Newcastle United is a colourful football club at the very heart of the city's community and one with a rich history and tradition. One character has become synonymous with the Black 'n' Whites and their famous striped shirts - the centre-forward, the No. 9 hero, the man who has pulled on the 'Shirt of Legends'. Since the club's earliest days, the rapport between Newcastle's fervent Geordie supporters and United's centre-forward has been one of the great tales of soccer: one full of incident, controversy and fabulous goalscoring feats. Much rests on the shoulders of United's centre-forward. He carries the dreams of thousands and the hopes of a whole Geordie nation. From Peddie, Appleyard and Shepherd to Wee Hughie Gallacher and the 'Smiling Assassin', Albert Stubbins. Onwards with 'Wor' Jackie Milburn - a legend in himself - Len White, the mighty Wyn Davies and a brash cockney, Malcolm Macdonald - 'Supermac' to all. And including modern-day icons: Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer - perhaps the biggest No. 9 hero of them all. They have been a mixed bunch: some tall, lean and fast; some small, tricky and highly skilled.
Others have been graceful; a few have roved along the forward line, while there have been robust, aggressive characters on view, too. Some have been masterful in the air, while several struck the ball with terrific power; others have possessed the art of placement and, a few, the ultimate poacher's instinct in front of goal. But all had the same mission: to score goals and, whatever their style, if they donned the centre-forward shirt for Newcastle United, they were treated as gods. Shirt of Legends is about all of those players - the many different characters and personalities in the centre-forward role who have worn Newcastle United's No. 9 shirt since its introduction in 1939.
Having followed the roller-coaster fortunes of Newcastle United for more than 40 years, Paul Joannou is recognised as the club's official historian. He has compiled a thorough library of well-received titles on the Magpies, including A Complete Record, The Black 'n' White Alphabet, Fortress St James and the club's masterful centenary history United: The First 100 Years & More.