The birth of squad numbers in England, part 1
- Thanks to Tom Adams for his assistance
Today is the 30th anniversary of what we might term as the beginning of modern squad numbering in club football as Arsenal met Sheffield Wednesday in the Coca-Cola Cup final at Wembley. See here for the recent piece on Wednesday’s sponsor logos over this season and the campaigns preceding it.
There had been a few isolated incidents in the past – the 1974 Charity Shield and a couple of Inter-continental Cups, but this was the start of the path that led to implementation of permanent numbers in the Premier League the following season (with Football League clubs given the option to do so), while Germany, Italy and Spain followed suit in 1995-96 before they were introduced for European competitions in 1996-97.
While we don’t know for certain what the mechanics were behind the new initiative – pre-match coverage of the development was nil, while the match programme merely noted that “the squad system is in operation for today’s game and any replay”. However, we would imagine that the fact that the same teams had qualified for both domestic cup finals was a factor in the decision: for instance, Arsenal right-back Lee Dixon was assigned number 2 even though he was suspended for the Coca-Cola final.
We will focus on Arsenal – and their brief reversion to 1-11 – later this week, with this article looking at Wednesday, whose squad numbers are shown.
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Sheffield Wednesday 1993
- 1st change(s)
- 2nd change(s)
- 3rd change(s)
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