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The next Newcastle number 9?

Posted on June 21st, 2011 | 35 Comments |

Who is worthy of the Newcastle number 9 shirt?
Tough acts to follow
On arrival at Newcastle United Demba Ba was handed the number 19 shirt, leaving the number 9 shirt vacant. Does this indicate that there are plans to recruit another striker to fill it or is the shirt going to be retired for a while?

The Newcastle United number 9 shirt is of course sacred. Leaving it unfilled for a while – after Obafemi Martins moved to Wolfsburg – was a deliberate ploy by former manager Chris Hughton who said:

It’s something I’ve done deliberately. We have a lot of strikers here and I’m quite sure that every single one of them would have wanted to wear the No 9 shirt. As soon as I came to this club I knew what it meant and it’s both my decision and a combination of a few things.

It can be a heavy number to carry, a burden, and wearing it is an achievement which I want somebody to grow into. I want somebody to earn the right to be Newcastle’s No 9. I don’t want to suggest that the strikers here aren’t worthy of it because each of them has a real strong value.

I don’t anticipate years going by without one, but I know what the number nine is and I don’t want it to be an issue. The only issue I want is the normal stuff of the team performing well or not performing well, winning games or not winning games, and that’s very much team based.

Andy Carroll got the shirt for the 2010/2011 season but then – either by choice or by force depending on which version of the story you favour – he helicoptered off to sign for Liverpool. Nile Ranger was once touted as a future number 9 but his chances seemed to disappear in a gun-toting, late-arriving, non-scoring flash and rumours suggest he is now transfer-listed.

Presumably Best, Lovenkrands and Shola are deemed unworthy and likewise for Demba Ba who was handed the number 19 on his arrival at the club.

Billy Cairns was the first person to wear our number 9 shirt after shirt numbers were formally adopted in 1939, although the ‘position’ was of course occupied by others before that. Perhaps most famously was Hughie Gallacher who played for us between 1925 and 1930. By a bizarre coincidence Hughie Gallacher was the first player to wear the number 9 against us whilst playing for Gateshead in a Jubilee Fund match.

From 1943–1957 the famous shirt was occupied by a certain John Edward Thompson ‘Jackie’ Milburn and then Milburn’s strike partner, Len White, had a good run with the shirt after Milburn left.

Fast-forwarding to an era I actually remember, Malcolm ‘Supermac’ MacDonald occupied the number 9 shirt in the early-mid 70’s, followed by the likes of Micky Burns, Peter Withe, Imre Varadi, Mirandinha, Micky Quinn and others to take us up to the Premier League era when the shirt was handed to Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand and then Alan Shearer.

There’s quite a tradition of great goal scorers to be followed there and the shirt is once again vacant.

So who is worthy of it? (and then get realistic!)

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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35 Responses

  1. Seydou Doumbia

    The kid is awesome, got it all
    Aerial, pace, 2 footed, scores for fun and is built like a brick crapper!!

    Would be well chuffed if we signed this kid from CSKA Moscow i think he is at!!

  2. i don’t see any one from our current team being worthy of the hallowed number.and even in world football,i find it surprising how few 30 goal a season strikers there are now.nowadays getting a 20 goal season haul is considered exceptional.makes you realise just how good shearer was to score 30 goals a season,3 seasons in a row.even andy cole for that matter,all strikers who scored a proper hatful of goals.
    but coming back to the present,i doubt there’s any striker within our reach financially who can score the goals expected of a toon number 9.who knows though,if ashley were willing to cough up a significant portion of the andy carroll money and delve into the transfer market to buy a big name striker instead of a whole bunch of french based or french origin midfielders, we could get a quality striker.
    we could look to some of the smaller leagues for such a player.maybe oscar cardozo of benfica or radamel falcao of porto.maybe moussa sow of lille or a barcelona fringe player like jeffren.
    who knows.i don’t.

  3. the number 9 shirt has had a lot thrown at it over the years

    IMO its something that has to be earned, not just given. Martins should never have worn it, he was a #10 at best

  4. Leave it for a while it needs a rest after being bastardised by Andy Carroll and the Board.

  5. Good points Arca.
    I was thinking as well the squad rotation systems that modern day teams use does hinder strikers getting 30 goals if they are always rotated.
    Just a thought.

  6. No one at the club is worthy of the shirt, and I cant see any of them stepping up to earn it.

    I think we need someone in who, as Pards says, “can grow into it”, that man, I think, is DANIEL STURRIDGE

  7. I think giving it to Ben Arfa when we have hardly seen him play is pretty stupid to be honest.
    Either it is earned over a season or we bring in a top proven prem striker and take a punt.

  8. I do like Sturridge.
    If he was on loan though and given the 9 shirt that would be pretty sad….a borrowed number 9….very Mike Ashley though!

  9. Two days in a row I find myself agreeing with SJT. I’m coming down with a cold, but I didn’t think I was also delarious with feaver. ;-)

    Sturridge should be our no.1 target for the summer. I’d prefer a straight out buy, but a loan with option to buy would be good too. Not sure why we’d just want him on loan for a season. He’s already shown he’s good enough, so lets see if we can get him outright.

    I don’t know why, but I’ve just got a sneaky feeling there will be a big money and by that I mean £10m+ signing coming this summer.

  10. Sturridge is the man, but buy him forget about loans. Bolton would be in pole position to get him on loan, he has already experienced a successful season there. Show your commitment to the club Ashley and bring in signings who will put bums on seats. The press are starting to take the p-ss now, saying Jonas is for sale. At this rate we are going to have to buy 11 players just to replace those who are supposedly leaving. I think not, it is just the press jumping on the toon bandwagon again and causing more ill feeling between the club and it`s supporters. Get off our backs and go back to reporting on Aston Villa and West Ham.

  11. Think 10m would rule out DS.
    We could buy 5 reserve players from Saint Etienne with that kind of money :lol:

  12. You lot are all assuming that just cos you throw a shitload of money at a super duper striker he will turn up with the goods. Anyone for Torres ????? Nothing more to be said really.

  13. Porciestreet – Not sure where you get that from. Anyone who has watched Sturridge last season would know he’s a good buy for us.
    As for your example, I think England’s Michael Owen would be a better example. Torres will come good at Chelsea. Remember the saying – “Form is temporary, class is permenent.”

  14. Torres will come good all strikers have a barron spell.
    New system,new team mates…..god help our starting 11 start of the season be like a buncha strangers if the rumours are to be believed.

  15. Get Peter Withe Back he will link up well with Ben Arfa
    He was my hero back in the day…i was with my uncle down the coast when i was a kid and Peter was with his missus pushing a pram I was star struck and bottled asking for his autograph.

  16. Check out the bukta kits!
    Remember getting mine from fenwicks long sleeve loved that kit and the old badge….the blue away bukta kit is sweet !

  17. sirjasontoon says:
    June 21, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    “Check out the bukta kits!
    Remember getting mine from fenwicks”

    Posh bastad! It was Stan Seymour’s Sports for Bukta tops in my day.

  18. I got stuff from there as well.
    They had the peter shilton sondico gloves had a few pairs of them :lol:

  19. Berbatov, help him fulfill his childhood dream.

    Incidently did I read somewhere that Park might be available, good double signing there.

    Shouldn’t be to expensive should it? ;)

  20. Grumpy Old-Toon says:
    June 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    “Incidently did I read somewhere that Park might be available, good double signing there.”

    That’s hard to beleive SJT. He’s a very underrated player, but not with old miseryguts at ManU.

  21. Went to that asshole Seymour’s place instead of Frank Brennans, for shame!
    Most people dont understand about shirt numbers, it was a case of who played in what position and each position had it’s set number from goalie “1” to outside left “11”
    Of course the goalie wore a numberless Ganzee.
    Actuall Jacky Millburn started out wearing the number 7 playing on the right wing, as did Vic Keeble and both were later converted to centre forwards.
    George Robledo, who played mostly wearing the no. 10 shirt as an inside left (but really in the second center forward role) there was no such designation(striker) at the time, he would play in the no. nine if Millburn was out.
    Stricly a case of you wore the number of whatever position you were pencilled in to play.

  22. Micky /SJT
    Your points are well taken though what I meant was that big bucks do not always guarentee loads-a-goals. Torres is obviously a class finisher but at the time , the equasion definately did not equate.

  23. As for who should wear the no. 9 ?
    It’s been said that if Chewsea get the young Brasilian, Neymar, then there will be an opportunity for some club to acquire Sturridge.
    IMO the kids designated to be a very good player, a lot depends on who he plays with and i think the kind of squad that’s being assembled at St. James, would be perfect for a player of his abilities.
    He certainly has pace and energy for running the channels and in tandem with Ba, they could terrorise defenses.
    The down side is that everyone knows this and if Chewsea were to let him go, there could be a bidding war and we know Ashley has his preferences for CHEAP.
    But the kid is a good player and can only improve, so there’s your “no 9”.

  24. chuck says:
    June 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    “Went to that asshole Seymour’s place instead of Frank Brennans, for shame!
    Most people dont understand about shirt numbers, it was a case of who played in what position and each position had it’s set number from goalie “1″ to outside left “11″

    I Presume you mean Seymour Junior rather than senior Chuck?

    Aye, of course you’re dead right there. I’ve never gone with all this ‘sacred’ No9 stuff, it’s just a phony legend which has been manufactured after the fact.

    Do you remember Arthur Bottom then? Grumpy mentioned him yesterday evening.

  25. A bit too much blind faith in the ‘messiah’ in regard to Sturridge for my liking.
    Aye, he scored a few last season in a second tier bolton team, but i wasn’t excited like some obviously were.
    £10-15m i guess we’d have a no. 9 then, & some would be happy, so it’s cheap to get fans onside.

  26. Got to admit, Clint, his stats aren’t great. 2010/2011 – 15 starts, 18 sub appearences and only 12 goals.

    His comments also indicate that he wants to stay at the blues.

  27. Damn, keep clicking submit before I’m finished. Brain is racing today.

    Anyway, after saying that I would still like to see him at NUFC. £10m rising to £15m on goals scored would be a good deal for us. :-)

  28. Workey
    Yeah , you know you hit the nail on the head there in regard to the no. 9 shirt.
    It’s become another urban legend around Newcastle, face it NUFC have had some decent center forwards, but so have other clubs and we have never cornered the market there.
    Jackie Millburn did’nt play much for England, only Cole and Shearer were first choice for that role.
    McDonald was exciting to watch , but never impressed the selectors much, nor did an KK. beyond his sell by date.
    Dont know how this reverence for the no 9 started, some even calling for it’s retirement, lotta bullshit IMO.

  29. Workey
    Arthur Bottom No!
    My earliest hero was Albert Stubbins, another case of the board selling there best player and breaking Geordie hearts.
    A great goalscorer, who ended up playing for Liverpool, for sensativity’s sake not gonna tell y’all who WE sold him TOO.

  30. chuck says:
    June 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    “It’s become another urban legend around Newcastle, face it NUFC have had some decent center forwards, but so have other clubs and we have never cornered the market there.
    Jackie Millburn did’nt play much for England, only Cole and Shearer were first choice for that role.
    McDonald was exciting to watch , but never impressed the selectors much, nor did an KK. beyond his sell by date.
    Dont know how this reverence for the no 9 started, some even calling for it’s retirement, lotta bullshit IMO.”

    Cole not so much either Chuck. He scored like Gerd Müller or Jimmy Greaves for NUFC and Man U, yet he was more like Nile Ranger in an England shirt. Hence, he only had around 15 England caps, which was similar to MacDonald’s and Milburn’s tallies.

  31. chuck says:
    June 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    “My earliest hero was Albert Stubbins”

    Aye, the Geordie Yank Chuck. Born in Waalsend but with transatlantic connections. He was also the only footballer on the cover of “Seargeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” due to his considerable acievements with Liverpool FC. Total goal machine who was easily up there with the likes of Milburn and Robledo.

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