Big Number 9 (shirt), who wants it?

Posted on March 7th, 2011 | 51 Comments |

Who's your favourite number 9?
Who's your favourite number 9?
There’s a gap in the numbers down SJP way and we all know why.

It’s the biggest number, if you think about it, every other number after it is a compound of it and another number.

Yes, you’ve guessed it: 9.

After the last player to don the shirt wandered off to the Merseyside in January, we’ve been looking for someone to fill the gap. Obviously, no one is neccessarily gonna have it handed to them at this point in the season. But who is in the running?

Will it be someone not at the club yet?   

Will one of the present strikers at the club step up and claim it?  Should the damn thing have been retired along with the legend that is Alan Shearer? Did he make the prospect of filling that shirt number almost untenable? After his amazing breaking of the all time scoring record at the club, why wouldn’t it be a difficult act to follow?

There’s a hell of a lot of history ingrained in not only the actual wearing  of the shirt by a regular human being, who plies their trade as a pro footballer. But also, in the sepia tinted memories and rose tinted dreams of Newcastle fans from time to this day. Are we piling way too much pressure on our number 9 shirt?  After all, some players have come here to play and almost actively refused the number (M. Owen?). Maybe feeling that they really can’t live up to it, or don’t wanna try or don’t want the hefty responsibility that comes with it. Whilst others have tried to grab the thing in a brave attempt to live up to the lofty position, we as fans, have placed upon it.

We all have our ‘all time’ favourite Newcastle number 9’s, Wee Hughie, Wor Jackie, SuperMac, Big Al, The Mighty Quinn, Sir Les, to name a few.

Let us know your favourite.

Do they all have warrior names? Probably?

Which just goes to show how hard it can be. Those players started somewhere though and built their reputation with the fans and their warrior name was bestowed upon them, forged during the heat of battle. They didn’t just walk into the job, you can’t do that.

Heroes are made over time.

Some have a predisposition, some have gradually carved their name into the history and folklore of the club and gained legendary status, rightfully. Others just plain couldn’t handle it and are forgotten, or worse, remembered for all the wrong reasons. 

There’s always gonna be discussion between fans about who was best, but one thing is for sure: You know when you’ve got a ‘Proper‘ legend in the ranks, because they will always put the ball in the net when the chips are down. Because of that, the fans will profess undying love, gratitude and respect.

They may even get a statue?

So, it’s a big shirt and a big ask. It swamps some players, while others seem to naturally gravitate to it.

Can anyone at the club already take the pressure and take over the mantle? Have they got the nerve, skill, drive, determination and sheer audacity to become the new NEWCASTLE NUMBER 9?

But more importantly:


Howay the Lads!

NUFCBlog Author: CLiNT FLiCK Cut me in half & it'll say Newcastle United F.C. just like a stick of Black 'n' White rock! CLiNT FLiCK has written 42 articles on this blog.

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51 Responses

  1. “Let us know your favourite.”

    Wee Hughie, Clint. Which is odd as I’ve only ever seen a few minutes of him playing in jerky black and white films!

  2. CLINT canny thread there mate,warms the blood,yes always liked wor no9,would put up with any number if they can get 20/25 goals a season.

    let the no9 come after that lol

  3. Or,
    does it mean what it used to?

    I’m guessing we still want that shirt to mean something ’round these here parts?


  4. My Favourite number nine? One you missed Clint and I will be forever disgusted at you for doing so. ;-)

    Who else? David Ned Kelly. Not the best, that was Shearer, but I’ve got a soft spot for Kelly. Did wonders for us and then was cast aside as soon as we were promoted to the PL (1st time obviously) because he wasn’t good enough. :-(

    I have a signed photo of Shearer on the wall, my B&W cat is called Shearer and I have a Shearer testimonial top, wait a minute………

  5. ice,
    so proof of purchase first, good plan mate.

    i think it has to be Wor Jackie for me, even though like you with Wee Hughie, i’ve barely seen him play, but i share a birthday with him. Lucky me.
    Though the stuff i’ve read about Wee Hughie makes me want it to be him.
    It’s a tough one though, ‘cos Shearer was excellent & Supermac was when i started as a kid.
    Sir Les is a true gent & Cole had an amazing goals to games ratio.
    Tough one.

  6. Alan Shearer the legend…for the leadership, passion, loyalty, goals, and for telling Alex Ferguson to take a hike…

  7. come on lads play the bloody game,clint shame on you,the last cup we won and in euro too the MIGHTY WYN

  8. Even during the fifties, when we had “wor Jackie”, people still talked about “wee hughie Gallagher” with awe !
    There was even at that time a chant or rhyme about him.
    In which case its close whether Jackie, Hughie or big Al.was the better player, certainly different eras and different styles, makes it difficult to judge.

  9. Don’t think Frank ever played number nine, although he was world class. Not sure what he was world class at mind.

  10. TROJAN 69 says:
    March 7, 2011 at 9:02 pm


    Only a matter of time before his name was mentioned. :-)

    Why do we still gan on about him?

  11. Like it says in the blog, some will be remembered for all the wrong reasons worky.

    The mighty Wyn was just before my time, so iwasn’t too sure.
    Sorry mate.

  12. worky, it’s to make sure it never happens again. If we forget about him there is a chance we may repeat the mistake. It’s like not banning Hitler from ever being mentioned again and trying to forget what he did. ;-)

  13. Can Best claim the shirt or is for someone not here yet?
    He’s probably the only one with a chance, yea?
    What about Ranger/airey, too young?

  14. one of the most complete and underated no9 i ever saw at sjp after wor jackie was len white until that spurs git done him,still hate spurs to this day over that :(

  15. chuck says:
    March 7, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    “Even during the fifties, when we had “wor Jackie”, people still talked about “wee hughie Gallagher” with awe !”


    From the little I’ve seen of those times, it seemed to me that George Robledo seemed more of the No.9 type we think of nowadays than Milburn, even though he wasn’t no9 and Milburn was. I may be wrong though and as you were there at the time, would you say I was right? Or wrong?

  16. I grew up in Yorkshire in the late 60’s/early 70’s. My dad took my brother and I to Leeds (in their hey day) against Newcastle. Leeds won 2-1, with Wyn Davies scoring for the Magpies. My brother took to Leeds, I took to the Toon in what has been a 40 year relationship. My first and only visit to St. James’ was in 1973 (?), Supermac’s first season and he scored a hatrick in a 3-2 win over Liverpool – the other star player being a young Kevin Keegan also in his first season. I ran onto the pitch as a young lad after Supermac scored his second only to find he lacked his front teeth! Anyway, for me, Supermac has to be my favourite no. 9. I have avidly supported the Toon ever since, regrettably from a great physical distance.

  17. Nice story Paul,
    Hooked in, well & truly mate.
    There’s no escape bud.
    Even in Hollywoodland.

  18. Paul in Hollywood says:
    March 7, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    “Anyway, for me, Supermac has to be my favourite no. 9. I have avidly supported the Toon ever since, regrettably from a great physical distance.”

    Good to see that you’re supporting The Magpies from over there, Paul in Hollywood.

    I started supporting properly as a child after I met SuperMac. My brother-in-law (at the time) was a hotel manager in Newgate Street, and Malcolm had his boutique in the arcade which belonged to the hotel, so he was in effect his “landlord”. Besides meeting “SuperMac” a few times, my biggest memory was how upset I was when my brother-in-law casually mentioned that “Malcolm” had offered him tickets for the 1974 Cup Final, and he said “no”!

  19. worky,
    that’s sad mate, although, he maybe saved you some trauma at the same time.

  20. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    March 7, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    that’s sad mate, although, he maybe saved you some trauma at the same time.”

    Keegan trauma. The little bubble permed get knacked us that day! :-)

  21. Aye mate,
    i remember it well.
    Black ‘n’ white everywhere that day.
    I hated him for that.

  22. Micky Quinn,
    one of the ones people didn’t suspect, but he came & scored a ton of goals & got the respect of the Toon fans.

    How did he do it?
    How does a bumble get off the ground?


  23. All my toon jerseys have had the number 9 on it. And ALL of it has only ever had one name….mine.

    Shearer was legend of course. And a few of the rest like you have mentioned. But the true measure of a number 9 can only be weighed after he has ended his career or left. At the present don’t think anyone really deserves it yet. Leave it vacant for next season. I think even if we get new good striker in we should wait n see for one season before giving him the number 9. Oh and one more thing….thank god Owen didnt take it.

  24. I believe that if Ranger can finally get off the mark and mature a little, i think that we could see him running around in the no.9 in a season or two???

  25. The number 9 at newcastle is going to be without a owner for seometime yet believe me. No one at the club is fit to wear it. Carroll could of made it great, but its going to be a while until an English player worthy of it wears 9 on his back for us. Depressing eh?

  26. In my time supporting the Toon there have been a few favourite number 9’s. Starting with Len White, then Wyn Davies, Supermac and of course Alan Shearer. I was just to young to remember Wor Jackie though I did meet him in person once and what a REAL gentleman he was. Andy Cole, Mickey Quinn & Les Ferdinand weren’t around long enough to qualify.

  27. Some may say that we put too much emphasis on this number nine shirt, as it’s only a shirt.
    However, I would disagree. There is far too much cynisism in football these days. It’s gone too far towards being a business.
    Watching football these days is as clincial and about as much fun as adding up a monthly balance sheet.
    There are no real characters in the game, just althetic robots who are told they have to win at all costs.

    The number nine shirt should be earned, the person who wears it should be an embassador for the club. Someone with passion for the shirt, the club, the region. Someone who we can all be proud of, without them being a role model for our children, as I don’t believe football players should be role models. By all means aspire to be the next Shearer, Rooney, Messi (listed in order of best player first :-) ) but they can’t be role models.

    We need personalities back in the game, like them or hate them we need the players who we love and who frustrate us in equal measure.

    Bottom line – we need more players like Tino and less like Torres ;-)


  29. AC got it way too early.We should be much more selective about who and when it’s awarded. Or maybe just retire it.

  30. micky @42 – nailed it. imo, there’s no one at the club showing anything deserving of having it. can someone we have develop and earn it? absolutely.
    nice bit of motivation for someone – to go down and be remembered in the same breath as milburn, hughie, al, and the others. not bad company at all.

  31. Give it to Leon Best!
    This fella sweats bolld for the shirt and will next year be one hell of a player.

    He will get 20 goals next season if he gets his chance!

  32. Hi WorkyTicket, I can well imagine your grief over that one. I, too, can remember that afternoon. A very, very painful memory. Let’s hope Mr. Pardew can get us back there, and win one for a change. Crikey, it’s been a long time.

  33. Thanks for your nice comment CLiNT FLiCK (28) though I see one has to be very careful when typing your name… Never noticed that til now.

  34. I recon that the person that should get the famous number nine should be either Besty and shola then the losser gets number 10.

  35. Paul in Hollywood,
    cool mate, thanx for sharing with us, that’s why we’re here & that was just the sort of response the post was designed to eke out of people, nice one.

    & yea, on the moniker, i think it’s funny & no one can touch ya’ for it.

  36. Doug says:
    March 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm
    Give it to Leon Best!
    This fella sweats bolld for the shirt and will next year be one hell of a player.

    He will get 20 goals next season if he gets his chance!

    doug wot drugs u been taken?