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Opinion: Why Goalkeepers Wear jersey No. 1

Arsenal coach Herbert Chapman began using numbers in his team, starting with number 1 for his goalkeeper, followed by numbers 2 and 3 for his fullbacks, numbers 4, 5, and 6 for his midfielders, numbers 7 and 11 for the wings, numbers 8 and 10 for the inside right and left, and number 9 for the center-forward or striker, among other numbers. He believed that by displaying the number, his players would be able to tell which of their teammates was in close proximity to them with a single glance. Despite the fact that the league did not agree with this. Despite this, it wasn't until 1939 that they eventually decreed that all jerseys will be numbered from 1 to 11. Once substitutes became permitted, they had a range of options ranging from 12 to upward (although many clubs avoided the number 13).

Chapman's numbering system was adopted, and goalkeepers were assigned the number 1 by tradition. Even in the 1980s, players were frequently assigned numbers on the day of the game based on the position in which they were scheduled to appear. There is no longer a specific number assigned for the goalkeeper in modern times. Although many teams and coaches have used number systems to refer to different positions on the field in the past, this is no longer the case. Though there is some variation in numbering schemes, the majority of them depict positions from back to front, which is why goalkeepers wear the number 1 jersey, with the numbers 2 and 5 typically representing the defensive line, 6, 8, and 10 typically representing midfielders, and the numbers 7, 9 and 11 typically representing forwards. It is used to describe players' positions on the field, and sometimes goalkeepers use it as their jersey numbers (although this is not required), and the numbers can alter depending on the formation in which a team is competing.

Another interesting aspect to know about this numbering system is that the 1 position is almost always the deepest line in the system, making it a near-universal constant. The goalie is represented by the number 1 in any formation numbering scheme. That particular jersey number is reserved for the goalkeeper on a regular basis. However, this is merely a matter of tradition, rather than something that has been codified or mandated.

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Arsenal Herbert Chapman


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