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Opinion: The Jude Bellingham number retirement isn’t the big farce that people make it out to be

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Image for Opinion: The Jude Bellingham number retirement isn’t the big farce that people make it out to be

So, I’m sure you’ve seen the news about Jude Bellingham’s number being retired, and you’ve seen the reaction that it’s received.

I’ve had some time to think about this and for everything to calm down, and my views on the matter are pretty much the same as they were when I first heard it. I’m OK with the gesture.

Do I think it’s a bit much? Probably. Do I think that it deserves the backlash that it has received since? No. In my mind, there are a number of factors going into this decision that I think makes it somewhat more reasonable when you think about it.

Does Bellingham deserve this kind of recognition?

Yes

Yes

No

No

1 – The ‘one of our own’ factor: Let’s be honest, how many players in the past have connected with the fans the way Bellingham has? This isn’t the same as legends of recent years like Christophe Dugarry, Nikola Zigic and Stephen Carr (just three names I picked, sure you can come up with more). He’s one of us. Listen to the way he talks about his time here. I don’t want to sound like a Liverpool fan, but this means more.

2 – The money: The way that he and his family handled the move acted as something of a golden handshake in Birmingham’s favour. Insisting that the club get a decent return for him, rather than the compensation route, and ensuring that Borussia Dortmund pay a large part of it up front, in a time where finances at the club aren’t great means that all sides are winners in this situation.

3 – The potential: If he does go on to become a world star and unleash the ‘enormous potential’ that some credit him with having, then wouldn’t it be great to look back one day at that missing number on the squad sheet (or banner, if they decide to go the North American route) and think ‘yeah, it all started here for him’.

4 – The number itself: The number 22 isn’t exactly a popular number when it comes to the club, or football in general. If it was a more common number like 7, 8 or 10, then I could understand the uproar because that one is highly likely to be used in the future. When it comes to 22 though? It’s not exactly the first thing that people are going to want to wear, it would normally go to someone down the squad list, a third-choice winger or a backup goalkeeper. At least now the number will stand for something.

Should this lead to more number retirements in the future? I think it should. What numbers though, I’ll leave up to you to decide.

What about you? What do you make of the news about Bellingham’s squad number?

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