Saints Heritage Society have completed more than 40 years painstaking research in order to issue all past and present club players with unique heritage numbers.
Jack Leyland, Curtis Johnstone, Vernon Roby, Adrian Lawrenson, Paul Cotham, Bill Bates, Dave Dooley, Paul Cunliffe and Alex Service have all played their part in the process which is a staggering culmination of hard work and endeavour.
Heritage numbers begin with Tom Foulkes in 1895, right up to Jack Welsby in 2018 and, of course, there will be new incumbents in 2019 and beyond.
Whether they came onto the field for half a game, played as a trialist, or turned out in more than 500 competitive games, they are all considered equal and can justifiably feel proud to be part of this great club.
Alex Service says: “This has been a fantastic project to work on and everyone at Saints Heritage Society is proud of the result and the fact we can now release the numbers in conjunction with the club.
“The research to identify every player who has played for the club has been very in-depth and we’ve found very interesting stories and facts about people and their backgrounds we never knew.
“Library research has played a huge part as has poring over hundreds of match reports and programme collections, together with personal accounts and interviews with past players. Most information has been by design; some by pure accident!
“Bill Bates did much to collate the statistics into a manageable single document, especially in the formative years. From essentially ‘hard copy’ data, the launch of the Saints’ Heritage Society website in 2002 provided a much-needed platform for further development and the promotion of Saints’ statistical history into the wider public domain.
“Special thanks to Webmaster Paul Cunliffe in this respect, who remains a vital member of our society.''
He added: “There has also been the opportunity for wider research, led by Dave Dooley, on players before World War Two, including family make-up, employment characteristics and the geographical movement of individuals throughout Britain and the wider world.”
Saints chairman Eamonn McManus added: “The Saints Heritage Society have been unstinting in their efforts over the years and have produced this phenomenal piece of work of which they can all be rightfully proud.
“The history and heritage of The Saints and its players is one of the richest in world sport and this project produces an appropriate and continuing record which befits that status. We should be very grateful indeed to all involved.”
The launch was staged yesterday (Wednesday) when the club's oldest player, Jimmy Goodier, was presented with a special 'one-off' jersey with his heritage number on, by the latest 'numbered' player, Jack Welsby.
The main focus will not be on a jersey, however, but players will be presented with a special certificate with their number on. This will be unique and have a special hologram on.
However.these will not be available until later on in the season, so people will have to wait for a further announcement from the club on that one.