We put out the call on Twitter to see if anyone wanted to write a piece on re-numbering their club for the coming campaign:
Pre-season means number changes – would any readers like to submit articles for the site on how they’d like to re-order a team or teams?
— Squad Numbers Blog (@squadnos) July 18, 2018
Rich Ferraro, who is responsible for an excellent Nottingham Forest podcast, responded and the piece he wrote is below. Forest’s final game of 2017-18 was a 3-2 defeat at Bolton Wanderers, when they lined out like this:
Were Nottingham Forest responsible for silly squad numbers?
I blame Pierre van Hooijdonk.
The maverick Dutchman famously went on strike in the summer of 1998, saying that Nottingham Forest had broken their promises. What people remember is that he came back, and when he scored against Derby County, none of his team-mates celebrated with him.
What people don’t remember is that, with a gap to fill, Dave Bassett went out and signed Neil Shipperley for £1.5m, who took Pierre’s vacant number 9 shirt. The ego-centric forward then chose number 40 upon his return to the squad (despite the rest of the squad barely making it up to 30). Thus began the era of the silly squad number (see also: Ross McCormack and Wilfried Bony).
Forest have had a few interesting squad number moments since – the season under David Platt with no forwards in the 1-11 (seems symbolic somehow), and Riccy Scimeca playing at right-back wearing number 8. Under Sean O’Driscoll’s tenure, the Football League advised that Kieran Freeman, Ishmael Miller and Jamaal Lascelles that should change their squad numbers from 41, 43 and 44; they adopted 24, 25 and 16 respectively. Very sensible.
With the best part of a new team signing in January, and nine new arrivals so far this summer, there is bound to be some shuffling for the forthcoming season. Some of these could be quite simple – the retirement of Chris Cohen suggests that new skipper Ben Watson could easily move from 32 to 8.
Others might be more tricky, as they involve telling players that they are no longer first choice; it is clear that Michael Mancienne is being encouraged to move on, thus freeing up number 4 (likewise with Barrie Mckay and 10). However, Benny Osborn is still very much part of the first team picture, but may lose his number 11 shirt to one of our new Portuguese wonder-boys. If Osborn moves to number 3, it would suggest that he is now seen as more of a left-back (a position he filled manfully for the second half of last season), but this may make new-boy Jack Robinson a bit miffed.
In addition, does returning veteran Michael Dawson get his old number 5? If so, does that signify that his heir-apparent Joe Worrall may have to wait another year or two before he can get a 1-11 number? Tobias Figueiredo made a big impression at centre-half, and took the vacant number 3, but his Twitter handle suggests that he may like Mancienne’s number 4 shirt.
Here are my suggestions, based upon position and player preference (real or imagined); last season’s numbers are in brackets (from their old clubs, where applicable):
- Pantilimon (1)
- Byram (if he signs – 22 at West Ham)
- Robinson (18 at QPR)
- Figueiredo (3)
- Dawson (21 at Hull)
- Colback (18)
- Goncalves (84 at Benfica)
- Watson (32)
- Grabban (45 at Villa)
- Carvalho (90 at Benfica)
- Dias (28 at Fiorentina)
- Soudani (2 at Dinamo Zagreb!)
- Fox (13)
- Cash (14)
- Osborn (11)
- Worrall (42)
- Guedioura (5)
- Lolley (23)
- Brereton (17)
- Gabriel (no number)
- Murphy (9)
- Kapino (33)
- Fuentes (29)
- Yates (24 at Scunthorpe)
- Smith (43)
- Bridcutt (7)
- Darikwa (27)
- Lam (28)