Shirt numbers and associated roles

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Haarlemammer
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Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by Haarlemammer » Wed May 25, 2022 2:40 pm

I regularly see comments about player in a traditional #8 or #10 role and I’m not clear on the poster’s view of what each entails and suspect that we as a forum might not have consensus either. Hence raising this topic…

My earliest recollections of shirt numbers came from the late 60’s in setting up the subbuteo pitch and looked something like:
1. Goalkeeper
2. Right back. 3. Left back
4. Right half 5. Centre half. 6. Left half
7. Right wing 8. Inside right. 9. Centre forward. 10. Inside left. 11. Left wing
A very conservative 2-3-5 formation… :shocker:
Hopefully this rings some bells with some of our older posters?

This seemed to migrate in the 70’s (as far as I remember) to something like
1. GK
2. RB 5. C. Back 6. C. Back 3. LB
7. RM 4. CM 8. CM. 11. LM
10. Striker 9 Striker
In a traditional 4-4-2 formation

Nowadays there is seemingly not much rhyme or reason behind any of the numbering.

Feel free to add your understanding of what role relates to which number and why. Should be an interesting debate….

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WebmasterFF
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by WebmasterFF » Wed May 25, 2022 2:49 pm

442

RB 2
LB 3
CB 5
CB 6
RM 7
LM 11
CM 4 (normally defensive)
CM 8 (normally attacking)
ST 9
ST 10

433 similar except the 8 is more defensive and 10 is in the hole behind the striker

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Danny's Dyer Acting
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by Danny's Dyer Acting » Wed May 25, 2022 3:13 pm

Haarlemammer wrote:
Wed May 25, 2022 2:40 pm
Feel free to add your understanding of what role relates to which number and why. Should be an interesting debate….
Between your first and second examples there's the W-M formation. That's how, when teams move to a more modern 4-4-2, you end up with some places traditionally having 4 as a midfielder and some having 6.

Image

Benaloon
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by Benaloon » Wed May 25, 2022 3:31 pm

I always saw 4 as the more defensive of a midfield pair (8 being the other), but seen a lot of people talk about that as the '6' role with 4 as a centre back. Don't like it.

Row X
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by Row X » Wed May 25, 2022 3:41 pm

Yes, 5 and 6 should be your CB's.

2 and 3 are your full backs.

4 is the CDM and 8 is his more advanced partner.

7 and 11 are your wingers

9 and 10 are your forwards.

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aboooooooooo
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by aboooooooooo » Wed May 25, 2022 4:11 pm

Row X wrote:
Wed May 25, 2022 3:41 pm
Yes, 5 and 6 should be your CB's.

2 and 3 are your full backs.

4 is the CDM and 8 is his more advanced partner.

7 and 11 are your wingers

9 and 10 are your forwards.
And they all should only be allowed to where black boots with a bit of white detail... Old football rocks.

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The Terminator
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by The Terminator » Wed May 25, 2022 4:13 pm

13. sub goalie

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WestHamLyallStyle
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by WestHamLyallStyle » Wed May 25, 2022 4:29 pm

Alan Devonshire wore no. 6 from the late 70s onwards and he was, as we all know, left wing.

Admittedly, he has worn 7 and 11 .

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Bond Holder 59
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by Bond Holder 59 » Thu May 26, 2022 5:55 pm

You knew where you were when number 9 and number 5 squared up to each other within first three minutes. The ref looked the other way so he didn’t have to get involved. Nobody mentioned VAR or replays or even cheating. 90 minutes (never any added time) of kicking lumps out of each other on a pitch that resembled the Somme and quick hand shake and jog back to the centre after a goal.

Ah, football. Remember it before those bast*£# at sky got involved?
🥸🦤🧑🏼‍🦼

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Up the Junction
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by Up the Junction » Thu May 26, 2022 7:40 pm

1. GK
2. RB
3. LB
4. CB
5. CB
6. CM
7. RM
8. CM
9. ST
10. ST
11. LM

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Barking Boy
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by Barking Boy » Thu May 26, 2022 8:58 pm

I always thought the No. 10 role was an attacking midfielder, aka Sir Trev and Manuel nowadays, not a Strikers role?

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Dan1326
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by Dan1326 » Thu May 26, 2022 9:51 pm

Up the Junction wrote:
Thu May 26, 2022 7:40 pm
1. GK ... 11. LM
Is the correct answer

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Crossd_Hammrs
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by Crossd_Hammrs » Fri May 27, 2022 3:12 am

Old football programmes often had a centre page spread of the teams in formation with jersey numbers.
I'm a few thousand miles from my programme collection but here is the first one I could find online, which illustrates the numbering system (basically each tier of players is numbered sequentially from right to left starting from the goal keeper:
Image

When Herbert Chapman moved the centre-half (number five) to sit between the two fullbacks, thus creating the WM formation the numbering convention became less logical. One would need to look at the Huddersfield and Arsenal teams of the 1920s to see if they renumbered sequentially or if the three fullbacks wore 2, 5, 3.
(It always annoys me when people (players, managers, pundits as well as fans) refer to central defenders as centre halves - centre half is centre midfield!)

And while I know Bobby Moore adorned #6 jersey in a back four, it seems strange to me that convention might take the 6 into the back line and leave 4 in the midfield. Did centre backs at other clubs wear 6 in a back four defence?

As for the forward positions, 8 and 10 were the inside forwards, and 9 was the centre forward. 7 and 11 were always the wide players, whether being outside forwards, wingers, or retracted as wide midfielders. Thus when two forwards were used it was the number 8 that was retracted to midfield and the number 10 that played alongside the centre forward, number 9.

By using the principle of sliding the positions back and forth in the diagram, (as with the wingers 7 & 11, centre half/back 5, and the number 10), a back four's central defenders should be 2 and 3 as they are the equivalent of the old fullbacks, and the wide defenders who often push on as wing-backs or more accurately wing half-backs (full back is another misnomer if they aren't staying back) should remain the same number as the old wing-half-backs, 4 and 6 - thus a back four would be numberered right to left: 4, 2, 3, 6.

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funky chicken
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by funky chicken » Fri May 27, 2022 4:57 am

I always thought we missed a trick not giving Alex Song the number 1 shirt.

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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by Crouchend_Hammer » Fri May 27, 2022 7:28 am

Up the Junction wrote:
Thu May 26, 2022 7:40 pm
1. GK ... 11. LM
Yep. I was was CB and always wanted the number 4 shirt

However, number 6 seems to be more favoured these days

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Kludgehammer
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by Kludgehammer » Fri May 27, 2022 7:36 am

WestHamLyallStyle wrote:
Wed May 25, 2022 4:29 pm
Alan Devonshire wore no. 6 from the late 70s onwards and he was, as we all know, left wing.

Admittedly, he has worn 7 and 11 .
And Bonzo mostly wore 4 when he played in the back four. We also had a fair number of number 8s as strikers as well, as Trev usually had 10

El brooko79
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by El brooko79 » Fri May 27, 2022 8:15 am

4 always meant the holding midfield for me. 5 and 6 the CBs.

Seems now a "6" is the holding midfield or pivot. Dont know when it changed but as usual I was late to the party.

YorksHammer
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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by YorksHammer » Fri May 27, 2022 9:48 am

Crossd_Hammrs wrote:
Fri May 27, 2022 3:12 am
Old football programmes often had a centre page spread of the teams in formation with jersey numbers.
I'm a few thousand miles from my programme collection but here is the first one I could find online, which illustrates the numbering system (basically each tier of players is numbered sequentially from right to left starting from the goal keeper...
The (excellent) Jonathan Wilson book 'Inverting The Pyramid' covers the evolution of tactics from the 'pyramid' (2-3-5) to a W-M and beyond. There's actually evidence that in the 1870s England and Scotland lined up against each other with a 2-2-6 and a 1-2-7 formation respectively - it shifted to a 2-3-5 over the next decade or so. The evolution and spread of the game to South America was what saw the birth of the W-W, with both Uruguay and Argentina deploying it in the 1930 World Cup final (a 2-3-2-3, I guess, is what you'd describe it as) where the back part of the team stayed the same but two of the attackers dropped deeper. Chapman then, like you said, dropped the centre-half in between the full-backs, which is why we use the terms centre-half and centre-back interchangeably now.

Basically it's because of the dropping back of first the 5, and subsequently I suppose the 4, that the centre backs have those numbers while full backs are 2 and 3. The concept of an '8' is then a deep-lying playmaker (having come out of the front line). A central striker is a 'number 9' because from left to right across the front of the pitch they were the middle number. And your wingers are 7 and 11 because they were always the widest players.

Strongly recommend a read of that book if you can find a copy and can deal with a bit of tactical nerdery. It's really good.

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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by mike1961 » Fri May 27, 2022 12:17 pm

funky chicken wrote:
Fri May 27, 2022 4:57 am
I always thought we missed a trick not giving Alex Song the number 1 shirt.
Or buying a player called Fortune ...

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Re: Shirt numbers and associated roles

Post by southbrishammer » Fri May 27, 2022 6:39 pm

YorksHammer wrote:
Fri May 27, 2022 9:48 am
The (excellent) Jonathan Wilson book 'Inverting The Pyramid' covers the evolution of tactics from the 'pyramid' (2-3-5) to a W-M and beyond.
Thanks for the recommendation, I've ordered a copy for £2 from a secondhand book website. I have always watched football in a very superficial way, and have never really understood, for example, the pros and cons of 3 or 4 at the back. Hopefully this will improve my understanding.

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