Intimidating soccer goalie jersey
The earliest record of numbered shirts being worn dates from the 1922/23 American Soccer League season when a team from St.
Louis by the name of Scullin Steel wore numbers on the back of their tops for the 1923 Challenge Cup Final.
Former Tottenham Hotspur favourite Ossie Ardiles, for example, wore the number one shirt for Argentina during the 1982 World Cup Finals while fellow midfielder Norberto Alonso wore the same number when they lifted the Cup in 1978. Dutch striker Ruud Geels wore the number one shirt in 1974 after the Holland squad, like Argentina team, were numbered alphabetically.
Closer to home, defender Stuart Balmer was given the same number when Charlton Athletic first listed their squad in the early 1990s for the same reason.
Goalkeepers in particular, until the rules were relaxed in the 1970s, were limited to green, blue, scarlet and white tops except for international matches, where yellow or black was the colour of choice following a ruling by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in 1921.
Green proved most popular simply because of the law of averages - very few teams wore a green football kit.
The following year numbered shirts made their first appearance at the World Cup finals in France.
In the early history of the game, football teams were identified by the colours of their caps and socks or simply by armbands.These light cotton garments were already popular on the continent but it wouldn't be the last time British football was slow on the uptake.Goalkeepers were also a bit behind the times when it came to wearing a number on the back.There were exceptions, with some goalkeepers donning an all-green ensemble during the 1960s.In the early 1970s England legend Peter Shilton famously wore an all-white goalkeeper kit until he was beaten by a long-range shot during a mid-week FA Cup semi-final replay at Villa Park by none other than Liverpool's Kevin Keegan - apparently Shilton's kit was too reflective under the floodlights, making it easier for opposition forwards to pick their spot.
Conversely, Eastern European goalkeepers, such as the Soviet Union's Lev Yashin and Hungary's Gyula Grosics, favoured an intimidating all-black strip.