The National Football Museum have proudly announced that another nine football legends are to receive one of the highest honours in football – an induction into the English Hall of Fame.
Former England captain Alan Shearer and fellow former Three Lions Michael Owen, Trevor Francis and Ray ‘Butch’ Wilkins are all amongst the new names included, along with England Cerebral Palsy captain Matt Dimbylow and English women’s football pioneer Sylvia Gore MBE
They are joined by Arsenal, France and Manchester City legend Patrick Vieira, Northern Ireland and Burnley hero Jimmy McIlroy and former Scotland, Newcastle and Chelsea goalscorer Hughie Gallacher.
And they will all be inducted into the Hall of Fame at a prestigious award ceremony at the Museum in October.
Two special awards will also be made on the night, with the first marking the 1914 First World War centenary and going 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 were the first team to win the world’s first Football League competition 125 years ago this month, remaining unbeaten all season.
They join a host of other football legends 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.
Speaking about his induction, Shearer said: "It is a special honour to be recognised alongside so many greats of the game’s history. I am particularly pleased to be receiving my award in the same year as Newcastle legend Hughie Gallacher."
Wilkins added: "It’s an honour to be inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame and join the likes of Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Geoff Hurst.
And Owen claimed: "I am delighted to be selected to join the Hall of Fame. What a fantastic way to end my playing career. My whole family are very proud. It is great to be joining a list that includes so many of my heroes."
Gore, who scored the first ever goal for England Women in 1972, said: "I am delighted to be entered into the Hall of Fame. I am so excited and thank the panel for choosing me and in particular Sir Bobby Charlton. I'm honoured and look forward to the evening."
Dimbylow was also delighted with his induction, and commented: "This is such an honour. I thought that captaining my country was the ultimate personal achievement, but this surpasses it.
"Without the support of my family and friends this would not have been possible. I am extremely grateful to everyone who has helped me through my time in football."
The FA have been behind the induction of both Gore and Dimbylow and General Secretary Alex Horne 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 16 October and members of the public can buy tickets to attend the exclusive event by emailing email@example.com.