Dugout rivals become first managers inducted into Premier League Hall of Fame
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have become the first two football managers to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Former Manchester United boss Ferguson and ex-Arsenal coach Wenger are the two longest-serving managers in the Premier League area, with both leading their clubs for more than 20 years and over 800 top-flight games.
Ferguson’s 13 league titles also make him the most successful, while the attempts of Wenger’s Arsenal to topple United around the turn of the century created perhaps the most celebrated dugout rivalry in the competition’s history.
“I’m truly delighted to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. It’s an honour when you receive recognition like this,” said Ferguson, 81, who retired 10 years ago this summer.
“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 for the club, the staff and my players.
“My job was to send the fans home happy. United’s history and my own expectations were the things that drove me, and I then had to try and develop all my players with the same expectations and make sure we could go out and achieve them.”
While Wenger never matched Ferguson’s trophy tally, he became the first foreign manager to lift the Premier League title and achieved a first in 2004 when his Arsenal team completed the top-flight season without losing a game.
“I am very grateful to have been selected for the Premier League Hall of Fame,” said the Frenchman, now 73.
“We always wanted to give something special to the fans and when you have players capable of remarkable things, the most important thing for me is the obligation of perfection.
“I’d like to be known as someone who loved Arsenal, who respected the values of the club and left it in a position where it can grow and become even bigger.
First managers in Premier League Hall of Fame
“To share this with Sir Alex is a great honour for me. 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.”
Ferguson added: “I feel Arsene is a very worthy inductee as he transformed Arsenal fantastically. They became a tough team to compete with and we both wanted to win, which motivated us further.
“Through the years since retirement, we’d go for dinner together in a little restaurant he knows well in Switzerland. He is a really interesting man and I enjoy his company, but it is still my job to pick the wine!”
The Premier League Hall of Fame has inducted 16 former players since it launched in 2021, including David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Sergio Aguero.
A shortlist of 15 nominees to be the next inductees to the Hall of Fame will be announced tomorrow.