Come in number 9 your time is up

By Lee Ryder on Jul 16, 10 05:22 PM

It's a debate that won't go away but as talk grows on whether a new bearer of the number 9 shirt is about to emerge the question is just what does Chris Hughton do with the legendary black and white jersey.

Andy Carroll would probably take it, if offered but today has claimed that scoring goals is the most important thing to him next season.

Filling it with a new signing would also be a popular option to many Toon fans yet with funds supposedly limited at St James' Park, the question of finding a big name signing with the town halls to grace it may well be a hurdle for Hughton.

No matter who gets it, it could turn out to be a burden or it could turn you into an absolute superstar.

Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand and Oba Martins are the only players to wear it during the Premier League years for Newcastle and since Martins - by far the worst of the foursome listed above to don it - the shirt has disappeared.

Before those we had number 9s such as Wor Jackie, Supermac, Mick Quinn and even Mirandinha.

Last summer, I perhaps naively asked Carroll if he wanted it with Newcastle in the Championship.

His answer was a mature one, responding: "I don't decide things like that."

A fair answer, after all, he had only scored three goals for Newcastle at the time.

In the end he was handed number 24.

It later emerged that Hughton had deliberately withdrawn the number for the season with Newcastle trying to avoid any hype or sideshows on what was already a testing stay in the second tier with every man and his dog queuing up to take pops at the Magpies.

But what now, is 19 goals last season in the Championship enough to warrant Carroll the shirt?

Or are we making too much fuss about it all?

Certainly from a marketing point of view it makes sense to have an established number 9 at Newcastle.

Or if superstition is anything to go by perhaps we should just leave it and concentrate on winning matches and staying up.

The more controversial thing to do would be retire the shirt, however, the time to do that should surely have been when all time record scorer Shearer hung up his boots.

In doing so you would abolish the dreams of millions who yearn to be United's next number 9.

Giving it to Carroll could place too much expectation on his shoulders with the youngster still at developmental age.

That said, Hughton has already stated he thinks Carroll could handle it which may be the largest indication that a new number 9 is about to be born.

It's just one of the tasks for Hughton to decide this summer.



Rob Dowling said:

give carroll 19 this season to represent a step in the right direction, also the number of goals he scored last season. then if he proves himself, as i hope he will, this season then he could be given the HONOUR of wearing 9 next season.

Jackie W said:

James Beattie no 9 ?

Restless Native said:

Where did my post go?

DormAnt said:

So what's in a number? Apart from myth, legend, adulation, honour, a pedestal, super-stardom and a place in Geordie history assured.

I don't know what the fuss is all about.

Alex Moore said:

Agree, give carroll 19 (or any number really) and say 'do the business this season (on and off the pitch) then nine's yours' gives him something to work towards cos being a local lad he wants that nine shirt

Oliver said:

Is this what passes for journalism these days? Shut the internet down and let's get back to having proper writers in our lives again.

Ryder's reply: I think you need lighten up, the number 9 debate actually interests thousands of people in Newcastle.

Terry Tibbs said:

It's only a bloody shirt, dear me we've had a hell of a lot more hump players wear the thing than decent ones!
If Carroll's our choice striker then just give him the No9, nevermind all this give him the 19 rubbish. What next give Krull No11 & say "if you do well you can have N01"?


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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