I was listening to an ex player talk about his superstitions before a game. There were certain actions that had to be completed before each game or in his mind all was lost. This reminded me of others, such as Paul Ince, once an England footballer (and what more need you know to realise he was a failure) and now manager of Blackburn Rovers, who put his shirt on only when halfway down the tunnel entering the field of play! Ally McLeod wore his 'lucky brown suit' each week when Ayr United were promoted. He was still wearing it when they got relegated twelve months later. Larent Blanc, the French international, before kick-off would kiss the shining bald head of team mate Fabien Barthez, supposedly for good luck. I hope it wasn't for any other reason? Others only wear certain colours. One player listens to the same CD each week driving to the ground (and how boring by seasons end) and has to sit in the same seat on the bus travelling to away games – all to bring him good luck. What does he do when injured, does he change seat? No, I think he just gathers his wage slips around him and smirks. I would.
Now in among those who only wear the 'lucky' number or carry a small 'good luck' mascot, surely there is one who thinks this is all daft? I can understand players following a certain routine while preparing themselves for a game, that keeps you relaxed and settles the mind. Trusting your performance to wearing the same shin pads you bought as a fifteen year old may not be as effective as getting out there and just doing your job! If you ask these men, "Do you believe in God?" They will probably all grin and say "No, that's daft" Then they will spend ten minutes folding and refolding their shirt, or making sure their teddy bear mascot is sitting in their right shoe, or using the 'special lucky Biro' to sign autographs, just for 'luck!' Did you realise that there are few philosophers or academics amongst footballers?
While saying all this I do remember Jim Cruickshank the great Heart of Midlothian goalkeeper wearing the green jersey on many occasions and it always turned out to be a bad day. He took to wearing an All black outfit, and the results improved, usually. However on one occasion we borrowed some shirts from the Donald McLeod the Hearts assistant trainer (as they were then) and he gave us one of the 'green' goalie shirts. Suffice to say I wore it and let in at least eight goals. I can't remember much else about that day, the knock on the head, from one of my own side, took the memory away. I do remember it was a long walk home from Penicuik as for some reason they all went off without me.