Welcome to the first in a line of articles looking at the 'greatest' things in football; and rather than simply trudging through a list of the be
Welcome to the first in a line of articles looking at the 'greatest' things in football; and rather than simply trudging through a list of the best players in each position, I'll be using your suggestions to create a unique outlook on the beautiful game. Right, let's begin with the greatest English player of all time...
5.) Gordon Banks
Behind only the great Lev Yashin, Banks was perhaps the safest pair of hands to have ever played between the sticks. The Yorkshireman pips Peter Shilton to fifth spot, and to the title of the greatest English goalkeeper ever, too. Banks will perhaps always be remembered for his incredible save to deny Pele during the 1970 World Cup, although it is often forgotten that he was the man in goal during England's only victorious World Cup in 1966. Underrated? Probably. One of the game's greats? Definitely.
4.) Gary Lineker
An intriguing choice at number 4, but his goal-scoring record cannot be sniffed at. 243 goals in 466 appearances - or a over a goal every two games - is an impressive statistic, and 48 goals in 80 England caps shows he didn't just do it at club level, either. But what gets Lineker so high is his record at World Cups; his 10 goals show he did it at the very highest level, something Wayne Rooney is yet to have done. So often the man who delivered the goods when it mattered, Lineker is England's second all time leading goalscorer, just one behind comb-over king Bobby Charlton.
3.) Stanley Matthews
'The Wizard of the Dribble' - second only to Garrincha, in my book - was one of the most technically gifted wingers ever to play the game. An icon with a career spanning four decades, his remarkable fitness was celebrated alongside his wonderful mazing runs. Franz Beckenbauer noted the skill and speed Matthews possessed meant "almost no-one in the game could stop him". He is often compared with Tom Finney - who, in all fairness, was unlucky not to make this list - but Matthews was unique; he often wore shoes filled with lead so that on match day his feet felt lighter! The only slight gripe I would have is that he never really won much with neither club nor country; in fact, as good a player Matthews was, he only ever won a solitary FA Cup. Whilst this may seem petty, it's just enough to keep him away from the top two.
2.) Bobby Charlton
The term 'legend' is one thrown around an awful lot these days, but Sir Bobby undeniably befits this honour. One of the Busby Babes that survived the horrific Munich Air Disaster, Charlton soldiered on to earn 106 England caps, notching 49 goals in the process. England's all time leading goal-scorer - with many coming from midfield - Charlton won everything at United, being a consistent figure in the side throughout the 50s, 60s & 70s before moving to Preston North End. He was also, of course, the main man in England's 1966 World Cup campaign, scoring three goals overall. So, why not 1st? Well, it was a tough decision, but ultimately a West Ham legend prevailed...
1.) Bobby Moore
Beckenbauer, Baresi, Maldini, Moore. Undoubtedly one of the greatest defenders of all time, Bobby Moore captained England to victory in 1966. Whilst his list of honours may not be as illustrious as Charlton, his individual talent - in particular his impeccable reading of the game - outshone almost all to have ever played the game. The inscription upon his sculpture perhaps defines the man better than my words can; 'Immaculate footballer. Imperial defender. Immortal hero of 1966. First Englishman to raise the World Cup aloft. Favourite son of London's East End. Finest legend of West Ham United. National Treasure. Master of Wembley. Lord of the game. Captain extraordinary. Gentleman of all time.' Moore was the greatest; the understated, the leader. The best.
Feel free to leave a comment below. Should Scholes have sneaked in? What about Gazza & Shearer? All feedback is welcome and remember, keep the ideas for future articles coming!