Welcome to A Numbers Game, a study, critique and lament of football shirt numbers. To set our stall out from the start, we favour an adherence to the traditional numbering systems, but, while the occasional quirk may be tolerated, the really ‘out there’ stuff is a big no-no. We’ll keep it simple to start with, reproducing the letter we have printed in the current issue of When Saturday Comes:
Upon his return to Chelsea, it was announced that Didier Drogba would wear number 15, as he did when he first signed in 2004.
Then, the day before the start of the season, the club revealed that Oscar had inherited Frank Lampard’s number 8, freeing up 11 – the number Drogba had switched to in 2006.
The collateral damage? Mohamed Salah had moved from 15 to 17 to initially accommodate Drogba but there was no reversion made for him and 15 now remains empty. Does Drogba feel guilty in the slightest?