Friend of the site Jay from Design Football – the brains behind the excellent podcast of the same name – asked us an intriguing question recently: have there been instances, apart from testimonials, where two team-mates have worn the same number?
He suggested Peter Crouch for England against Uruguay in 2006, when he was officially number 21 but a printing error meant that, while the front of his shirt and his shorts reflected that, he had 12 on his back.
Unfortunately, the ‘real’ number 12 was Luke Young and he stayed on the bench for the duration.
The first example that came to our heads was the play-off for the final Euro 96 qualifying spot, when the Netherlands met the Republic of Ireland at Anfield, two Patrick Kluivert goals giving the Dutch victory and ultimately making it Jack Charlton’s last match in charge of Ireland.
Edgar Davids would come to prominence for his number choices later in his career, but back then he was firmly established as number 8 for Ajax and Holland (though it would be another year before squad numbers were brought in in the Eredivisie). Either it was the kitman’s error or he wasn’t paying attention in the dressing room and plucked the wrong shirt, but he ended up wearing a short-sleeved 6 in the first half, the same as the player who usually wore it, Ronald de Boer, who had opted for the warmer option (click for bigger versions).
Irish commentator George Hamilton was quick to spot the mistake, but it wasn’t until half-time that it was rectified, with Davids wearing the proper number 8 in the secondhalf.