Premier League record goalscorer Alan Shearer and four-time Premier League Golden Boot winner Thierry Henry have today been announced as the first two players to be named in the official Premier League Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame recognises and celebrates the exceptional skill and talent of individuals who have graced the Premier League since its inception in 1992. It is the highest individual honour awarded to players by the League.
Shearer has been inducted as the League’s all-time top scorer, having netted 260 goals across 14 Premier League seasons.
The striker was the first player to reach a century of PL goals, scoring 112 times in only 138 matches for Blackburn Rovers, as well as winning the Premier League title with them in the 1994/95 season.
Following a world-record transfer to boyhood club Newcastle United in 1996, Shearer scored 148 goals in 303 Premier League matches during a 10-season spell for the Magpies. He is a three-time Golden Boot winner and remains the only player to have reached 100 goals in the competition for two different clubs.
Speaking of his induction into the Hall of Fame, Shearer said: “When you look at some of the unbelievable players to have graced the Premier League – week in, week out, year in, year out – I feel very honoured to join the Hall of Fame. I have to thank all of my team-mates, as well as the managers and coaches that I’ve worked with.
“All I ever wanted to be was a professional footballer. It was my dream to do that, my dream to win trophies and my dream to score at St James’ Park, to wear the number nine black-and-white shirt and it was fantastic. I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Henry won the Golden Boot award four times and scored a club-record 175 Premier League goals in 258 matches for Arsenal.
He netted more than 20 Premier League goals in five consecutive seasons between 2001/02 and 2005/06.
Following his move to Arsenal in 1999, Henry won the Premier League title twice and was a key member of the "Invincibles" team who went unbeaten during the 2003/04 title-winning campaign.
Along with his scoring prowess, Henry contributed 74 assists during eight Premier League seasons, including a joint-record 20 in 2002/03.
Henry said: “To be inducted alongside Alan Shearer as the two first inductees into the Premier League Hall of Fame is more than special.
“When I was young, I was just trying to make sure I could get a pair of boots and now we’re talking about the Hall of Fame. During my career I wanted to play hard and make sure I was fighting for the cause, because that’s all the fans want to see.
"If you asked me at the start of my career about entering the Hall of Fame, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s an amazing honour.”
Shearer and Henry featured in a special television programme on Monday evening, which was broadcast on Sky Sports Premier League in the UK, Premier League digital channels and around the world via the Premier League’s international broadcast partners.
Kelly Cates interviewed the two icons as they looked back on their Premier League careers, with some special guests also making an appearance.
A shortlist of 23 additional nominees eligible to join the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2021 was also announced during the show, with fans invited to cast their vote up until 18:00 BST on 9 May and help select the remaining six inductees to the 2021 Premier League Hall of Fame.
Voting will take place on the official Premier League website and app until 9 May, via the dedicated content hub at premierleague.com/hall-of-fame.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry are two world-class players who lit up the Premier League throughout their time in the competition. Both players were capable of scoring every kind of goal, including some of the best we have ever seen.
“Shearer’s record 260 Premier League goals puts him at the top of a long list of exceptional goalscorers. The fact that record remains unchallenged today, 15 years since his retirement, goes to show what an achievement it was.
“Henry broke individual and team records during eight seasons with Arsenal when he became a footballing icon.
"He was a talisman in the 'Invincibles' team and his four Premier League Golden Boots during a five-year period reflect the impact he had.”
Part 2: Shearer: I never thought I would be the record goalscorer
Part 3: Henry: I wanted to elevate the forward position
Part 4: Watch Hall of Fame show with Shearer and Henry at 18:00 BST
Part 5: Hall of Fame broadcast reveals nominees for 2021