Football is a game of numbers. Scorelines feature numbers, league tables feature numbers, Gareth Bale's bank balance features numbers (quite a few, actually). Perhaps the most important numbers, however, are those featured on the backs of the shirts worn by the players. Shirt numbers have been around since 1928 and though they've been somewhat crowded out by sponsor names, player names and all manner of other paraphernalia, they remain an important feature of any football shirt.
|The future might be bright, but it didn't feature shirt|
numbers on the front for Halifax Town
|Francis Lee adopts the gridiron look in November 1972.|
|Kenny Dalglish celebrates numbers on shorts during|
the 1973 Scottish Cup Final.
|Billy Bremner looks for someone to hug that also|
loves blue sock tags.
|Middlesbrough v Coventry 1974: Too clever by calf|
Though just as gimmicky, there's no denying that this was perhaps the most original slant on the 1970's obsession with finding a new way to display a player's number... even if it did require the socks to stay up throughout the entire match to fulfil their usefulness.
So what now for numbers? Will we see a revival to match that of four decades ago? Can we expect numbers to be displayed on wrist bands or tattooed into the foreheads of the players of the future? As the 1970's proved, anything's possible.