Weighing Up The Numbers

Last updated : 22 July 2002 By Jonathan Hall

The squad numbers are as follows…


1) Alan Marriott – confirms Marriott as no.1 goalkeeper at the club.
2) Mark Bailey – strong hint that Bailey will be part of Alexander’s plans.    

3) Paul Mayo – given the no.3 shirt indicates a big role to play this season.

4) Ben Futcher – Given Justin Walker’s old shirt.

5) Paul Morgan – No.5 is always a key number in the squad

6) Richard Logan – This has left supporters pondering a little.

7) Paul Smith – Replaces Kingsley Black as No.7.

8) Adam Buckley – Given John Finnigan’s old No.8 shirt.

9) Dene Cropper – Replaces Battersby as No.9

10) Ben Sedgemore – Given Lee Thorpe’s vacant No.10 shirt.

11) Peter Gain – Remains No.11 for second season running.

12) Simon Yeo – Don't let the fact that Yeo is outside the 1st XI  fool you.

13) Paul Pettinger – confirms that Pettinger will be 2nd choice ‘keeper.

14) Ian Hamilton – Hamilton may have to settle for a bit-part role this term.

15) Simon Weaver – Weaver, comes in at No.15, replacing Grant Brown.

16) Stuart Bimson – Beaten to the Number 3 shirt by the young Paul Mayo.

17) Mark Camm – Bailey just got the edge over Camm for No.2 shirt.

18) Tony Battersby – A strange one this.

19) Kingsley Black – Could be called upon when injury hits the squad.

20) Darren Horrigan – 3rd choice ‘keeper?

21) Scott Willis – Willis was the latest arrival at the club, thus being No.21.


Last week’s announcement of which player will occupy what shirt prompted the more analytical among us to weigh up the numbers.


It is fair to say that numbers one to eleven do not represent the proposed starting eleven, as those who have played a pivotal part in pre-season, such as Simon Yeo, Simon Weaver and Tony Battersby have been given numbers outside 1 to 11.


That established, many are now pondering why the likes of Battersby and Kingsley Black, for instance, have been issued with such numbers. Battersby and Black were issued with numbers 9 and 7 respectively last season, and so this season they have been, in essence, ‘demoted’. New-boy Dene Cropper and Paul Smith have stepped into those shirts for the forthcoming campaign.


Why has Cropper been given the Number 9 shirt ahead of marksman Simon Yeo some may ask – simple fact…Cropper joined the Imps before Yeo and therefore was pencilled in as number nine. Battersby may well have maintained his number 9 shirt for a second season, if his rich vein of form would have begun a little sooner.


More notable changes since last season, include Paul Pettinger’s assumed ‘promotion’ to the number 13 shirt, with youngster Darren Horrigan having to settle for number 20.


Simon Weaver has stepped into Grant Brown’s vacant number 15 shirt. Weaver is not number 6, alongside potential defensive partners Futcher (4) and Morgan (5), because Richard Logan has been at the club a lot longer than the incoming Weaver.


The fact that ‘old-boys’ Stuart Bimson, Ian Hamilton and Kingsley Black are all outside the first sixteen gives a strong hint that the trio are not part of Alexander’s plans for the coming season. The three-some may play a bit part role at some stage, it seems. Their past football league experiences will no doubt teach the younger ones of the squad a thing or two.


Elsewhere, Mark Bailey, Adam Buckley and Ben Sedgemore have all moved into the top eleven shirt numbers which gives a strong hint the three will be very much part of Alexander’s plans for the coming season. Bailey, evidently was seen as a better filler of Jason Barnett’s shirt than youngster Mark Camm.


Scott Willis – another of Alexander’s signings this summer – makes up the numbers with the 21st shirt.