It took a couple tries, but the greatest Premier League goalkeeper of all time is now in the league’s Hall of Fame. Petr Čech is one of the three inductees this year, as voted on by the public. Center backs Rio Ferdinand and Tony Adams are the other two, while history-defining managers Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger were selected for inclusion by committee.
Čech, the all-time leader in Premier League clean sheets with 202, was eligible last year, too, but did not get enough votes. He’s the second goalkeeper in the Hall, joining Peter Schmeichel, who was part of that Class of 2022.
“When I was a child growing up in communist Czechoslovakia, playing in the Premier League was an unimaginable dream. When I look back to where I started, diving on rock solid pitches with stones like golf balls, it has been an amazing journey.
“I hope to be known as someone who showed effort, commitment, and consistency. Making a great save feels the same as scoring a goal and I’m proud of my clean sheet record, but I was even more happy when those clean sheets won matches and points for the team and contributed to titles!
“It’s an honour for me to be voted into the Hall of Fame in the best league in the world. That’s really a special recognition and leaves a legacy. I’m proud that fans voted for me and appreciated the way I performed over the years.”
Čech was recently bumped down to seventh on the all-time Chelsea appearances list (by César Azpilicueta) but his record of clean sheets and ratio of goals conceded are unlikely to be touched — especially over such a length period of absolute excellence. He conceded 393 goals in 494 career appearances, a ratio un-bettered by any goalkeeper in club history with more than 10 appearances to their name. (Édouard Mendy has had a good run, but has only kept that up for a fifth of the time.)
With Chelsea, Big Pete won the league four times, won the FA Cup four times, won the League Cup three times, and added a Champions League and Europa League trophy as well. He added on FA Cup with Arsenal, where he saw out the last few years of his legendary career.
Čech came back to Chelsea as an advisor a few years ago, and became an essential cog as the conduit between the front office and the football sides of the operation. He was part of the massive, hasty, and overreaching changes that occurred last summer in the wake of the ownership change.
Since leaving Chelsea, Čech has kept busy by strapping on some skates and goaltending pads and hitting the ice, and also by doing a bit of drumming as usual.