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What’s Your Number?

evolution of a number

What is the evolution of the football shirt number?

Printed numbers on sports kits have long been associated with specific positions on the field of play, no matter the sport. However, the first recorded game where the players wore numbered jerseys was not until 1911 in Sydney, Australia.
The first time in the United Kingdom was in 1914 when a football team playing in the Football League wore football jerseys with embroidered numbers on their backs. The starting players were given a number between 1-11 depending on the position they played on the pitch. The number 1 historically goes to the goalkeeper, and the number 9 is given to the centre forward. Player’s football jerseys numbering became popular with spectators and assisted match commentators in the years ahead. Identifying the players on the pitch became easier and acknowledging who had scored a goal. Plus, identifying a player who had produced a clever piece of skill or had made a mistake became more manageable too. The 1950 FIFA World Cup was the first competition to see squad numbers used by teams, and by 1954 each squad member was assigned a specific number from 1-22.

However, as football formations were adapted by forwarding thinking coaches, new positions were identified, and players’ numbers changed. In 1993 the FA abandoned the mandatory use of numbers 1 to 11.

When was the last 1 to 11 in the Premier League?

Manchester United last fielded the traditional 1 to 11 in 2008 to remember the 1958 Munich air disaster respectively. However, West Bromwich Albion was the last Premier League team to field a starting 1 to 11 back in 2015 to pay their respects to Jeff Astle.

How do I get numbers on the back of my football shirt?

If you are looking to add printed numbers to the back of your jerseys or need numbers printed on the leg of the playing shorts, ADM can help. These days you can add a number to your sports attire online. At ADM, you can order your discounted football jerseys with customised numbers easily, using our customisation tool. We also have a new selection of letter fonts to choose from that are modern and taken from the professional game. 

Check out some of the football shirts available at ADM today.

football shirt numbers

What numbers go with what positions in sports?

In the modern game, squad numbers no longer correlate with playing positions.

In our next blog, we will explore some of the biggest sporting names for whom a particular number has become synonymous with their brand, or whose fame and following, affords them the choice of their favourite number.

do you want to try our online football kit builder?

Create your custom football kit with our online kit builder. Choose from some of the leading sports manufactures around today. Design your custom football kit or contact us for a tailored quote on football kits.

Check out our football kit builder today.

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