I love the intrigue of football. Fans, naturally on the outside of things, scramble desperately for signs from within which they can interpret. Since squad numbers were introduced their release has always been a great source of speculation, and often with good reason.
We search for gaps in the starting eleven: is there no number nine? Then we’re looking to sign a striker!
Sometimes the message is clear: despite his ability, it took a while for Chris Maxwell to convince Dean Saunders to trust him from the start of a season, hence his wait for the number one jersey.
So when the numbers were released today, conspiracy theorists pounced to see what they meant. They meant nothing.
Where’s the fun in that? Quite simply, the gaps left by departed players have been filled by moving others up the order. There’s no spaces, no inviting place for a right back to fill, and it’s fair to say the first eleven names certainly don’t represent Andy Morrell’s first choice side. If he ever actually fields the following side from the start, then it’s fair to say that something will have gone wrong:
1. Joslain Mayebi
6. Joe Clarke 2. Stephen Wright 5. Mark Creighton 3. Neil Ashton
4. Kevin Thornton 8. Jay Harris 10. Brett Ormerod
7. Adrian Cieslewicz 9. Andy Bishop 11. Andy Morrell
That’s the closest I can get to a functioning side from the eleven names (and I’ve a real doubt about whether Joe Clarke’s often-mentioned ability to fill in at right back is anything more than an urban myth.) Feel free to let me know if you can work those players into something that looks more like an eleven we’d actually select, but please don’t think that means the squad numbers tell us anything!