We football fans are a curious breed, aren’t we?
I find myself today thinking about superstition. I’m not a superstitious person myself. I have no problem walking over three drains, I’ll never salute a magpie, nor will stepping underneath a window cleaners ladder straddling a path cause me to deviate. Yet when it comes to football, I seem to ignore the rational part of my brain and engage what Dr Steve Peters would call my ‘inner chimp’. Last night, for example, upon examining my FA Cup final ticket, I saw that Arsenal supporters are to be situated in the East Side of Wembley, a side for which I have never actually watched Arsenal at. I wasn’t at the Community Shield game against City at the start of the season, so I can’t comment on where we were situated for that match, but all I know of Wembley since I got my season ticket in 2010 is that I’ve watched all cup games in the West Side.
A mild panic set in. I started Googling ‘which side is the lucky side at Wembley?’, hoping not to find that my suspicions were correct and no team in the history of any cup game played at Wembley had ever won with their supporters in the East Side. That of course didn’t really help, as FAQs from Yahoo and other search engines merely brought up witty responses like: “The lucky side of Wembley is the winning side”.
Har-de-effin-Har Lee7294910, this is an emergency here and you’re making jokes? Can’t you see a man’s sanity is at stake here??
Googling answers to questions like the ones I posed rarely return fruitful results, merely more questions as you find other superstitions to terrify you. Like the fact there is a ‘lucky’ dressing room which is the East dressing room.
Ahh, mild relief, as we’re in that dressing room. But wait a second, this other article from 2012 states that the ‘home’ dressing room, which is where the England players get changed, is the lucky one. Plus, there’s a psychological boost to feeling like you’re at ‘home’, isn’t there?
This is all getting too much. Then I find out that we’re in our away kit and will play in yellow. YELLOW! WHAT DOES THAT MEAN! WHAT SORT OF SIGN IS THAT!?!?!
I’m going to have to counter all of this negative superstition with a dose of my own personal rituals.
Lucky socks, you’re getting worn. It doesn’t matter if it’s a nice day and you’re fleeced on the inside, on you go.
Yellow Invincibles replica kit, you’re back for the final, do your stuff.
Three drains? I’ll long jump you bar stewards if I have to.
Rabbits foot? Well there might be a pet down the street I could use. But I don’t really feel like butchering one, so does it still count if I rub it against me?
And if I see a magpie, I’ll goose step all the way home, just to be doubly sure. Heck, if I see a Newcastle fan, I’ll doff my cap. Even if I haven’t got one. I’ll borrow one from a passing old man. Unless there isn’t an old man near. Perhaps I can hire an old man with a flat cap to walk behind me a few paces until Saturday morning? Then I can borrow the cap if the need arises. Yes, that sounds like a perfectly acceptable and logical thing to do. After all, the FA Cup is at stake here.
Don’t all thank me now, just remember to thank me on Sunday, unless we lose. In which case I had nothing to do with it.
Unless I haven’t gone far enough to counter the luck…
…pants. I need to find some lucky pants.