There has been mild consternation at the fact that Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Winks doesn’t wear number 40.
The young midfielder wore 29 last season as well as this, but in both campaigns 40 has been occupied by suitably-named goalkeeper Tom Glover. In 2014-15, 40 was empty but Winks was, even more frustratingly, 44.
There is another player who has worn 40 for pun-based reasons, though. When squad numbers were introduced in 1993-94, Julian Watts wore 24 for Sheffield Wednesday and he kept that until he left in 95-96. Then, at Leicester City in 96-97 and 97-98, he had number 4.
He was with Luton Town when squad numbers were made mandatory for Football League clubs in 1999 and it seems it was at this point that a lightbulb went off over his head (not even sorry) and he became 40 Watts (best available picture, sadly).
This was only for 1999-2000, though, as he switched to 5 for the next two seasons with Luton and then wore 2 when he moved to Australian side Northern Spirit.
While his surname means that any number technically works, it’s a disappointment that Robert Page wore 2, 4, 5, 6, 28, 29 and 32 but never – it would appear – 3.
Away from football, baseball does provide a couple of nice examples. In 1951, Johnny Neves of minor league side the Fargo-Moorhead Twins wore 7 but had it stitched on backwards to reflect his surname:
Carlos May of the Chicago White Sox was born on May 17 and so, having initially worn 29, transferred to 17, making him the only major-league player to have his birthday on his back.