As most of you know the number 9 at Newcastle United is more than just a number on the back of a jersey. The number carries with it the burden of the entire club, fans, and city. It is just one example of what sets Newcastle United apart from so many other clubs. It embodies the tradition and respect that the club has forged since they started putting numbers on the backs of players in 1939.
More recently, however, the number has been given to players that did not hold up their end of the bargain. Believe what you will, but when we were relegated Obafemi Martins, our fearless number 9 at the time, tucked his tail between his legs and left. And then we all know about our next number 9, Mr. Carroll. Whether you believe the club’s side of the story or Andy’s, we can all agree that our latest number 9 failed to deliver on its historical greatness.
So with the season almost upon us and with new faces already here [and hopefully more to come] the question that I’ve heard being asked is “who should wear the number 9?” In my honest opinion my answer is… NO ONE! This is not to say that I don’t believe in our players or that I don’t want the number 9 and all its glory being worn. It has to do with historic integrity. We need that piece of magic back at Newcastle. One season or 10 new players does not mean that the number 9 is up for grabs. It is something that must be earned. Now I know that we have players that can rise up and become worthy of it. But time must pass in order to see that.
Good old Chris Hughton put it best when he said, “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.”
Until someone earns it number 9 should not be used.
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