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Features

The Numbers Game: Spurs

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

We're now into the late forties of Cherries squad numbers, and with Spurs to come this week the latest feature reaches as high as a half century.

It's been 20 years since squad numbers became compulsory in the Football League, Mark Mitchener takes a look at the players, the stats and some unusual tales from the past two decades.

This continues a series which was featured in MATCHDAY during the 2019/20 season – and will be concluded across the remaining home games.

45

Bournemouth first issued the number 45 a mere 13 years into the 'squad number era', when young winger JORDAN CHIEDOZIE was an unused substitute for the opening game of the 2012/13 season, a League Cup tie at Oxford which finished in a goalless draw before the U’s went through on penalties.

Born in Bournemouth, Chiedozie was the son of former Tottenham and Nigeria winger John Chiedozie, who had finished his playing career at Bashley and settled in the New Forest. Soon after warming the bench at Oxford, Chiedozie junior was loaned out to Dorchester Town and then AFC Totton.

Although he did not make a competitive appearance for the Cherries, Chiedozie did get on the Dean Court pitch as a substitute in the prestige friendly against Real Madrid in July 2013, 28 years after his father had lined up for Spurs against the Spanish giants in the Uefa Cup.

Clearly a late addition to the squad that day, Chiedozie actually took the field in a 'regular' 2013/14 home shirt, without a name or number, while all his team-mates wore a special one-off red and black striped shirt.

Chiedozie moved permanently to Poole Town in February 2014 after a couple of loan spells there, and has played for a number of non-League clubs, as well as a brief stint in League Two with Cambridge United, and is now at Braintree Town.

Number 45 remained unused until the final day of the 2015/16 season when goalkeeper JORDAN HOLMES was named on the bench, as cover for fellow Australian Adam Federici, at Manchester United for the rearranged final game of the Cherries’ inaugural Premier League season – which was delayed for two days because of the notorious 'bomb scare' after a dummy device was erroneously left inside Old Trafford following a training exercise.

Sydney-born Holmes, who at the time was fourth-choice keeper behind Artur Boruc, Federici and Ryan Allsop, had joined the Cherries’ academy as a 16-year-old in 2013, but after the “bomb scare” game, he only made the first-team bench on one more occasion, for a League Cup tie at Morecambe in August 2016, though he replaced Allsop for the second half of Warren Cummings’ testimonial against AC Milan the following month.

Following loan spells at Weymouth, Eastbourne Borough and St Mirren, Holmes was released in the summer of 2019 and joined Ebbsfleet United. He has been capped by Australia up to Under-23 level.

46

London-born forward JORDAN GREEN had been released by Fulham as a teenager, and spent a year at Banbury United before impressing the Cherries on trial in the summer of 2015 – with the 20-year-old following in the footsteps of Justin Keeler 15 years earlier, another young forward who had, like Green, been a supermarket shelf-stacker at the time he signed for Bournemouth.

Green was handed the number 46 shirt for the FA Cup third-round tie at Birmingham City in January 2016, but remained on the bench as the Cherries had to come from 1-0 down and turned to fellow substitutes Matt Ritchie (who replaced the injured Tokelo Rantie) and Glenn Murray (who came on to score the winner).

As well as being Green’s only appearance in a Cherries first-team squad, the Birmingham game was the last for fellow unused sub Elliott Ward, and the final appearance in a Bournemouth shirt for Rantie and Lee Tomlin.

Green was loaned to Newport County and Leyton Orient during 2016/17 (though was unable to play for the latter because of a registration issue relating to the return of paperwork from the Welsh FA), and joined Yeovil in a free transfer in 2017. He is now at Barnsley.

47

Continuing the 'Jordan' theme of this week’s notes, the Cherries’ only number 47 has been Bournemouth-born defender JORDAN LEE (2 appearances), who debuted at right-back in that aforementioned FA Cup third-round tie at Birmingham in January 2016 after coming through the club’s academy.

Almost exactly a year later, he made another start in another FA Cup third-round tie, this time at Millwall, but was substituted at half-time with the Cherries trailing 1-0, and within a few days he had joined Torquay on loan for the rest of the season.

He returned to Plainmoor for another loan in the summer of 2017, but his second Gulls spell was halted by illness and he returned to Bournemouth, eventually leaving the club by mutual consent early in 2018, joining Wimborne Town that summer.

Lee’s two games wearing 47 are the highest numbers Bournemouth have used in the starting XI for a competitive first-team game.

48

Midfielder JOSH WAKEFIELD had debuted for Bournemouth towards the end of the 2011/12 season wearing 39, switching to 38 the following season, but spent much of his Cherries professional career out on loan, taking in spells at Wimborne Town, Hamworthy United, Dagenham & Redbridge, Dorchester Town, Welling United, Torquay United, Bristol Rovers, Yeovil Town and Walsall.

Having worn a nameless, numberless shirt as a late substitute in the Real Madrid friendly in 2013 (though unlike Jordan Chiedozie – see above – it was of the limited one-off design), Wakefield later returned to the Cherries’ first-team squad in the number 48 shirt, and was an unused substitute in FA Cup ties at Birmingham and Portsmouth in January 2016.

Wakefield was released in the summer of 2016, signing for Aldershot Town before moving to Poole Town and then joining a number of ex-Cherries players at Weymouth.

49

As the 2014/15 Championship promotion campaign entered its final month, Bournemouth signed the player on loan who they hoped would be the final piece in the jigsaw – striker KENWYNE JONES (6 appearances), who had played against them for Cardiff less than a fortnight before.

The Trinidad & Tobago international set a new high-water mark in terms of Cherries squad numbers, being given number 49. While all of his half-dozen appearances came from the bench, none was more significant than his debut at Ipswich.

Introduced in the 79th minute with Bournemouth trailing 1-0, Jones rose highest – despite having his shirt pulled by a defender – to powerfully head home Matt Ritchie’s left-wing corner with his first touch as a Cherries player.

Celebrating with his trademark cartwheel and somersault, Jones had earned Bournemouth a crucial 1-1 draw against a promotion rival. Though it would be the only time he would find the net during the loan move, Jones’ contribution was invaluable. And it is the highest number which a Cherries player has worn to score a competitive first-team goal.

No player since Jones has worn 49 competitively, though defender Jake McCarthy did don it for Warren Cummings’ testimonial against AC Miilan in 2016, having worn 39 in 2014/15.

50

No player has yet worn number 50 in a first-team squad – the lowest number for which this is true.

Unless stated, all statistics relate to the 'squad number era' since 1999, and are correct as of the end of the 2018/19 season.

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