Tammy Abraham becomes Chelsea’s number 9 - the most cursed shirt in football

Barcelona v Chelsea - Preseason Friendly

Chelsea’s No. 9 might just be the most cursed shirt number in the Premier League.

It’s been a long time since a player wearing that number performed consistently for the Blues.

In fact, you need to go right back to 2000-2004, when the No. 9 shirt was occupied by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

The Dutch striker scored 88 goals in 177 appearances at Chelsea. Not bad for £15 million.

He even won the Premier League Golden Boot award in his debut season at Stamford Bridge.

Since then, though, nine different players have won the No. 9 shirt - and not all of them strikers - and they’ve all underwhelmed.

Despite this, Tammy Abraham has bravely accepted the No. 9 shirt, believing talk of a curse is nonsense.


“I’m honoured to wear the No.  9 shirt at Chelsea,” the 21-year-old England international was quoted as saying by The Sun. “I spoke to the manager and he asked me if I’m ready to take the No 9 and I said, ‘Yeah, I’m ready’. So I’m glad he offered the No.  9.

“Football brings a lot of pressure. It drives me on. It gives me the extra belief.

“I’ve heard all the rubbish about the No 9. I’m here to play my game and do my best.”

Rubbish? Well, let’s take a closer look at the players who’ve worn the No. 9 shirt since Hasslebaink’s departure 15 years ago.

Look away now, Tammy…

MATEJA KEZMAN | 2004-2005

Fee: £5m

Chelsea appearances: 41

Chelsea goals: 7

Big things were expected from Mateja Kezman, who scored 38 goals in all competitions in his final season with PSV Eindhoven, before his move to west London.

However, the Serbian forward only managed to score a pitiful seven goals in 41 games for the Blues.

Chelsea v West Ham United

HERNAN CRESPO | 2005-2006

Fee: £16.8m

Chelsea appearances: 73

Chelsea goals: 25

Hernan Crespo was widely regarded as one of the world’s best strikers when he joined Chelsea.

But 25 goals in 73 games was a poor return from the Argentina international, who failed to produce his best form in England.

Chelsea's Hernan Crespo celebrates scori


Fee: £8.5m

Chelsea appearances: 20

Chelsea goals: 0

Yes, Khalid Boulahrouz was a right-back - and yes, he was handed Chelsea’s No. 9 shirt.

The Dutch defender still flopped at the Bridge and ended up leaving after just two seasons at the club, one of which was spent out on loan at Sevilla.

Khalid Boulahrouz & Chelsea Press Conference

STEVE SIDWELL | 2007-2008

Fee: Free

Chelsea appearances: 25

Chelsea goals: 1

Another non-striker to be handed the No. 9 shirt, midfielder Steve Sidwell lasted one season at the Bridge before being moved on to Aston Villa.

Chelsea v Huddersfield Town - FA Cup 5th Round

FRANCO DI SANTO | 2008-2009

Fee: £3.4m

Chelsea appearances: 16

Chelsea goals: 0

Franco Di Santo has enjoyed a decent career since leaving Chelsea in 2010 but his move to Stamford Bridge from South America came too early.

In 16 appearances for the west London outfit, the Argentine failed to score a single goal.

Aston Villa's Martin Laursen vies with C


Fee: £50m

Chelsea appearances: 172

Chelsea goals: 45

It’s still baffling how Fernando Torres went from world beater to laughing stock in such a short amount of time following his £50 million move to Chelsea from Liverpool in 2011.

He may have left Chelsea with FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League winners’ medals, but Torres’ reputation as a top-level footballer was left in tatters by the time he departed.

Chelsea's Italian Manager Carlo Ancelott

RADAMEL FALCAO | 2015-2016

Fee: Loan

Chelsea appearances: 12

Chelsea goals: 1

At his peak, Radamel Falcao was probably the best No. 9 on the planet.

But he was a disaster in the Premier League, first with Manchester United and then with Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho’s gamble to bring the Colombian forward to the Bridge backfired.

Chelsea v Southampton - Premier League


Fee: £70m

Chelsea appearances: 72

Chelsea goals: 24

Alvaro Morata became Chelsea’s club record signing in 2017 when the Blues forked out £70 million for his services.

But the Spaniard was unable to break the curse.

He switched to the No. 29 shirt at the start of his second season but that made little impact.



Fee: Loan

Chelsea appearances: 18

Chelsea goals: 5

And so to Abraham’s predecessor, who only managed to hit the back of the net five times during his loan spell last season.

Chelsea decided against extending Gonzalo Higuain’s stay and the Argentine now finds himself back at Juventus, working under Maurizio Sarri.

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