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The birth of squad numbers, part 2

The birth of squad numbers, part 2

Having already looked at the squad numbers used by Sheffield Wednesday in the 1993 Coca-Cola and FA Cup finals, now we will examine their opponents in both of those ties, Arsenal.

While Wednesday only used 12 different players in their starting sides across the three games, Arsenal had 14. All of the players numbered from 1-11 started for Wednesday – not all at the same time, though – but Arsenal’s number 4, Ian Selley, was only an unused sub in the Coca-Cola Cup and FA Cup final replay.

That Selley was even allocated a low number was strange as he only made nine appearances in 1992-93, wearing 4 on four occasions apart from the games where squad-numbering was in operation. One of those games was the home defeat against Aston Villa on Easter Monday, the last league match before the Coca-Cola final, but the line-up for that match wasn’t used as the basis for the final numbers.

Steve Morrow was 7 against Villa and 4 two days before against Ipswich Town but wore 15 for the game against Wednesday, despite starting. Kevin Campbell, 11 against Villa, was given 7 as Ray Parlour took 11 despite not wearing it in the league between January and May. John Jensen, who was 7 for much of the season, had to take 17 as a result and Paul Davis and David Hillier, the most common wearers of 4 in the league, were 14 and 18 respectively (Hillier wouldn’t see any Wembley action).

For the Coca-Cola Cup final, David O’Leary featured at right-back instead of the suspended Lee Dixon, his number 22 a suitable replacement. The other missing numbers were 4 and 9, worn by Alan Smith. Both he and Selley were the two subs.


Morrow ended up scoring the winner in a 2-1 win but was injured in post-match horseplay (non-Arsenal fans can insert another horse-like animal) with Tony Adams. For the FA Cup final, his place was taken by Jensen while Dixon was back for O’Leary but otherwise the side was unchanged.


That game was drawn after extra time and Smith, who had remained the first-choice partner for Ian Wright in the league, was named in the side for the replay as Parlour missed out, not even being named as a sub.


The squad list in full for the finals:

  1. David Seaman
  2. Lee Dixon
  3. Nigel Winterburn
  4. Ian Selley
  5. Andy Linighan
  6. Tony Adams
  7. Kevin Campbell
  8. Ian Wright
  9. Alan Smith
  10. Paul Merson
  11. Ray Parlour
  12. Steve Bould
  13. Paul Davis
  14. Steve Morrow
  15. Alan Miller
  16. John Jensen
  17. David Hillier
  18. Jimmy Carter
  19. Anders Limpar
  20. Colin Pates
  21. David O’Leary
  22. Mark Flatts
  23. Pål Lydersen
  24. Neil Heaney

For the 1993-94 season, Davis was in his more familiar 4 (Martin Keown, who had been cup-tied, was now 14) while Selley’s 22 reflected his lack of game-time. Despite playing 27 games in 93-94 compared to 22 in 1992-93, Parlour was given 23. He would be switched to 15 for 94-95 and kept that until he left the club in 2004. New signing Eddie McGoldrick was handed 11.

As with most other back-up goalkeepers, Alan Miller was given 13, leaving 16 free. That was earmarked for Roy Keane but despite a £4m bid Arsenal were never in the running for him and John Hartson eventually filled it in the spring of 1995. The only other nugget of info is that Mark Flatts, 23 for the finals, was 24 for 93-94, 25 in 94-95 and then back in 24 for 95-96, his final season.

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Steve Bruce's aversion to number 5


  1. […] Those games also saw squad numbering used by the two clubs. Whereas Arsenal had used a traditional style in the league, a blockier font was employed for the games at Wembley. […]

  2. […] an experiment in the 1993 Coca-Cola Cup and FA Cup finals – both conveniently featuring Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday – the decision was taken […]

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The birth of squad numbers, part 2