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When should a football club retire a player’s shirt number?

first_img Twitter Guardian Sport Network Facebook Football A lot of numbers have been retired to show respect to players who have died tragically in their prime. Some, such as Piermario Morosini of Livorno, even did so on the pitch. This gesture acknowledges their irreplaceability: that no one else could step into the place they have vacated so suddenly. Far more intriguing, however, are the numbers retired for players who are either still alive or who died long after their retirement, such as Bobby Moore’s No 6 at West Ham or Javier Zanetti’s No 4 at Internazionale. There is something slightly grandiose about this, as if fans are commending the player to the ages, like a Viking warrior pushed out to sea on a ship with his shield and battle armour.This is nowhere more true than in the case of Paolo Maldini’s No 3 shirt at Milan. When Maldini hung up his boots in 2009, the No 3 he wore for almost the entirety of his career was not completely retired but was instead held until one of Maldini’s sons, Daniel or Christian, could emerge from Milan’s youth system and take it.This romantic, almost fairytale, gesture acknowledges the club’s history – Paolo’s father Cesare had also been a Milan captain – while also nodding to the future. The implication is that only someone from that illustrious Maldini line could be capable of filling that role, heirs to the throne in an almost literal sense. However, with 22-year-old Christian currently playing for Pro Piacenza in the third tier and 17-year-old Daniel still in the Milan academy, it is hard to see that No 3 shirt as anything other than another albatross around the necks of two youngsters who already have an incredible legacy to live up to. Facebook features Roberto Baggio captaining Brescia in 2004. Photograph: Carlo Baroncini/AFP/Getty Images Share via Email La Liga could teach the Premier League about being competitive European club football Read more The example of Roberto Baggio shows how relative the concept of irreplaceability can be. The beloved trequartista is probably most closely associated with the No 10 shirt of Italy’s national team, but that number was never retired for him. Nor was his shirt at Juventus – where he won the Ballon d’Or and his first Scudetto – or at Milan, where he won his second league title. Instead, his No 10 shirt was retired by Brescia, his final club.This might seem odd. A cynic might think that Brescia, a club whose best ever finish in Serie A was seventh place, were merely trying to wring the last drops of glamour from its association with a player who was really out of their league. A more charitable view would be that Baggio played more league games and scored more goals for Brescia than anywhere bar Juventus and that, freed from the dressing room politics and injuries that blighted his career at bigger clubs, he was able to be truly influential at Brescia, leading the club to that all-time best league finish and an Intertoto Cup final.Baggio was irreplaceable for Brescia in a way that he wasn’t for Inter, Juventus, Milan or Fiorentina. Retiring his squad number was a way of saying “it won’t get better than this” and it’s useless for a side with Brescia’s resources to pretend otherwise. Anyone who saw Baggio’s golazo against Juventus would be inclined to agree.There is something unsatisfying and even anti-sporting about retiring squad numbers. A significant part of sport’s appeal it that it is endlessly renewing itself; as soon as you are crowned champions, you need to prepare your title defence because everything is reset to zero when the new season comes around. This is what keeps fans coming back over and over again, hoping that this year will be their year. It is unsurprising, then, that most top clubs have little interest in retiring numbers. To do so would be to suggest that one particular victory was freakish or unusual.The most successful clubs want to convey the idea of endless renewal in the pursuit of excellence. Manchester United are unlikely to retire their iconic No 7 shirt and it’s the same with the No 10 at Juventus. Both clubs take pride in the long list of illustrious players who have worn them, suggesting that those shirts will continue to be worn by the superstars of the future. Similarly, when Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo hang up their boots, it would be surprising if Barcelona or Real Madrid retired their numbers. They will look to other players in the expectation that they too will enjoy outstanding careers. Share on LinkedIn Golazos galore: the 25 best goals from the golden era of Serie A Share on Facebook Contrast this with how Napoli feel about Maradona. He is worshipped like a saint in Naples, where his image is blazoned on walls across the city. Fans regard Maradona as irreplaceable and his achievements as little short of miraculous. However, by linking their only period of success so strongly to one man, they betray the fear that there will never be another league title. If Napoli wish to win a third Scudetto, they may need to overcome these hang-ups and adopt the mentality of their hated rivals, Juventus, who view success as both a right and an obligation rather than a miracle.In the meantime, Insigne could do worse than consider the words of one Napoli fan, who told me: “Instead of thinking about the No 10, Insigne should concentrate on making them retire the No 24.” If he and this Napoli side can win that title, the club might do just do it.• This article first appeared on The Gentleman Ultra• Follow Ricci Potts and The Gentleman Ultra on Twitter West Ham gave fans T-shirts this year to mark the 25th anniversary Bobby Moore’s death. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Share on Pinterest Share on Twitter Not long ago I was speaking to some Napoli fans about Lorenzo Insigne. He was born in Naples, signed for the club aged 15 and has been running up the wing at the Stadio San Paolo for nearly a decade. I put it to the supporters that, if Insigne helped the club go one better than the second-place finish they achieved in Serie A last season and Napoli finally won their third league title, it might be fitting to reward him with a new squad number. The club retired Diego Maradona’s No 10 shirt after he inspired them to two league titles in 1987 and 1990. If anyone deserved the honour of bringing it out of retirement, surely it would be local boy Insigne?The Napoli fans responded with an unequivocal “no”. It was nothing against Insigne, they said, but rather the simple acknowledgment that no one ever will deserve the No 10 shirt because no one will ever be Maradona. Insigne will have to stick with the No 24 – his wife’s birth date.The first shirt number to be retired from professional sport was that of the Toronto Maple Leafs star Ace Bailey. While playing in an NHL game against the Boston Bruins in 1933, Bailey was upended and landed headfirst on to the ice, fracturing his skull in the process. His injuries were so severe that doctors worried he might not survive. He pulled through, but never played professional ice hockey again. In response, the Maple Leafs retired Bailey’s No 6 shirt permanently. Share on Messenger Diego Maradona Manchester United Pinterest The practice of retiring squad numbers quickly spread through US sports. The New York Yankees have now retired every single number from one to 10 and they somehow managed to retire their No 8 twice – for Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey.The idea did not catch on in football until much later. For a long time footballers did not have fixed squad numbers and instead wore the shirts 1-11 according to who was picked on the day. It wasn’t until the early 1990s, when shirts began to bear the players’ names as well as numbers, that it became necessary to fix the numbers from one game to the next. Almost as soon as squad numbers were allocated, clubs started to retire them. The frequency with which numbers are retired, and the reasons for it, offer interesting insight into the mentality of different clubs and their fans.It is fairly common for football clubs to retire the No 12 in honour of the fans, the mythical “12th man”. None of the current Premier League clubs have retired the No 12 shirt but sides such as Bristol Rovers, Exeter City, Gillingham, Oxford United, Oldham Athletic, Peterborough, Plymouth Argyle and Portsmouth have gone for the idea. It is more common on continental Europe, where Bayern Munich, Lazio and PSV Eindhoven have gone down that route. As a gesture, it seems a bit condescending to supporters, something that requires neither imagination nor expenditure from the board. 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We just got to continue to get some guys back hea

We just got to continue to get some guys back hea

first_img“We just got to continue to get some guys back healthy, continue to eliminate mistakes and we can be a good football team,” Whisenhunt told the Arizona Cardinals radio network after the final loss of the season.If only it was that simple, because it obviously is not.Every team has injuries and every player makes mistakes. But most teams don’t suffer the type of season-crippling losing streaks the Cardinals have. So now the Cardinals have some decisions to make, and they’re likely to be made by the time 2013 arrives. The direction the franchise chooses to go will have ramifications for many years to come.Keep Whisenhunt — on a one-year deal, no less — and risk losing defensive coordinator Ray Horton to another team. Also say goodbye to the likes of Dockett, Wells and probably Wilson. Part with the coach of the last six years, though, and take a risk that you can’t actually do better than the only man to ever lead the organization to the Super Bowl. Can the Cardinals do better than Whisenhunt? We don’t know the answer to that question.What we do know, however, is Whisenhunt has a 45-51 record in Arizona, and has compiled a mark of 18-30 in the three years since Kurt Warner retired. In that time not only have the Cardinals lost their fair share of games, but they’ve also lost considerable ground in the NFC West. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo San Francisco? Better.Seattle? Better.St. Louis? Better. A common thread among the three teams who finished ahead of Arizona in division this season is that each hired a new coach in the time since the Cardinals last finished at the top. The Cardinals should not only take note, but also follow suit. – / 22 Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retirescenter_img Comments   Share   Ken Whisenhunt’s first game as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals came in a loss to the 49ers in San Francisco. Did his final game with the club come with the same result against the same team in the same place?Arizona falling in its season finale by a score of 27-13 Sunday was in no way a surprise. Hell, the team finishing the season with a 5-11 mark isn’t that surprising, especially when you figure eight of 12 Arizona Sports 620 personalities pegged the Cardinals to finish with six or fewer wins this season. Six times since moving to Arizona have the Cardinals finished a season 5-11, and six more times have they finished a game or two worse than that. Yet, this 5-11 season feels worse than any of those.The 2012 Cardinals started the season with a 4-0 record. The 2012 Cardinals have a playoff-caliber defense.The 2012 Cardinals have talented players dotted all throughout the roster.None of that mattered.The 2012 Cardinals are as big of a mess as any previous iteration, with a league-worst offense and a handful of veteran leaders and key players finding their way into Whisenhunt’s doghouse.Adrian Wilson and Darnell Dockett both caught Whisenhunt’s ire this season for different reasons, as did John Skelton and Beanie Wells.Whether it was from mouthing off like Wells, ineffective play like Wilson and Skelton, or for whatever it was Dockett actually did in New York, the fact is the coach tried to send a message via his most important players.It didn’t work as the mistakes, poor play and losses continued.In fact, nothing Whisenhunt did this year worked, and it’s why the Cardinals, for the second time in three years, finished a season with just five wins, which just so happens to be, according to ESPN Stats & Info, a record in futility. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

Rep Graves lauds House passage of 201516 state budget

Rep Graves lauds House passage of 201516 state budget

first_img State Rep. Joseph Graves, R-Argentine Township, issued the following statement after the Michigan House of Representatives approved the 2015-16 budget:I am pleased that the House has once again approved a balanced budget four months ahead of the deadline that sets clear priorities for spending. Not only does this budget invest $400 million into our crumbling transportation system, it also has provisions to continue emphasis on public safety, which will ensure Michigan’s economic growth, leading to more jobs for our citizens.In addition, we are funding education at an unprecedented level in our state’s history. This budget puts more money directly into the classroom for schoolchildren, which is where it should be going. We also are investing more in community colleges, universities, and commercial and technical education. 03Jun Rep. Graves lauds House passage of 2015-16 state budget Categories: Graves Newslast_img read more

Rep Hughes lauds Muskegon Promise Zone in exceeding fundraising goal

Rep Hughes lauds Muskegon Promise Zone in exceeding fundraising goal

first_img Categories: Hughes News,News LANSING – Rep. Holly Hughes, R-Montague, applauded the Muskegon Promise Zone for exceeding its $1,000,000 fund-raising goal to help fund scholarships for students in the Muskegon, Muskegon Heights and Holton school districts.“Scholarships available through the Muskegon Promise Zone program are a game-changer for our Muskegon County kids,” said Rep. Hughes, who is a member of the Muskegon Promise Zone Authority Board. “This is the beginning of the dream of higher education for many kids who may not be able to afford it otherwise. I want to congratulate our scholarship recipients Audrie Daniels, Samuel Butler, Samuel Hansen, Latyria Johnson, Elizabeth Kurdziel, Breeana McGlothin and Caprice Wallace. We are a boot-strap community and because of the generosity of our local people and businesses, we will be able to make a difference for generations to come. It’s an honor to be on this team!”The scholarships, worth up to $4,050 and available by applying to the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District (MAISD), are accessible to students from the three districts with a minimum 3.5 grade point average. The funds can be used towards tuition, books and fees at Muskegon Community College or Baker College in Muskegon. 15Jan Rep. Hughes lauds Muskegon Promise Zone in exceeding fund-raising goallast_img read more

New laws improve Michigan water beautification programs

New laws improve Michigan water beautification programs

first_img Legislation introduced by Rep. Kim LaSata streamlining rules regulating Michigan’s Adopt-a-River and Adopt-a-Shoreline programs were signed into law by the governor today.Over the years, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have been separated, combined and separated again through various executive orders. After the most recent split, each department thought the waterway cleanup programs fell within the other’s purview. As a result, the programs remain without administration.“The confusion has resulted in many selfless Michigan residents who want to help clean up our state’s rivers and shorelines with nowhere to turn,” said LaSata, of Bainbridge Township. “We’ve clarified the laws that govern these truly awesome programs so they can be utilized as they were intended.”After working with the DNR and the DEQ to determine a solution, LaSata’s legislation calls on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to administer the programs and offer information to the public about how to become involved.House Bills 5155 and 5156 are now Public Acts 78 and 79 of 2018.### Categories: LaSata News 19Mar New laws improve Michigan water beautification programslast_img read more

House approves Rep Tedders bill to honor Oakland County Deputy Eric Overall

House approves Rep Tedders bill to honor Oakland County Deputy Eric Overall

first_img The Michigan House this week approved state Rep. Jim Tedder’s legislation to name a portion of highway in Oakland County after fallen Oakland County Deputy Eric Overall.Highway M-15 from I-75 in Oakland County to the Genesee County border will be named the Deputy Eric Overall Memorial Highway.“Deputy Eric Overall proudly served with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office for 22 years,” said Rep. Tedder, of Clarkston. “This memorial will honor his courage and compassion for Oakland County.”Tedder said Overall was very compassionate and had a positive impact on the young people in the community.Overall was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 23, 2017, during a police pursuit that originated in Lapeer County.Overall was the first Oakland County deputy sheriff to be killed in the line of duty in 80 years, according to Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.House Bill 5672 advances to the Senate for consideration.### 02May House approves Rep. Tedder’s bill to honor Oakland County Deputy Eric Overall Categories: Tedder Newslast_img read more