FOOTBALLING SUPERSTITIONS & RITUALS
by Don McMahon
We all know that superstitions and ¨lucky charms¨ play a significant role in all supporters and players,managers and administrators lives when it comes to pre-game preparations. A number of articles have already been written about such but at the risk of repetition, and in order to lighten the mood a bit before the Bayern spectacle, I decided that a review of some of the more outlandish examples would be fun to read and if anyone wants to share some of their own, that would be great.
My personal Arsenal superstitions: I do not pray for AFC to win the day of the game, I always wear my Arsenal shorts (I have 4 pairs) the day of the game (and like many here, often have to change them during the match), I watch the game but none of the advertisements, and I take a walk at half-time rather than listen to the commentators inane babble. [That’s not a superstition – that’s basic retention of sanity – Ed.]
Some Famous players superstitions: (adapted from two 2010 articles in Caughtoffside’s website)
* John Terry, former England captain, always sits in the same place on the bus, always listens to the same CD en route to the stadium, and he always ties a band three times on his socks.
* Mario Gomez once forgot to sing to the national anthem in the youth team, he scored a goal in that match and hasn’t sung along to the anthem ever again.
* Kolo Toure likes to be the last to enter the pitch. He was once yellow carded for entering the field of play during a game without the ref’s permission, and claimed afterwards that he didn’t know that was a rule.
* Paul Ince was always the last guy to leave the locker room, he sprinted to the field, and once there he put his jersey on.
* Neither Ronaldo nor Gary Lineker would shoot towards the goal before the match. They didn’t want to “waste the goals.”
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* Genaro Gatusso always uses the same sweater that he wore on his first day, regardless of the weather or the temperature.
* Mutu wears the same underwear for every game as did Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita ( they didn’t share!!!)
Some Famous managers’ and coaches’ superstitions:
* Steve Bould always put his watch into the right pocket of his trousers.
* According to some fans, Arsene Wenger always sits in seat 13 at the Emirates when a spectator (can anyone confirm this?) [I sat in Wenger’s chair while a substitute when playing for Benelux in a five aside tournament at the Emirates and I certainly didn’t see any number on it – Tony]
* Luis Aragones hates yellow. Raul once went to the hotel wearing a yellow shirt and was immediately forced to change it.
* Raymond Domenech and former Mexico coach Ricardo La Volpe, who in the 2006 World Cup wore dragon ties, both let their astrologer tell them what tie to wear.
* Giovanni Trapattoni “showers” with holy water sent by his sister, who is a nun.
* Laurent Blanc, now Bordeaux coach, said that he always kissed Barthez’s head in the 1998 World Cup, and before the matches he used to listen to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”
Some universal superstitions:
* Wearing a lucky beard for the duration of a long run is ubiquitous in Football.
* Rubbing the shaved head of a teammate for good luck.
* Players not washing or changing their socks when on a winning run.(I tried that once but my girlfriend left me for a pig farmer-she said it was a refreshuing change!)
* Keeping the same boots match after match while on a run, is a de rigeur, as long as the game has actually been played.
Some officiating superstitions:
* I knew a referee colleague who as an assistant would always ask to run the line closest to the officials’ entry door. He told me it was from his experiences in Latin America, where the shortest way to the dressing room might save you a beating!
* I never put my pencil (when refereeing) in my socks unlike a lot of my colleagues. It was less superstition than a safeguard against taking your eyes off the player to be cautioned. I got sucker-punched once and that was enough.
* Many officials I met from all over the world would avoid a dressing room with the number 13 on it.
* A former FIFA referee told me that he never left by the same stadium exit he entered. He refused to explain why. I think he was cheating on his wife because he never seemed to meet the same woman after each game!!!
- Is it right to have referees doing two Premier League games over a weekend?
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- Match Review: Anthony Taylor – Sunderland v Arsenal (0 – 1) [09/02/2013]
- Police lose appeal over financing coppers near the stadium
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches
- Royal Arsenal: from the Common to the Manor. Coming next.
The sites from the same team…
- Referee Decisions – just what are the refs up to this season?
- Parent News – what is going on in schools these days?
- The weight loss programme: The only guaranteed way to stay fit
- The Arsenal History Blog from the AISA Arsenal History Society
- Teacher News – UK schools from the teachers’ perspective
- UK Education News – rolling news service