The football traditionalists love to see teams play with 1-11 but in the Premier League that is a rare occasion. With players able to select their numbers and use that as part of their brand players don’t automatically move to the lower-numbered shirts.
Some shirts still carry a prestige for some players and they occasionally fall out about them (Martial nearly left United because they gave Zlatan his number 9 shirt). Alexander Arnold still plays with number 66 rather than dropping down to number 2 as a right-back would have traditionally been.
Some teams don’t even have a 1-11 with shirt numbers left vacant for the season.
When was the last time a team started a Premier League match with numbers 1-11 on the pitch?
On the 21st of August 2021, Burnley started their match with numbers 1-11 all on the pitch. They lost 2-0.
Here is the starting 11 that day
In the 75th minute, Jay Rodrigues came on for Chris Wood to end the 1-11 on the pitch.
Has this happened before?
There have been occasions when this has happened before in the Premier League
- 2015 West Brom – They wore 1-11 in traditional white shirts in 2015 to launch the Jeff Astle foundation as a mark of respect to their legend. This was only the second time the Premier League has approved a kit change.
- 2008 Manchester United – To mark the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster United took on City in plain red kits to resemble the 1958 kit. The starting 11 wore 1-11 as the team would have in 1958.
- Charlton Athletic 1998-1999 season – Newly promoted Charlton stuck to their 1-11 shirts after being promoted – this is not an option anymore.
- QPR 1995-1996 – This was the last time a team that was already in the Premier League had numbers 1-11. QPR moved all their player’s numbers down that summer and played with the 1-11 on a number of occasions.