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England Player Honours -
International Football Hall of Fame

 

 

International Football Hall of Fame Members
[England Players Highlighted]
No. Player International Details

Inducted

1 Pelé [Edson Arantes do Nascimento] Forward, Brazil, 92 caps, 77 goals, 1957-71 1997
2 George Best Forward/midfielder Northern Ireland, 37 caps, 9 goals, 1964-77 1997
3 Bobby Charlton Forward/midfielder, England, 106 caps, 49 goals, 1958-70 1997
4 Johan Cruyff Forward, Netherlands, 48 caps, 33 goals, 1966-77 1997
5 Bobby Moore Defender/midfielder, England, 108 caps, 2 goals, 1962-73 1997
6 Franz Beckenbauer Midfielder/defender West Germany, 103 caps, 14 goals, 1965-77 1997
7 Alfredo Di Stéfano Lauhte Forward/midfielder, Argentina, 8 caps, 6 goals, 1947, Spain, 31 caps, 23 goals, 1957-61 1997
8 Stanely Matthews Forward, England, 54 caps, 11 goals, 1934-57 1997
9 Michel Platini Midfielder, France, 72 caps, 41 goals, 1976-87 1997
10 Ferenc Puskás Forward, Hungary, 84 caps, 83 goals, 1945-56, Spain, 4 caps, 0 goals, 1961-62 1997
11 Eusébio da Silva Ferreira Forward, Portugal, 64 caps, 41 goals, 1961-73 1997
12 Lev Yashin Goalkeeper, U.S.S.R., 79 caps, __ goals against, 1954-67 1997
No. Player International Details

Inducted

13 Garrincha [Manoel Francisco dos Santos] Forward, Brazil, 50 caps, 12 goals, 1955-66 1997
14 Duncan Edwards Midfielder, England, 18 caps, 5 goals, 1955-57 1997
15 Gordon Banks Goakeeper, England, 73 caps, __ goals against, 1963-72 1997
16 John Charles Forward/midfielder/defender, Wales, 38 caps, 15 goals, 1950-65 1997
17 Kenny Dalglish Forward, Scotland, 102 caps, 30 goals, 1972-87 1997
18 Tom Finney Forward, England, 76 caps, 30 goals, 1946-58 1997
19 Gerd Müller Forward, West Germany, 62 caps, 68 goals, 1966-74 1997
20 Roberto Rivelino Midfielder, Brazil, 92 caps, 26 goals, 1965-78 1997
21 Marco van Basten Forward, Netherlands, 58 caps, 24 goals, 1983-92 1997
22 Dino Zoff Goalkeeper, Italy, 112 caps, 91 goals against, 1968-83 1997
23 Jairzinho [Jair Ventura Filho] Forward, Brazil, 82 caps, 34 goals, 1963-82 1997
24 Zico [Arthur Antunes Coimbra] Forward, Brazil, 71 caps, 48 goals, 1971-89 1997
25 Billy Wright Defender/midfielder, England, 105 caps, 3 goals, 1946-59 1997

Notes

The first 25 inductees to the International Football Hall of Fame were announced on 27 November 1997.  Only players who had been capped at least once and who had been retired for three years as of June, 1997 were eligible for the inaugural selection.  The Hall of Fame's British organisers, chief among them Gordon Taylor, head of the Professional Footballers' Association, claimed their selection process collected more than 500,000 votes over the Internet and through the post from football fans in 110 countries.  The five players gaining the most votes--the first five listed in the table above--were elected straight into the Hall of Fame.  Panels of former international footballers and journalists winnowed the other vote-getters and chose the remaining 20 inductees.

The organisers planned to build the International Hall of Fame in Manchester and it was to be opened in 1999.  It has never been built.  They also promised selection of new members annually.  No members have been selected since the inaugural selection in 1997.  The Hall of Fame website is still accessible, but it has not been updated for several years.  It appears the International Football Hall of Fame is a dead letter.

It may be just as well.  The International Football Hall of Fame kicked off just a couple of months before FIFA launched its International Football Hall of Champions, and  FIFA, according to an Associated Press report, "was not thrilled with the competition."  FIFA spokesman Keith Cooper said, 'We have our own project, which bears the FIFA name, is truly international with international participation and very clearly defined rules.  We cannot stop them doing their own but it would be better if there were only one."

Cooper's point was well-taken.  The British version's website declared that it would be "the one and only definitive 'International Football Hall Of Fame' and promised a neutral selection process:  "And for the supporter it won't just be a dictatorial and arbitrary election process but one in which you play an integral part in how a player gets selected.  Nor will it be biased towards any country or continent -- as befits the global scope of 'the beautiful game' it is for the players and fans of every country."

Thereafter the organisers seemed bent on disproving their neutrality.  They published what they termed "a very subjective list of footballing greats--just to get the debate rolling about who should actually be voted into the International Football Hall Of Fame."  Their list contained a hugely disproportionate number of British and Irish players, and--admitting "there were some accusations that we were being overtly parochial in terms of the suggestions listed for 'Hall Of Famers'"--they hastily published a second list "with not one single Englishman (or Scotsman, Welshman and Irishman) in sight."  

It was to no avail because the inaugural selection was even more biased than the first list of suggestions.  Nine of the initial 25 players were from the United Kingdom, and seven of these from England, a nation whose team had won one World Cup and no European Championships.  Meanwhile, Germany, winner of three World Cups and three European Championships, had two players in the 25.  Italy, winner of three World Cups and one European Championship, had one, goalkeeper Dino Zoff.  England even had two more inductees than four-time World Cup winner Brazil.  Two-time World Cup winner Argentina had only one, and that was Alfredo Di Stefano, who spent most of his career playing in and for Spain.

The Guardian's noted football journalist David Lacey wrote, "Usually these debates are the stuff of life when soccer lovers gather. But what is good for the saloon bar becomes another matter entirely when the names are given quasi-official status as the centrepiece of a $25 million museum, which will be visited by soccer nuts from all over the world."  The bias in favour of the U.K., he observed, "might make the customers doubt not so much the international nature of the original poll as the impartiality of the hacks who compiled the short list."

Lacey's piece elicited a response from the Telegraph's Donald Trelford so acidic that one might well suspect he was one of the hacks whose impartiality Lacey questioned:  "These saloon bar exercises can be a great way of showing off.  Take this from The Guardian's David Lacey, a man who really knows his football:  'The absence of Raymond Kopa, Luis Suarez, Omar Sivori, Josef Masopust, Ernst Ocwirk, Juan Schiaffino and their like merely hardens the view that this is an essentially British exercise'.  Well, yes, but then the Hall of Fame will be in Manchester.  As for his list of forgotten players, I can vaguely remember Kopa, but the rest are a blank.  In fact, when I first saw the exotic list of improbable names I checked that the date on The Guardian wasn't April 1."

These fatuous remarks only substantiate Lacey's point, of course.  Trelford's profound parochial ignorance of some of the world's most illustrious and famous footballers, his smug and self-congratulatory dismissal of those who know and care about football outside their own country and his contempt for what won't sell in Manchester demonstrate precisely why it is unwise to entrust an international football hall of fame to one country.  For every country has an abundance of such fops, although Trelford would take some beating.  Far better that an international football organisation take charge of an international hall of fame, and far better that there be only one hall of fame purporting to recognise the best players from all over the world.  FIFA's International Football Hall of Champions also has been abandoned, but FIFA has announced plans to open a new FIFA Hall of Fame in Valencia, Spain with a planned inauguration of November, 2004.

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