Football League 100 Legends

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The Football League 100 Legends is a list of 100 great association football players who played part or all of their professional career in English Football League and Premier League football.[1] The players were selected in 1998 by a panel of journalists, including veteran reporter Bryon Butler, and the list was intended to reflect the League's history by including players from throughout the preceding 99 seasons. The Football League also announced plans for a gala dinner later in the season at which surviving legends would receive a specially commissioned award.

The list includes 34 players who began their playing careers before the Second World War, 37 who began their careers between the end of the war and 1980, and 29 whose professional careers began after that date. At the time of the list's publication, six of the legends were still active, all playing in the Premier League. The last of the players to play professionally was Ryan Giggs, who retired at the end of the 2013–14 season. All 100 of the legends played in The Football League with the exception of Dennis Bergkamp, who did not begin playing in England until after the Premier League replaced the Football League as the highest level of the English football league system in 1992.

At the time of its announcement, the Football League chief executive Richard Scudamore stated that the list was "almost impossible to better";[1] however, contributors to the BBC News website thought differently, providing many alternative suggestions.[2][a]


A statue of Steve Bloomer, who was honoured for his career with Derby County and Middlesbrough before the First World War
A statue of Wilf Mannion, whose career spanned either side of the Second World War
A statue of Duncan Edwards, who died at the age of 21 in the Munich air disaster
Name[3][4] Football League/Premier League club(s) Career
England Billy Bassett West Bromwich Albion 1888–1899
Scotland Archie Hunter Aston Villa 1888–1890
England John Goodall Preston North End, Derby County, New Brighton Tower, Glossop North End 1888–1904
England Steve Bloomer Derby County, Middlesbrough 1892–1915
Wales Billy Meredith Northwich Victoria, Manchester City, Manchester United 1893–1925
England Bob Crompton Blackburn Rovers 1896–1921
England William Foulke Sheffield United, Chelsea, Bradford City 1894–1908
England Alf Common Sunderland, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, Arsenal, Preston North End 1900–1915
England Sam Hardy Chesterfield, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest 1902–1926
Northern Ireland Bill McCracken Newcastle United 1904–1924
England Viv Woodward Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea 1908–1915
England Clem Stephenson Aston Villa, Huddersfield Town 1910–1930
England Charles Buchan Sunderland, Arsenal 1910–1929
Northern Ireland Elisha Scott Liverpool 1912–1934
England David Jack Plymouth Argyle, Bolton Wanderers, Arsenal 1919–1935
England Dixie Dean Tranmere Rovers, Everton, Notts County 1923–1939
England George Camsell Durham City, Middlesbrough 1924–1939
Scotland Hughie Gallacher Newcastle United, Chelsea, Derby County, Notts County, Grimsby Town, Gateshead 1925–1939
England Harry Hibbs Birmingham 1925–1939
Scotland Alex James Preston North End, Arsenal 1925–1938
England Eddie Hapgood Arsenal 1927–1939
England Cliff Bastin Exeter City, Arsenal 1927–1948
England Wilf Copping Leeds United, Arsenal 1930–1939
England Stanley Matthews Stoke City, Blackpool 1931–1966
England Ted Drake Southampton, Arsenal 1931–1939
England Joe Mercer Everton, Arsenal 1932–1954
England Raich Carter Sunderland, Derby County, Hull City 1932–1953
Northern Ireland Peter Doherty Blackpool, Manchester City, Derby County, Huddersfield Town, Doncaster Rovers 1933–1954
England Frank Swift Manchester City 1933–1951
England Tommy Lawton Burnley, Everton, Chelsea, Notts County, Brentford, Arsenal 1935–1957
England Wilf Mannion Middlesbrough, Hull City 1936–1956
England George Hardwick Middlesbrough, Oldham Athletic 1937–1956
Republic of Ireland Johnny Carey Manchester United 1937–1954
England Stan Mortensen Blackpool, Hull City, Southport 1938–1958
England Neil Franklin Stoke City, Hull City, Crewe Alexandra, Stockport County 1946–1958
Wales Trevor Ford Swansea City, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Cardiff City, Newport County 1946–1961
England Nat Lofthouse Bolton Wanderers 1946–1961
England Tom Finney Preston North End 1946–1960
England Alf Ramsey Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur 1946–1955
England Len Shackleton Bradford (Park Avenue), Newcastle United, Sunderland 1946–1958
England Jimmy Dickinson Portsmouth 1946–1965
England Arthur Rowley West Bromwich Albion, Fulham, Leicester City, Shrewsbury Town 1946–1965
Scotland Billy Liddell Liverpool 1946–1961
England Billy Wright Wolverhampton Wanderers 1946–1959
England Jackie Milburn Newcastle United 1946–1957
Wales John Charles Leeds United, Cardiff City 1948–1966
Wales Ivor Allchurch Swansea Town, Cardiff City, Newcastle United 1948–1968
Northern Ireland Danny Blanchflower Barnsley, Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur 1948–1964
Germany Bert Trautmann Manchester City 1949–1964
Northern Ireland Jimmy McIlroy Burnley, Stoke City, Oldham Athletic 1950–1968
England Tommy Taylor Barnsley, Manchester United 1950–1958
Wales Cliff Jones Swansea Town, Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham 1952–1970
England Johnny Haynes Fulham 1952–1970
England Duncan Edwards Manchester United 1953–1958
England Jimmy Armfield Blackpool 1954–1971
England Terry Paine Southampton, Hereford United 1956–1977
England Bobby Charlton Manchester United, Preston North End 1956–1975
England Jimmy Greaves Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United 1957–1971
Scotland Denis Law Huddersfield Town, Manchester City, Manchester United 1956–1974
England Gordon Banks Chesterfield, Leicester City, Stoke City 1958–1973
Scotland Dave Mackay Tottenham Hotspur, Derby County, Swindon Town 1958–1972
England Bobby Moore West Ham United, Fulham 1958–1977
England Alan Mullery Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur 1958–1976
England Geoff Hurst West Ham United, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion 1959–1976
England Nobby Stiles Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Preston North End 1959–1974
Republic of Ireland Johnny Giles Manchester United, Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion 1959–1977
Scotland Billy Bremner Leeds United, Hull City, Doncaster Rovers 1959–1982
Scotland Frank McLintock Leicester City, Arsenal, Queens Park Rangers 1959–1977
Scotland Alex Young Everton, Stockport County 1960–1969
England Martin Peters West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City, Sheffield United 1960–1981
England Tommy Smith Liverpool, Swansea City 1962–1979
England Norman Hunter Leeds United, Bristol City, Barnsley 1962–1983
Northern Ireland Pat Jennings Watford, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal 1962–1985
England Alan Ball Blackpool, Everton, Arsenal, Southampton, Bristol Rovers 1962–1984
England Colin Bell Bury, Manchester City 1963–1979
Northern Ireland George Best Manchester United, Stockport County, Fulham, AFC Bournemouth 1963–1983
England Peter Shilton Leicester City, Stoke City, Nottingham Forest, Southampton, Derby County, Plymouth Argyle, Bolton Wanderers, West Ham United, Leyton Orient 1965–1997
England Ray Clemence Scunthorpe United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur 1965–1988
England Malcolm Macdonald Fulham, Luton Town, Newcastle United, Arsenal 1968–1979
England Kevin Keegan Scunthorpe United, Liverpool, Southampton, Newcastle United 1968–1984
England Trevor Francis Birmingham City, Nottingham Forest, Manchester City, Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield Wednesday 1970–1995
Scotland Graeme Souness Middlesbrough, Liverpool 1972–1984
Republic of Ireland Liam Brady Arsenal, West Ham United 1973–1990
England Glenn Hoddle Tottenham Hotspur, Swindon Town, Chelsea 1974–1996
England Bryan Robson West Bromwich Albion, Manchester United, Middlesbrough 1974–1997
Scotland Alan Hansen Liverpool 1977–1990
Scotland Kenny Dalglish Liverpool 1977–1990
England Gary Lineker Leicester City, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur 1978–1993
Wales Ian Rush Chester City, Liverpool, Leeds United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Wrexham 1978–1999
Argentina Ossie Ardiles Tottenham Hotspur, Blackburn Rovers, Queens Park Rangers, Swindon Town 1978–1990
Wales Neville Southall Bury, Everton, Port Vale, Southend United, Stoke City, Torquay United, Bradford City 1980–2000
Republic of Ireland Paul McGrath Manchester United, Aston Villa, Derby County, Sheffield United 1981–1998
England John Barnes Watford, Liverpool, Newcastle United, Charlton Athletic 1981–1999
England Tony Adams Arsenal 1983–2002
England Paul Gascoigne Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough, Everton, Burnley, Boston United 1985–2004
England Alan Shearer Southampton, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United 1987–2006
Wales Ryan Giggs Manchester United 1990–2014
France Eric Cantona Leeds United, Manchester United 1991–1997
Denmark Peter Schmeichel Manchester United, Aston Villa, Manchester City 1991–2003
Netherlands Dennis Bergkamp Arsenal 1995–2006


  1. ^ a b "Football legends unveiled". BBC. 4 August 1998. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Football Legends: What you think". BBC. 4 August 1998. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Football Legends list in full". BBC Sport. 5 August 1998. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  4. ^ "THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE 100 LEGENDS". Archived from the original on 19 March 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2016.