There I was watching the Reading vs. Tottenham game this weekend when the announcement over the tannoy announced Clint Dempsey was wearing the number two shirt. My jaw hit the floor then did that roll-up blind thing like something out of a Tom and Jerry cartoon.
Why is Clint Dempsey wearing number two?
I shouted inside my own brain…
‘’That’s the right-backs number.’’
Apparently it is something to do with his original ‘soccer jersey’ back in the States but as far as my research can deduce the number 9 shirt is available at Spurs; couldn’t he have just taken that, for my own sanity at least.
But who else has shown such disregard for the way squad numbers have traditionally been delegated in the past…
Arouna Kone - 2
Another forward wearing number two; Arouna has traditionally always worn the number two shirt when available including during a turnaround loan spell at Levante last season.
William Gallas - 10
A defender… wearing number 10, the great Dennis Bergkamp’s number, a symbol for flair and flamboyant, tantalising football; William Gallas now plays with Clint Dempsey wearing a suitably irritating number 13, traditionally allocated in the UK to the substitute keeper.
Khalid Boulharouz - 9
Khalid Boulharouz, the defensive utility man wore the number nine shirt during his time at Chelsea. I need say no more.
Nicklas Bendtner - 52
Bendtner changed from the number 26 to 52 at the start of the 2009-10 season to bring him good luck as it was a ‘deeply personal’ number to the Dane. He obviously feels the change has not worked out as he currently wears the number 17 at Juventus.
Diego Forlan - 5
Traditionally a more defensive number Diego Forlan wore the shirt during his time at Villarreal; and it brought great success as he thundered in the goals.
Pantelis Kafes - 1
As a former goalkeeper witnessing the Greek centre midfielder wearing the number one jersey incensed me more than I thought possible. Just … no!
Hicham Zerouali - 0
He became a fans favourite at Pittodrie during his spell at Aberdeen and his nickname ‘zero’ saw him (admittedly quite cooly) wear 0 on his back during his time in Scotland. Unfortunately he was tragically killed in a car crash in 2004 aged just 27.
Vitor Baia - 99
Ever heard of Arithmophobia? It is essentially the fear of numbers and arithmetic and unfortunately for Vitor Baia, the long serving goalkeeper for Portugal and FC Porto he developed a fear of the number one. To really stick it to the number he chose the number 99 throughout his career, the furthest he could possibly get away in accordance with FIFA rules. Yeah, that’ll show that pesky number one.
Bixente Lizarazu - 69
He was born in 1969, weighs 69kg and stands at 1.69 metres tall and that is the only reason the Frenchman wore the number 69 during his illustrious career.
Ivan Zamorano - 1+8
Zamorano couldn’t have the number nine at Inter Milan after Ronaldo’s arrival so just decided to add one and eight together wearing 1+8. Milan seems to be the holy-land for bizarre squad numbers with players from Inter and AC in on the act. With Ricardo Quaresma’s 77, Mohamed Kallon’s 3, Mario Yepes’s 76 Mathieu Flamini’s 84, Ronaldinho’s 80, El Shaarawy’s 92 and Ronaldo’s 99 amongst many.
Can you think of any bizarre squad numbers that I have missed?
image: © NathanF