir Alex remains unmatched after he guided them to an incredible 13 titles across 21 Premier League seasons,” he said.

Masters added: “Arsene was an innovator who was well ahead of his time… and the Invincibles season is not only one of the greatest accomplishments in English football but sport in general.”

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