Clarets legend Jimmy McIlroy is one of nine former players who the National Football Museum have announced will receive one of the highest honours in football – an induction into the English Hall of Fame.
McIlroy joins Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, Liverpool and Manchester United star Michael Owen, former England captain Alan Shearer, Birmingham City striker Trevor Francis, Chelsea and Manchester United star Ray Wilkins, Matt Dimbylow (Captain of the England Cerebral Palsy team), women’s football pioneer Sylvia Gore MBE, and Scotland, Newcastle and Chelsea goalscoring phenomenon of the 1920s and 30s Hughie Gallacher, who will all be inducted into the Hall of Fame at a prestigious award ceremony in October.
McIlroy was delighted with the honour: “I am thrilled to be chosen by the illustrious selection panel; it is truly an honour to be joining the Hall of Fame.”
Two special awards will also be made – the first, to mark the 1914 WW1 centenary, will go to The Football Battalion, a group of professional footballers and fans who fought in the Battle of the Somme; the second will go to the 1880s squad known as the Preston North End Invincibles, who 125 years ago this month were the first team to win the world’s first Football League competition, remaining unbeaten all season.
They join a host of others inducted in previous years, including, Alan Ball, Peter Schmeichel, Gordon Banks, Cliff Bastin, Jimmy Greaves and Sir Tom Finney, whose achievements are already celebrated with a place on the honour roll.
Inductees have been chosen by a panel featuring some of the biggest names in football including, the Museum’s President Sir Bobby Charlton, Vice President Sir Alex Ferguson, Gordon Taylor and Mark Lawrenson. They must have finished their playing career or be aged over 30 and have played or managed in England for at least five years to qualify for Hall of Fame nomination.
The names were revealed at a launch drinks reception at the National Football Museum tonight.
National Football Museum Director Kevin Moore said: “We are delighted to be able to recognise the achievements of these legendary players in this way. We really hope they and their families can attend the induction dinner and we’d love to see fans come along too – it’s a rare chance to be close to some of the biggest players in football history. We’re also extremely grateful to the PFA and the FA for their continued support of the event.”
Gordon Tayor OBE, Chief Executive at the PFA said: “The PFA is proud to have been a supporter of the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame and contributor to the selection process since its inception in 2002. It is a key means by which we ensure that great players of the past are remembered.”
And Alex Horne, General Secretary of The Football Association added “The Football Association is delighted to be supporting the Football for All and Female Player categories at this year’s Hall of Fame Awards. It’s not only important we recognise the all-time greats of the game but also celebrate the diversity and accessibility of our national sport.”
The Hall of Fame dinner 2014 takes place on October 16th. Members of the public can buy tickets to attend the exclusive event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about ticket prices and sponsorship packages can be found online at www.nationalfootballmuseum.com