Friday, August 04, 2006

Squad numbers

Squad numbers and the associated player names on the back of their shirts has undoubtedly been a good thing for football in my opinion. For the recreational fan it is so much easier to follow what is happening in a match and to understand who is who. For the more fanatical fan I don't suppose it makes much difference, but for our clubs it means more money from merchandising.

What bugs me though is how 'out of date' squad numbers become. It's fair enough that when a youngster like Ledley King breaks through into the first team he's given a high number (26), but by the time he's established as club captain and one of our best players you'd probably expect him to be wearing the number six shirt.

Similarly, to appeal to a new signing's ego, Jol may have to promise them a first eleven number, but if the players position and number does not match up with tradition then it just looks out of place in my mind. Paul Stalteri wearing number seven, Teemu Tainio wearing number six? No.

Now I know that fans don't want to buy a new shirt every season just because their favourite player has changed number, but my theory is simple. All clubs should have to guarantee that they won't bring out a new kit more than once every two years. Then, whenever they change their kit they are entitled to make as many changes to squad numbers as they like. Fans would then have the same pre World Cup excitement, when the manager announces the squad numbers for the forthcoming competition. Fans get to see who the manager sees as his first eleven.

If it was down to me, my first eleven numbers would be as follows:
   1. Robbo
   2. Left blank for now... waiting for a certain Frenchman from Wigan
   3. Young-Pyo
   4. Zokora
   5. Dawson
   6. Ledley
   7. Lennon
   8. Jenas
   9. Berbatov
   10. Keane
   11. Left blank for now... waiting for Jol to solve our left sided crisis

No comments: