Newcastle Number 9 Shirt Is Sacred

Nile Ranger has given a good interview to the Evening Chronicle today.

Nile Ranger – in action at Aston Villa

Nile has now been on Tyneside coming up to three years, and he knows full well about the Newcastle’s famous history  and that sacred number 9 shirt.

Ranger rightly shies away from any comparisons to the recently departed local lad Andy Carroll, who had the distinct privilege of wearing the famous number 9 shirt for half a season on Tyneside, before seeking richer pastures at Liverpool.

The England U-20 International talked about the number 9 shirt:

“The No 9 shirt is sacred, and I wouldn’t want to talk about it too much.” “Obviously it’s a target at the back of my mind, but it’s every striker’s dream to get it.”

“Alan Shearer and a whole load of other legends have worn it.” “But I am not even thinking about that at present.” “I’m just working hard and I am just establishing myself.”

“I wouldn’t dream of coming out and saying that.” I will just work hard and keep going. You just have to keep rattling away.”

Those are wise words from Ranger, because he’ll have to earn the right to wear that number 9 shirt.

And if Newcastle fail to bring in a top notch striker this summer – we hope they bring in a top striker of course – then the number 9 shirt should remain in cold storage.

We were told there were rumors in Shearer’s Bar yesterday that Newcastle were trying to do a deal for German International Mario Gómez.

That’s a great rumor but unlikely to be true.  25 year-old Gomez has scored 139 goals in 245 club appearances in the Bundesliga, but why would he leave perennial Champions League club Bayern Munich for Newcastle?

We always thought that  Oba Martins just wasn’t good enough to be given the number 9 shirt at Newcastle, and it should be kept for top goal scorers in the Hughie Gallagher, Jackie Milburn, Malcolm Macdonald and Alan Shearer tradition.

There’s a chance Nile Ranger could eventually win the shirt, and the 6’2″ Londoner knows that full well, and it should be a considerable  incentive to Nile to continue making progress  in his chosen profession, on the banks of the River Tyne.

Comments welcome.

93 comments so far

  • Billy1985

    May 13, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #1

    if ranger thinks he might get the number 9 shirt he needs a slap quick noone deserves that shirt at the club or anyone that comes in tbh. need to prove yourself to get it god knows how ac got it.
    skysports understands that bruce is winning the race to sign sl from birmingham

  • GeordieGerman

    May 13, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #2

    The number 9 shirt should be but in a display cabinet with a sign. “This could be yours” and nobody gets it till the fans are screaming out for them to have it.

  • boater

    May 13, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    Comment #3

    There is far too much mythologising about the no. 9 shirt.

    ED – you say Oba wasn’t fit for it which is – forgive me – speaking with the benefit of hindsight. At the time of signing him he was a £10mil purchase from Inter – the top Nigerian striker and one of the continent’s up and coming star players … the shirt needed filling.

    GeordieGerman – Carroll got it when he was totally unproven at this level, on the back of a promising half of a season in the championship.. it inspired him to perform even better, so you have to take every case by merit and stop being so hysterical please.

    Ranger has so far failed to even justify a starting place during a lull for the club with strikers performing particularly well,, if he develops great, but nothing to shout about so far.

  • niafron

    May 13, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Comment #4

    Well, i fear to don’t know much about NUFC. Sure, i have heard of Alan Shearer…

    But can you tell me about others famous number 9 in Newcastle? (I like ancient history, so, you can even tell me about the players of the last title in 1927 or those of 1969.)

  • GeordieGerman

    May 13, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Comment #5

    Hysterical… ? Me…. ? I’m not hysterical… I’ve never been Hysterical in my life… SO DON’T CALL ME HYSTERICAL !

  • toonfan09

    May 13, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Comment #6

    has anyone seen nobby solano has signed for pools


    May 13, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Comment #7

    Number 9 NOT FOR SALE

  • Davies

    May 13, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    Comment #8

    When Carroll was handed the number 9, I was sent a photoshopped Michaelangelo of God handing it to him, and I kind of felt that was somehow appropriate. There was something King Arthur and Excalibur about it.

    It’s an important shirt, Boater. It’s been worn by some very important names. True, other shirts have been worn by important players, but the number 9 shirt, to me, symolises everything I have loved about our football, ever since I started watching.

    Shame Arthur left his throne for a gang of thieves and gave up the right to his sword.

    Too much?

  • lesh

    May 13, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    Comment #9

    “Gomez has scored 139 goals in 245 club appearances in the Bundesliga, but why would he leave perennial Champions League club Bayern Munich for Newcastle?”

    Maybe he fancies a challenge?

  • The Entertainers

    May 13, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Comment #10

    Some of the comments already show the bloggers true colours!
    How can you question the importance of the number 9 shirt!
    Even other team fans know we love a N.o9, how can our own supporters not ?

    Away for a lie down, can’t believe what I’m reading!!!!

  • niafron

    May 13, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    Comment #11

    Off topic: Look what NUFC did to poor Arsenal’s fans…

  • toonfan09

    May 13, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #12

    to be fair now u will never find a player that can fill the number 9 after shearer wore it not just because of the goals he scored but because he always tried and was a true legend as scoring goals isnt enough to get the newcastle number 9 u need a bit of class and in my eyes there arent any that have that about them anymore sadly id want to retire the number 9 shirt

  • gorskino10

    May 13, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    Comment #13

    Gradel wanted by Hamburg this must mean as i heard yesterday Elia was on the move and replacing him with a Winger whos small/quick in Gradel.

    @The Entertainers

    “other team fans know we love a N.o9,”
    Well yeah but i see it as more like we love an “Old Fashioned Striker”, Tall,Good in the air but can finish with his feet too.
    We as a fanbase love a player who gets stuck in and upfront when you see someone whos hard to strugg off the ball and pain in the ass for most defenders thats what we LOVE not the no9 shirt. but the no9 is just a reward for a player of that quality and its an honour like an OBE/Nighthood etc..

    Its reflected this whole “Old fashioned striker” like Les Ferdinand/Shearer/etc… I really like players who work hard to get the ball back and are strong and powerfull like Edinson Cavani/Demba Ba/Denis Stracqualursi/Falcao/ etc..

  • ArtyH

    May 13, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Comment #14

    The No 9 shirt IS symbolic of everything a young ( and old ) Newcastle supporter believes to be the sole of the club. When the toon have a great No9 just look at the gate figures!!! Fat boy take note, and when we have a 3 up forward line of strikers we have always played attractive football.

  • toonfan09

    May 13, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Comment #15

    been linked with this guy in l equipe Cheick Diabate labeled the next drogba

  • coolcatcarter89

    May 13, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #16

    I’m 21, I’m a Yorkshireman by all accounts, but my blood runs Black & White. Why? Because when I was 5/6 we signed Alan Shearer, who turned down the cash, the greater likelihood of titles, all to play wearing that no9 shirt for his beloved Toon!

    Though I maybe couldn’t understand fully at that age, he became my hero from then on, I pledged allegiance to NUFC. That’s how important the no9 is to me.

    I lay no criticism at Oba Martins. He did his best, but never really fit the profile of a NUFC no9. AC however, he’s a scumbag for how he treat it in such a blase, dismissive way. One day ‘living the dream’ (his words), the next skulking off to the Scouse louses for money – sold his soul.

    You should either earn it, or a PROVEN world-class ST should be given it.

  • niafron

    May 13, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #17

    CHeick Diabate the next Drogba???!!! Who the hell tell that?

  • toonfan09

    May 13, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #18

    apperently he plays for bordouex

  • The Entertainers

    May 13, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    Comment #20


    The type of striker and the shirt go hand in hand mate

  • niafron

    May 13, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Comment #21


    Well, i know he’s playing for Bordeaux. If he is the next drogba: je mange un âne.

  • niafron

    May 13, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #22

    You don’t answer me about NUFC’s number 9 of the past. Was Shearer the only famous one?

  • Phatoon

    May 13, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    Comment #23

    I think the No9 shirt should be given to someone who is passionate about playing for the club, preferrably someone of local upbringing who supports the club.

    Also they have to be good and score loads of goals 😉

    When people think of the team their first thought should be, oh yeah their CF/no9 is awesome, like they did with Shearer.

  • toonfan09

    May 13, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    Comment #24

    its just what ive read ive never seen him play

    lol is my tranlstion correct u said “i eat a donkey”

  • coolcatcarter89

    May 13, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Comment #25

    Gorskino10 – I’m a massive admirer of Falcao, he’s the best finisher in world football, in my opinion. Hard working? He’s a blinking lazy git, never chases down defenders, only comes alive when his team’s on the attack. Could say, ‘conserving his energy’. 😉

  • niafron

    May 13, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    Comment #26


    Your translation is correct. You can also say: je mange un rat. I will eat a rat.

  • toonfan09

    May 13, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #27


    im guessing that means he is not very good

  • coolcatcarter89

    May 13, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #28

    An article published before Shearer retired, niafron. Has stats of all our no9s.

  • niafron

    May 13, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    Comment #30


    Well, it means he ‘s unlikely the next drogba. He have score two goals this season in the fench league.

    I fyou want a bordeaux player, look after Jaroslav Plasil, Benoit trémoulinas or Fernando.



  • geoff777

    May 13, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #31

    What’s going to happen when Pardew gives Carlton Cole the No9 shirt?
    … and he’s our biggest signing of the next window … it scares me because it’s a lot more likely than some of the fantasy names bandied about here.

    If Pardew gets 60million to spend … I’ll apologise to you all for my negativity … 🙂

  • supervil

    May 13, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Comment #32


    Shearer held it for about 10 years, which took a lot to do. Of course he’s made it special. But since you’re asking… former number 9s…

    – Les Ferdinand 50 goals, 83 games
    – Andy Cole 68 goals, 84 games
    – David Kelly 38 goals, 79 games
    – Mick Quinn 63 goals, 133 games

    Further back
    – Malcolm McDonald 121 goals, 228 games
    – Len White 153 goals, 269 games
    – Jackie Milburn 239 goals, 494 games
    – Albert Stubbins 237 goals, 218 games
    – Hughie Gallacher 143 goals, 179 games

    Whether you know these players or not, I’m not fussed. I mean… you should know who they are, but that’s besides the point. Whether you know them or not… you can’t dispute that the number 9 shirt is either reserved for special players or makes a special player.

    No doubt fella.

  • niafron

    May 13, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Comment #33


    Well, i’m just a poor french guy who try to learn more about NUFC.

    And i don’t dispute anything.

    So tell me more about these players. I mean, statistics are fine, but that don’t say much about who were these lads.

    Did you got any famous story about one of them?

  • Brutooon

    May 13, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Comment #34

    TBH after what Carroll did to his No 9 shirt, i think the next NUFC No 9 would be hard to find.

    I don’t think Ranger will get that number next season but i do expect him to score couple of goals next season. It depend on who AP signed as a Striker to take that No 9 shirt

    Just out of curiousity, why not SHOLA AMEOBI take the No 9 shirt?

  • coolcatcarter89

    May 13, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Comment #35

    Like toonfan09 said, I actually think it would be prudent to retire it, while it still has it’s integrity.

  • niafron

    May 13, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    Comment #36

    Well, you know, Lassana Diarra is wearing N10 in Madrid, so you see, sadly, everybody seems to forgett tradition…

  • Brutooon

    May 13, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Comment #37

    Shola Ameobi is the leading contender for the No 9 shirt because

    1) he is a geordies – local lad
    2) he is “loyal” , he wont move to other club
    3) he always score against Sunderland
    4) he always score goal
    5) he still got 10 years of football
    6) he can pass it to his younger brother – Sammy

  • coolcatcarter89

    May 13, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #38

    I like the story about how he was spotted. 🙂

  • southerngeordie

    May 13, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Comment #39

    When it comes to the number 9 I think us as fans have every right to want to reserve this for someone special. Some clubs win trophies – we have star 9’s. Granted wouldn’t mind swapping some for a few trophies but for me the corner stone of this club is built on dynamic, fast paced, attacking football and the number 9 goes hand in hand with this.

    Every club has their traditions for us our most famous is probably our number 9 – no other club in the world is a shirt so more revered than the Newcastle number 9.

    I’ve heard people say retire it, it’s too much of a burden – total rubbish. If I was a striker coming to Newcastle my sole personal goal would be to win that shirt. It’s a prize in itself and that should be the challenge thrown down to anyone looking to wear it.

  • coolcatcarter89

    May 13, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #40

    Southerngeordie – what about when they leave, treating it with such contempt as to devalue it?


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