I’ve decided to take some of the focus off the manager hunt, for now.
Actually, that’s not entirely true – I was working on this the day MK left the club, and it’s not really felt like a good time to put it out before now! Anyway – squad numbers have always fascinated me. I don’t know why, but the process of awarding a player a number between 1-11 always held significance. A player being named as your number nine, not just wearing nine, but being THE nine for a season, felt big.
I rarely pay attention to numbers after 1-11, but those shirts are big. They can be a statement of trust in a player, they can signify where a manager’s thoughts are before a season kicks off, or they can be a huge red herring.
I’ve been doing a bit of work on squad numbers, aided by the fine Nannasted bible (still available here if you’re stuck for Christmas gifts for the Imp in your life). I wondered what the best XI of players given 1-11 was and the worst. Those are to come, but for today, it’s the most popular.
The Imps introduced squad numbers in 1993/94, which was the first season we saw it from the FA. That was quickly abandoned by us, and not until 1999/00 did we have squad numbers again. They seem like such a recent thing, so it’s unusual to think GMVC stalwarts Paul Smith and David Clarke had squad numbers (2 and 3) for a season. The only player to span both 1993/94 and 1999/00 was, of course, Grant Brown, who wore 6 in the first season and 4 in his final two.
Over the years, we’ve had a few quirks – this season, we (currently) have no number nine, but in 2019/20, we didn’t have a number 2, with right-back Neal Eardley instead playing 23. Some players have had a 1-11 squad number and barely played – more on those in a later post.
However, some shirts have almost become synonymous with the player who wore them, but which player ‘owns’ which shirt? I’ve looked at each number in turn and put together the XI of players who owned each shirt for your enjoyment. It’s a good chance to get some of Bubs’ pictures out as well!
Without further ado, here is the Lincoln City 1-11 XI.