Those of you who don’t believe in superstition may laugh at the notion of a squad number being cursed. However, wearing the No. 9 jersey for Chelsea has essentially ruined seasons for the majority of the last two decades.
We’ve already mentioned how poorly Lukaku performed in the season of 2021–2022, but Tammy Abraham also performed poorly in the jersey before him.
When he scored 18 goals in his first season donning the No. 9, the England international appeared to have put the negative connotations associated with the No. 9 shirt behind him.
However, he completely lost his form (and fitness) the following season. When released from the confines of Chelsea’s most notorious jersey, he quickly rediscover his shooting boots after being sold to Roma last summer.
Alvaro Morata, Gonzalo Higuain, Radamel Falcao, and Fernando Torres, among others, had already established themselves as top-tier strikers. But as soon as they entered Stamford Bridge and put on the No. 9 shirt, they all crumbled.
Even midfielder Steve Sidwell (2006) and defender Khalid Boulahrouz (2006) received the number at random from Chelsea (2007). It did not significantly benefit either of those players.
If you want to go all the way back to the beginning of the century, you can find Chelsea’s last truly successful No. 9 in Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who wore it while scoring 23 goals in 2000–01 to win the Premier League Golden Boot.
Nobody has worn Chelsea’s No. 9 jersey since the Dutch frontman left the team in 2004 with the same level of form.
The number will continue to be used this season, just as it did in 2014–15 and 2016–17, presuming no new Blues player is bold enough to risk the wrath of the jersey.
Back then, nobody cared either.