Jay, the resident blogger at Design Football, is a regular sparring partner of ours – there are times where we wonder if he’s our equivalent of Tyler Durden from Fight Club, if truth be told. He approached us about doing a guest blog related to numbers and we were happy to accommodate that. You can follow him on Twitter @jay29ers. Take it away, Jay:
Once a year, on average, the EuroMillions hits the news in a big way. The Europe-wide lottery can, on occasion, offer staggeringly large jackpots based on a system of repeatedly “rolling over” when no one’s ticket matches the draw numbers from the five main balls and the two “Lucky Stars”.
Those Lucky Stars are a curious feature. Until recently, I believed the balls were marked with numbers ranging between 1 and 14 inclusive, which would bring to mind the footballing traditions of a starting lineup and substitutes (including replacement goalkeeper). In fact, the range is 1-11, so it’s even more resonant.
So, with the EuroMillions jackpot having rolled over several times, and now at well over £100 million, I set myself a challenge. In the style of A Numbers Game, I decided that, firstly, the Lucky Stars chosen on a Lucky Dip (randomly generated) ticket would provide me with my two strikers/forwards in a 4-4-2, 3-5-2, 4-1-3-2 or similar formation, with the task set to place the remaining traditional first team numbers in positions, with accompanying justification. The only way I would be allowed to use a number greater than 11 would be if #1 was allocated to a forward in the initiation step: the goalkeeper could carry a higher squad number to avoid wearing a outfielder’s.
I accordingly bought myself a ticket – you really do have to be in it to win it – and checked my Lucky Stars. I’m not sure I thanked them, as I was provided with, naturally, #1, and more excitingly, #10.
First things first, #29 (my favourite squad number, much to Denis Hurley’s disbelief/chagrin) was allocated to the goalkeeper. I also elected to play a 4-4-1-1 formation, with #10 in the hole and #1 up top. If you’re reading this blog I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining the #10’s position, but Number 1 as the centre-forward, though seldom seen, seems to have a ring to it (the “main man”). Scottish striker Derek Riordan carrying “01” on his return to Hibernian, as his favoured #10 was taken, is probably the most notable example.
Of course, I would need to substitute out one of the 1-11 to allow the entry of #29. As you may have guessed, the number 9 fits the bill perfectly, as it allows all the other numbers to nicely slot into their generally recognised – in my corner of Europe – positions. So a back four of 2-5-6-3 and a midfield of 7-4-8-11 joins the forwards. Simples.
So to Friday’s draw, and, first things first, I GOT A LUCKY STAR! I’ll have to check on the implications of this, but #10 came through for me. The other “LS” was 8, so immediately, as a Liverpool fan, my mind is taken back the days of Heskey and Owen.
However, this also means that #9 has been shunted back. Into defence, perhaps, like Khalid Boulahrouz, but more likely as an attacking midfielder, such as Michael Laudrup or Paul Merson. In fact, the idea of playing the #9 “in the hole” allows a little fun with the formation, which I think should take the form of an attacking 4-1-3-2, with the standard back four of 2-5-6-3, a defensive midfielder of 4, and the more attack-minded trio of 7, 9 and 11 to supplement my Heskey and Owen. Using Liverpool as an example, could Paul Merson have slotted in nicely behind the strikers, had he been signed when resurgent at Aston Villa? And how would this have impacted on the development of Steven Gerrard?
Lots to think about. Have a go yourself this Tuesday. As you can see, there are literally MINUTES of fun to be had.