Numbers kicked up a storm but there are more of you out there

Pedro Mendes wore the number 30 shirt for Pompey   Picture: Allan Hutchings
Pedro Mendes wore the number 30 shirt for Pompey Picture: Allan Hutchings
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Regular readers of this column – I know you’re out there somewhere – may recall a recent topic I covered on these very pages.

It discussed the Pompey squad numbers for this season.

Those who read it will surely not need reminding of its content as it struck such a chord on a burning issue that affects football that I heard Sepp Blatter is planning to use it at the next Fifa meeting.

It explained how I had issues – not the first time that accusation has been levelled at me, by the way – about what number a player wears on their back.

It also revealed how I flouted my own strict rules on numbers relating to positions that a player should play, because I was too much of a superstitious weirdo to give up my favourite number 10 during my playing days.

Anyway, if you were unfortunate enough to miss this award-winning column (as voted for by me), your loss, I’m afraid.

Although, I’m sure you can order a back issue or find it in a dark and dusty corner of our website.

However, even though I knew it would touch a nerve of thousands, if not millions, even I could not have been prepared for the storm it would kick up.

Frankly, I was inundated on Twitter (@pn_steve_wilson, just in case you want to join the debate.)

I got at least five tweets.

I think I got two emails as well.

Now that was all the evidence I needed that this is something that had to be revisited.

Will Hucker (@willhuck) suggested it was ‘great to find another squad number geek’ and has drafted his own list prior to the official announcement.

Dave Hartley (@oaktowers) said it reminded him of meticulously choosing his squad numbers while playing the computer game Football Manager.

Thomas Hember (@ThomasHember) shared my views and recounted his disgust that Justin Edinburgh wore number 10 while Kevin Harper took number four way back in 2000.

Rob Shiers (@RobShiers) also likes to take notice of a player’s number but defended Pedro Mendes keeping faith with number 30 after I had the audacity to criticise the Portuguese maestro.

Pompey ISA (@markdewing08) harked back to the good old days when players simply wore one to 11 before squad numbers were introduced in the 1999-00 season.

Even a few visitors to our website joined the discussion.

Some were bemoaning Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan’s choice of wearing number three on the back of his shirt.

But special mention must go to Pompey season ticket holder Paul Fowling, who took the trouble to send an email and offer his agreement with my sentiments.

He blotted his copybook by explaining he could still remember the full list of inaugural squad numbers that were handed out to the Pompey squad back in 1999.

That out-geeked even me.

But he did also remind me that the great Svetoslav Todorov first wore number 43 when he signed for Pompey late in the 2001-02 season before switching to number nine.

If nothing else, it was nice to know I’m not alone with my tragic obsession with squad numbers.