- Sincere thanks to Simon Treanor for coming up with the apparatus to make all of this work – his series on Liverpool is well worth reading if you haven’t seen it
Having covered Sheffield Wednesday’s numbering in the 1993 domestic cup finals last week, we now look at the club that won both of those ties, Arsenal. The Gunners play a key role in the history of shirt numbers in England – in August 1928, they and Chelsea became the first clubs to utilise the system for league games (as luck would have it, Arsenal’s was against The Wednesday while Chelsea did so against Swansea Town).
It was therefore fitting that Arsenal should play a part in the emergence of squad numbers and, as we shall see in the third part of this mini-series, the club were also central to an examination into a return to 1-11 could be accommodated (spoiler alert: it couldn’t).
As mentioned last week, we would surmise that the fact that the same clubs were in the two finals was a factor in the decision to go with squad numbers, as Arsenal right-back Lee Dixon was suspended for the Coca-Cola decider but was still allocated number 2. Oddly, though, midfielder John Jensen also missed the League Cup final and, despite the fact that 7 was the only starting number he had worn all season – having also carried it in Denmark’s successful Euro 92 campaign – he was given 17. The number 7 shirt was worn by Kevin Campbell, who had worn 8, 9, 10 and 11 in the league but not 7.
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