Anorak News | Nine-Eleven


by | 11th, September 2002

‘IN keeping with the football community’s deep desire to show deep respect for everything and empathy with everyone, this column will now hold one minute’s silence, in which we hope everyone will stop and reflect upon important matters…

The Real big deal


[Ripple of applause]

Thank you. Impeccably observed. Now, talking of ”Nine Eleven”, here’s a themed quiz question for you. Why was Ronaldo allocated the number 11 instead of 9 when he joined Real Madrid? Because Fernando Morientes didn’t fancy a move to Barcelona, and is contractually entitled to keep it, that’s why.

Of course the coveted centre-forward numeration would have confirmed the toothy one’s ”iconic” status and would have looked good on the replica shirts, but Real are unlikely to be complaining too much.

Working on the assumption that they employ the same pricing system that Crystal Palace used to on the last occasion we bought a club shirt – ie, charging for names and numbers according to the amount of letters and digits they contain – then the Madrid giants should make even more money from the millions of tops they expect to sell.

On the other hand, when Ade Akinbiyi signed for Palace, and found the iconic number ten already taken, he amusingly put AKINBIYI 5 + 5 on his back, thus bumping up the price. Hence don’t see many Palace fans wearing them. Or at least, we assume that’s the reason.

Whether Ronaldo’s extra digit is responsible for the reassuringly expensive £45 price tag that Real have slapped on the Ronaldo replicas we don’t know, and whether it will adversely affect sales remains to be seen, but the early signs are that it will not deter them.

The first run sold out immediately, and tickets were issued for places in the queue to buy them at the clubs official outlets. Real ordered 500,000 Zidane tops when the unusually-tonsured Frenchman joined, and duly became the world’s biggest seller. Ronaldo, with his Brazilian following, should be able to set new records and, who knows, unite the whole world in the process. (Not including Barcelona.)

So let’s end on that thought, and reflect on the words of John Lennon, a man who united us all first in love and then in grief. As he put it so memorably in his hymn to humanity (Revolution No 9): Number nine, number nine, number nine, number nine…

Posted: 11th, September 2002 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink