May 18, 2024

Tottenham to introduce “legacy numbers” on kits beginning with Friday’s Crystal Palace match

The initiative will see another number added to each kit, representing when the player joined the club chronologically.


Tottenham Hotspur introduced a new kit initiative on Thursday intended to highlight the club’s long history and the number of players that have featured for the club since its first competitive senior game in 1894.


The “legacy numbers” initiative will see an additional number stitched onto the kits of each first team player with a senior cap, and represents the culmination of a long-standing research project by club historians.


The numbers were assigned chronologically, beginning with Stanley Briggs (#1) in 1984 and going all the way to Alejo Veliz (#879), the last player to make a Tottenham competitive match debut. In developing the system, the club used the following criteria to assign historical numbers:


Players making their full debuts in the same game are listed alphabetically

Players coming on as substitutes in the same game are listed in order of the minute in which they entered the pitch


Players coming on as substitutes in the same minute are listed in order in which they entered the pitch.


To put the above in context, Son Heung-Min’s legacy number is 805 as he was the 805th professional footballer according to the above criteria to make his Spurs debut. Ledley King is #649.


Harry Kane is #767. Hugo Lloris has the lowest number of anyone in the current first team with #781. Whoever comes in next for their club debut — a youth player in the FA Cup maybe, or a new signing in January — will be assigned number 880.



Speaking about the legacy numbers, Daniel Levy said the following on Spurs’ website:


“Our legacy number initiative is our way of recognizing the contributions of those that have worn our colors with pride during our Club’s long and rich history, making a truly unique connection between players of our past, present and future.”

The numbers will be placed above the players’ names on their kits, and presumably this will be the practice for the club going forward into perpetuity. It has the feel of a new tradition that nonetheless stretches back to near the beginning of the club’s history.


Is it a bit gimmicky? Well, maybe. But it’s also a pretty cool way to tie this current Spurs squad to the club’s long history. It gives each player who makes a senior appearance part of that history — they have a legacy number now, and it makes it feel as though even the youth player who comes on for one substitution appearance is inextricably tied to the fabric of the club. The fans sing about “want[ing] to be in that number,” and now there are literally numbers in which players can be.


The numbers will debut on the backs of Spurs’ player kits beginning with tomorrow’s match at Crystal Palace.




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