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Top 10 Premier League Legends We Should Cherish Now

sir-alex-fergusonIt’s human nature for us to take things for granted. When they’re taken away from us, we moan and complain. But while we have them, we often don’t appreciate these things as much as we should.

The same goes for footballers and football managers. Years from now, we’ll look back and talk incessantly about “the good ‘ol days” when so and so was in the Premier League. So rather than wait for that day to come, I’ve put together my own list of ten personalities within the Premier League which I cherish right now. You may disagree with many of them, so post your own list in the comments section at the foot of this post.

My criteria whether these personalities are legends or not is whether the Premier League would be a lesser league if any of the stars below suddenly retired.

Here are my top 10 Premier League legends to cherish:

  1. Alex Ferguson (Manchester United). Love him or hate him, Ferguson will be mentioned in football history books for several generations ahead of us as one of the most successful managers in English football history. There may never be another manager who will be in charge of a top flight English club for as long as Ferguson.
  2. Ryan Giggs (Manchester United). Giggsy is everything good about the Premier League. He’s modest, skillful and a role model for current and future generations of Manchester United players.
  3. Arsene Wenger (Arsenal). Wenger changed the face of Premier League football by revolutionizing the boring Arsenal club and turning them into one of the most attractive sides on the globe apart from Barcelona. He also opened the eyes of Premier League followers to some of the most exciting foreign players who have graced English soil.
  4. Frank Lampard (Chelsea). Frank Lampard represents everything that is good about English football such as playing for the West Ham United youth academy, which is synonymous with the 1966 England squad, as well as representing his country at the highest level and playing a style of football which is aesthetic to the eye. Lampard still has the opportunity to win much more with Chelsea and England, but to me he’s already a Premier League legend we should cherish.
  5. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool). Stevie G is Liverpool through and through, and has been a central figure in the club’s success particularly in Europe where the Reds have achieved so much. Despite reoccurring injury problems, Gerrard still has many years ahead of him where he can become even more of a legend than he is now.
  6. Didier Drogba (Chelsea). There’s something about what Drogba has brought to the Premier League that was never there before — an incredibly strong, physical striker who is so skillful and graceful with his touch. To me, he’s iconic of a new generation of Premier League strikers. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s won eight or more medals with Chelsea.
  7. Fernando Torres (Liverpool). No player has made such an immediate impact on the Premier League in such a short amount of time. And the wonderful thing is that we’ve had a chance to see him grow as a player and become more well-rounded as well being more physical. It’ll be several years before we see a player as naturally gifted as Torres.
  8. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United). Here’s a player that we’ve been able to see grow in the Premier League from his days with Everton where he had so much raw talent but a penchant to run around like a bulldog and risk getting sent off for the silliest of reasons. Since then, we’ve seen him grow as a Manchester United player into one of the best strikers in England and our best hope up front for the 2010 World Cup.
  9. Michael Owen (Manchester United). This is a player that has proven over and over again that he can compete at the highest level even though he has recently been plagued by chronic injuries. He’ll be remembered for his pacey runs and prowess in front of goal which has often reminded me of the great Gary Lineker.
  10. Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal). The Spaniard has put such a stamp on the Arsenal team that he thoroughly deserves to be considered a legend even though he’s only 22. How long he’ll remain at Arsenal is up in the air, but he’s been such a huge part of this team and such a wonderfully gifted midfielder that he will always be remembered in Arsenal history books.

Honorable mentions:

  • Harry Redknapp (Tottenham Hotspur).
  • John Terry (Chelsea).
  • Paul Scholes (Manchester United).
  • Robbie Keane (Tottenham Hotspur).
  • Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea).
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  1. Tim

    November 26, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Love this list, lots of fun to think about, but would register a bit of surprise that not a single defender or goalkeeper is on it. Terry and Ferdinand are the obvious defenders, Brad Friedel, Edwin van der Sar, and I would argue Shay Given the keepers.
    I’d say the significant amount of Scholes outrage is justified – but I’d pick at least three of the guys I just listed over the Ginger Prince, especially if you’re weighting current play the way you seem to be.

  2. alisha

    November 26, 2009 at 4:17 am

    your table is excellent but there is no john terry who is truely a legend

  3. Melanie

    November 15, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I see this as a fair enough list. Not sure that Torres and Fabergas have reached legend status yet or that either will stay long enough in England to do that but if you look at the idea that their absence would be detrimental to the league right now, they are relevant. I personally would put Giggs above all others (and I am not a Man U fan) because he does embody what is good about EPL football, while Fergie’s motives are occasionally, in my opinion, very dodgy.

  4. ish

    November 14, 2009 at 12:19 am

    drogba would have made the list if he came to england earlier. he still potentially could if for the next seasons he keeps going the way he is currently(what is it something like 10 goals and 8 assists in 13 games?) thats an unbelievable tally for a striker, if he gets 30 goals and 24 assists in 39 games would he not be an absolute monster in terms of goals scored and created? There is something about drogba that makes him the new wave striker, adebayor, berbatov, ibrahimovic and drogba are all tall skillful players with more then just physical presence making them great.
    Scholes will be seen as a legend, he isnt an ideal midfielder because his tackling and pressing game blows but his passing, vision and shooting make him an amazing player.
    The other one i will put on their as infamy nearly as much as skill is ashley cole, he has been the england leftback for how long? He has won how many trophies? The guy is one of the best players in the world at his role, he is amazing defensively and more then good in attack.
    Also van der saar, great keeper, one of the greatest keepers in the english game and in the world for what 10 years now?

  5. Bruce Gottesman

    November 13, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Michael Owen?!? Not enough defenders on this list – maybe Rio Ferdinand. And what about goalkeepers? Of course I’m partial to Shay Given. The funny thing is that if you did this a year ago, Cristiano Ronaldo would be close to the top of the list, and yet Man U have figured out how to stay in the Champions League positions without him…

  6. Daryl

    November 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Regardless of who’s on the above list, I love the sentiment behind it. Twenty years from now, we’ll talk about many of these players in reverential tones, which makes it kind of odd that we’re sometimes disrespectful towards them in the present.

    • The Gaffer

      November 13, 2009 at 4:52 pm

      Exactly. You hit the nail on its head right there.

      The Gaffer

  7. patines

    November 13, 2009 at 2:59 am

    ledley king should make this list

  8. Jake

    November 12, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    How are you all so critical of this list? It’s his opinion and he justified them all. He’s also making predictions for who will be a legend, not who currently is, hence why Fabregas is in the top 10 over Scholes. Geez, you guys need to chill and stop getting upset because your hero wasn’t up there. This was actually, in my opinion, one of the better articles I’ve read.

    • James T

      November 13, 2009 at 9:48 am


    • Sam Davis

      November 13, 2009 at 1:30 pm

      I’m not following you Jake. This is based on who will be a legend right? if Giggs and Scholesy are already considered to be living legends then they probably shouldn’t be on the list at all then right? Not even as honorable mentions. Fergie as well for that matter.

      Cesc won’t be in the PL for much longer. That point aside, Scholes has certainly fallen off recently but how he doesn’t make this list is beyond me. Everyone in the Top 10 is in the headlines now and Scholes, given the bit part that he’s playing for United now, isn’t.

      Drogba needs to be far away from this list and Cesc should have the honorable mention. If Scholes had officially retired then I can see leaving him off of this list but only an honorable mention? If Giggs is on that list, Scholes is on that list. And he’s definitely above Cesc if we’re talking about current legendary players and figures.

      I am admittedly a United fan but in the recent history of the EPL, Fergie, Giggs, and to a lesser extent Scholes (but still to a greater degree than the rest of the up-and-comers like Torres & Cesc) are the names most people remember. Even if you hate United. I can’t stand Stevie G but even I’ll admit that he IS Liverpool and even though they’ve wont fuck all besides a fluky CL, he deserves to be in the conversation if for no other reason that being the only hope one of the most storied clubs in Premier League history have of success. Lamps is a class-act as well and a model footballer.

      You can explain away a genuine difference of opinion as “Oh, it’s just his opinion and he’s entitled to it” but really think about it.

      Oh, and to the gaffer. “One of the worst tacklers in the league.” He was never a CDM, midfield enforcer. He played CAM for the majority of his career until he lost a step. The points being made about his tackling are made more in jest than they are an indictment his talent. Surely you know this. If you’d made this list last year Scholes would be on it because he was actually playing and Robbie Keane probably wouldn’t have even made the honorable mention spot. So is this just a “Popular players and figures who all the pundits gush about that are in the news right now” list? People who’ve been watching the game for the past 5 years or so know who Scholes is and know what he’s brought to the game. It seems a bit disrespectful (I wanna find another word, as I don’t wanna seem like I’m getting on my high-horse) to just write off everything he’s done because he’s not playing very often now.

  9. Michael

    November 12, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Um, weren’t there players in the Premier League before 2000? What about Matthew Le Tissier, Ian Wright, Eric Cantona, Peter Schmeichel? I heard they were pretty good, too.

    • MNUfan1991

      November 13, 2009 at 10:23 am

      I believe the list is for all players and managers still active in the PL.

  10. Mike

    November 12, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Anelka doesn’t deserve anything even close to an
    honorable mention. This list is a joke.

  11. Matt

    November 12, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Wow I didn’t know the PL just had 4 teams!

  12. Ashley Cole's vomit

    November 12, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    How, exactly, are these players (and managers) not sufficiently appreciated now (except for Michael Owen)?

  13. James T

    November 12, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Wonderful stuff, Gaffer, lest we all neglect to give love to some of the EPL’s longest-tenured and highest-profiled players and managers. Would be a crying shame to let any of them slip away unnoticed as we focus our gaze squarely on the Lee Cattermoles, Aruna Dindanes and Roman Pavlyuchenkos who currently hog the limelight.

  14. Norfolk Ned

    November 12, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Drogba will never be regarded as a legend, by Chelsea fans or anyone else. He brings nothing but disgrace.

    • Gunner JD

      November 12, 2009 at 9:18 pm

      Absolutely agree. I have started a fan club entitled A.F.F.A.D.A. (American Football Fans Against Drogba and Adebayor). Won’t you join lol? I am the founder and president, and Robin van Persie, Johnny Evans and Wes Brown are all charter members.

  15. rhybread

    November 12, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    What about Henry? Not even an honorable mention for the best striker to play in the Premier League?

    • rhybread

      November 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm

      Sorry, I misread the criteria. 🙁

  16. Peter

    November 12, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Graham Alexander, Robbie Blake, Martin O’neill.

  17. Mbali

    November 12, 2009 at 11:49 am

    What an interesting article, good choices and your reasons and opinions justify your list are at least sound…Nice

  18. YourMom

    November 12, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Another great article.

    Next week, how about an in depth study of WAGs, or the coolest cars owned by PL players. A Best Boots contest!

    You need to change your admin password and stop letting a 7 year old write your pieces on occasion.

  19. Jonathan

    November 12, 2009 at 11:20 am

    An enjoyable article, but like Richard says, Fabregas included and Scholes only honourably mentioned? And then to call Scholes ‘not that good’? Wow. Just, wow. (Unless you mean not that good now, which might be fair enough.)

    Almost every great professional of the modern era has ranked Scholes as one of the best players of our generation from Zidane to Davids to Henry. That speaks volumes for his ability. The guy is probably England’s best midfield player of the last 30 years, and until Fabregas has anywhere near the same level of success, consistency and longevity that Scholes has managed over 15-16 years (not to mention the trophy haul) I’m not even sure he should even be mentioned in the same breath.

  20. oliver

    November 12, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Why Harry Redknapp?

    • pd

      November 12, 2009 at 4:54 pm

      the fickle award

  21. tg

    November 12, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Shouldn’t this be titled “Top 10 Big Four (Plus Tottenham) League Legends We Should Cherish Now?”

    There are legends at other clubs too, ya know…

  22. Domino

    November 12, 2009 at 9:36 am

    the title says “Premier League Legends”

    I wouldnt say Drogba or Torres are Premiership legends, not yet anyway.

    Id deffo put paul Scholes in there, hes a legend. And has been around for such a long time, one of the best English footballers ever.

    Really respect and admire Ryan Giggs, Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

  23. Thomas

    November 12, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Let me guess Richard, you’re a Man United supporter.

    • MNUfan1991

      November 13, 2009 at 7:48 am

      For a team that won 11 out of 20 Premier League titles, they have every right to dominate the list.

      • Jorge Curioso

        November 14, 2009 at 2:24 pm

        That’s 10 out of 17…

  24. Richard

    November 12, 2009 at 5:59 am

    How on earth does 9 Premier League titles (423 league apps, 98 league goals), 3 F.A Cups and 2 Champions Leagues only get Scholes an honourable mention?

    • The Gaffer

      November 12, 2009 at 10:02 am

      While I respect Paul Scholes for his career at Manchester United, I don’t rate him as a Premier League legend because he’s not that good. One of the worst tacklers in the league. And well
      past his prime. Compare him to Giggs and you’ll see how Giggsy not only has the longetivity but is also one of the most important players on the pitch for United. Scholes is dispensable at this point in his career.

      The Gaffer

      • Richard

        November 12, 2009 at 4:03 pm

        Scholes is well past his prime, correct.

        So how the hell then, has Michael Owen got into your top 10???

        Here’s some quotes:

        Zinedine Zidane : “Scholes is undoubtedly the best midfielder of his generation.”

        Gordon Strachan : “Paul Scholes has been the best England midfield player for 30-odd years. You’d probably have to go back to Bobby Charlton to find someone who could do as much as Scholes. When the ball arrives at his feet he could tell you where every player on that pitch is at that moment. His awareness is superb.”

        Marcello Lippi : “Paul Scholes would have been one of my first choices for putting together a great team – that goes to show how highly I have always rated him. He would have been one of the first players I’d have bought, given the chance”

        The Gaffer : “he’s not that good”

        • The Gaffer

          November 13, 2009 at 5:02 pm

          Sorry Richard, but I don’t rate him. I’m in the “what has he done for Man United lately” camp…

          The Gaffer

          • Richard

            November 14, 2009 at 8:29 am

            Playing in a deep role I can see how some people struggle to see what he does for the team (especially given the fact he can’t tackle), but it’s his ability to spread play, work space and find 30 yard passes that are still amazing even today. Sure, his performances are getting a little hit and miss this season, but so are Giggs’ performances.

            And need I remind you of this…


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