A brilliant XI of players who should be in a Championship Hall of Fame
The Premier League have recently launched a Hall of Fame, paying tribute to legendary figures like Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer.
But there’s more to English football than just the Premier League, which got us thinking of the best players to ever play in the Championship. Because we’re wankers, we’re taking that to mean since the division was rebranded in 2004.
With the help of Ben HD, we’ve compiled an Xl of players who deserve to be in a Championship Hall of Fame. With so many good players to choose from, this will definitely divide opinion, so tweet us your teams @planetfutebol.
GK: Paddy Kenny
There were a host of candidates for this role, including Julian Speroni, Kasper Schmeichel, Tom Heaton, John Ruddy and David Marshall to name just a few.
But Kenny produced some incredible performances under Neil Warnock in the Championship, helping both Sheffield United and QPR win promotion to the Premier League.
The goalkeeper also had a pretty eventful career on and off the pitch, and he told us all about it.
RB: Graham Alexander
Every team needs a penalty specialist and they don’t come much better than the former Preston and Burnley right-back.
CB: Curtis Davies
Davies has represented six different clubs in the Championship during his career and has always been a solid and reliable presence at the back.
The defender has twice been named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year and was part of the Hull City side that beat Sheffield Wednesday in the 2016 play-off final.
CB: Wes Morgan
Morgan came through the ranks at Nottingham Forest and made over 400 appearances for the club before joining local rivals Leicester City in January 2012.
The centre-back was soon appointed as club captain and led the Foxes to the Championship title in 2013-14, keeping 18 clean sheets in 45 league appearances.
We can’t quite remember what happened next…
LB: George Friend
A promotion winner with Middlesbrough, and a very handsome man. What more do you want?
RW: Pablo Hernandez
While we haven’t ignored the merits of Anthony Knockaert, Wilfried Zaha and Championship stalwart Albert Adomah,
our Leeds-supporting editor forced us to include we couldn’t leave Hernandez out of this team.
The Spain international has been a cult hero at Elland Road since arriving in 2016, delighting fans with regular moments of magic.
Despite being in the twilight of his career, he registered 34 goals and 37 assists in his four Championship seasons with Leeds, more than any other play in the division over the same period.
Start your day right by watching Pablo Hernandez bang one in against West Brom after 16 seconds.
— Planet Football (@planetfutebol) September 30, 2020
CM: Ruben Neves
Having played Champions League football with Porto, Neves arrived at Wolves in the summer of 2017 with some serious pedigree.
The midfielder justified the hype and took the Championship by storm, helping Nuno Espirito Santo’s side win promotion to the Premier League as champions.
Even if you ignore all of his impressive performances, that goal against Derby County is still enough to warrant his place in the team.
Revealing the Wolves goal of the decade, as voted for by the fans…
(Try to act surprised) 🥁
It's Ruben Neves 🆚 Derby County!
— Wolves (@Wolves) December 31, 2019
CM: Peter Whittingham
After starting his career at Aston Villa, Whittingham joined Cardiff City for a reported fee of £350,000 in 2007 and that proved to be an absolute bargain.
Blessed with a wand of a left foot, he became a set-piece specialist and scored numerous spectacular long-range goals during his 10-and-a-half years with the Bluebirds.
The midfielder was also named in the PFA’s Championship Team of the Year on three occasions, including in their title-winning campaign in 2012-13. The tragedy of his death at the age of just 35 in 2020 was felt across the division.
LW: Adel Taarabt
It’s almost impossible to talk about the Championship without referencing Taarabt’s incredible performances for QPR in 2010-11.
As well as registering 19 goals and 21 assists in 44 league appearances, the enigmatic playmaker regularly toyed with his opponents and was an utter joy to watch.
“He was the best player I played with,” Paddy Kenny told us. “He was an unbelievable player. It was hard as a team-mate because sometimes he wouldn’t come into training or he couldn’t be arsed.
“It was difficult at times, but we knew we had to put up with it because he was going to be the difference between us getting promoted or not. When he was at it, he was unplayable.”
ST: Ross McCormack
Despite once thinking that a faulty electric gate was a reasonable excuse for missing training, McCormack still enjoyed a brilliant career in the Championship.
The prolific striker scored 17 or more goals in a Championship campaign on five separate occasions, including 66 league goals in the space of three seasons between 2013 and 2016.
He may never have won promotion to the Premier League but his goals almost single-handedly saved both Leeds and Fulham from relegation to League One.
McCormack is also the only player on this list brave enough to publicly tell Neil Warnock to “f*ck off”. Fair play.
ST: Billy Sharp
Sharp has been a proven Championship scorer throughout his career, netting an impressive 114 goals in 322 appearances in the competition.
Despite playing a key role in Southampton’s promotion to the Premier League in 2011-12, he remained in the second tier and was sent out on loan to Nottingham Forest, Reading and Doncaster Rovers.
After joining Sheffield United for a third spell in 2015, the striker then fired his boyhood club back to the top division four years later.
“I think he was born in the six-yard box, he was always in the right place at the right time, scoring all sorts of goals, scruffy goals, spectacular goals, headers, penalties, he had the lot,” Richard Stearman told Leicester City’s official website in 2020.
“He’s probably one of the most naturally gifted goalscorers that I’ve played with or come across. That season [2018-19] just showed off what he was about and the amount of goals reflected that.”
Substitutes: Kasper Schmeichel, Kieran Trippier, Sol Bamba, Anthony Knockaert, Wes Hoolahan, David Nugent, Jordan Rhodes.