There is something about Everton and that ‘Number 9’ shirt. Throughout the club’s long history, so many of the club’s heroes, the players who have often come to define an era or a side have worn that number on their backs.
The names run like a panoply of Goodison greats, names like Dixie Dean, Dave Hickson, Andy Gray and Duncan Ferguson, players whose exploits have become an indelible part of the club’s grand narrative.
With one notable exception, these greats have tended to inhabit a ‘type’, big, strong, unyielding; the kind of players who leave their opponents black and blue the following day. The ‘Everton Number 9’ has almost become a useful shorthand, a term that immediately conjures up a certain kind of footballer, the kind that would charge through a melee of players to meet a cross with an unstoppable header.
It’s telling that today, in an age when shirt numbers mean nothing anymore, the era of the expanded squad reducing the positional familiarity of the old 1-11, Everton’s ‘Number 9’ still retains its power. It is still given frequently to the player who is expected to lead the line, the one number in the first eleven that keeps its roots in the past.
This new book, exploring the lives of nine of these figures aims to illustrate why that is the case, to show just what they gave to this club. It is a collection of the greats, the lions of Goodison who have helped make the Everton ‘Number 9’ what it is.
Read about the lives of Dixie Dean, Tommy Lawton, Dave Hickson, Alex Young, Joe Royle, Bob Latchford, Graeme Sharp, Andy Gray and Duncan Ferguson.
Includes interview and memories from players and fans.
Relive great Everton days and nights: Dixies 60, Latchford’s 30, Bayern 85.
Understand why the ‘Number 9’ shirt has become so iconic at Goodison.
Jim Keoghan is the author of How to Run a Football Club, Punk Football,Highs, Lows and Bakayokos (Everton in the 1990s) and Everton’s Greatest Games. A long-suffering Blue, Jim has been watching the club since the early 1980s, enjoying and enduring decades of pleasure and misery (mostly the latter) at Everton’s hands.