Chris Hughton has confirmed that the famous Newcastle number nine shirt will remain vacant for the rest of the season.
The Toon chief has reaffirmed the comments made by new signing Leon Best that the famous jersey must be earned by a member of the Newcastle squad.
"I want somebody to earn the right to be Newcastle’s No 9." Hughton told The Times, "I don’t want to suggest that the strikers here aren’t worthy of it because each of them has a real strong value."
The decision proves just how much Hughton understands the club and it's fans. The manager knew questions would be asked as to why none of the five strikers at the club has been awarded the coveted number and moved to assure fans not to panic.
Hughton also underlined his hard work ethic and desire to build a squad by taking the decision to stretch his transfer window cash to secure four permanent signings in January. The usual tactic to splash out on one big name as a quick fix was clearly never going to be a part of Hughton's transfer system.
Doubts were raised as to how much (if any) money would be made available to Hughton and how he would spend it, but the Newcastle boss took his time and refused to be drawn into a bidding war for Leeds United striker Jermaine Beckford.
Hughton is fast becoming a well respected man in football, not just for his side's on field success but also for the way he has conducted himself through tough times on Tyneside.
Now with his first trip into the crazy world of transfers, he seems to have come out the other side unscathed, is there anything this man can't handle?