Football's strangest fan superstitions - and what they really mean 6 months ago

Football's strangest fan superstitions - and what they really mean

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You are bound to recognise yourself here...

Practically every football fan has some sort of ritual they go through or superstition they adhere to when watching football in the belief that their actions will somehow affect the performance of the players on the pitch.

Deep down they know that they won't, but they persist regardless.

So we asked our resident psychiatrist Dr Ciara Knight (who is not a doctor and has no psychiatry training whatsoever) to run the rule over some football fan's frankly bizarre rituals...

The Disciplinarian

I often watch football with my brother and my dad. We all have our dedicated seats around the living room (Dad must have optimum view of the television if Liverpool are playing). If things aren't going their way, my dad will instruct my brother to leave the room, hoping it leads to a goal. It seems mad, but the number of times that my brother leaving the room has coincided with Liverpool scoring cannot be a coincidence.

Dr Ciara's analysis

This level of superstition can be attributed to the type of person that arranges their DVDs in alphabetical order because they once saw that David Beckham had done it on MTV Cribs. If you think that sitting in a particular seat has some kind of magical power that can influence the outcome of a football match, you need to take a long but brisk walk through a forest until you emerge with a bit of logic. Mo Salah isn't holding back his ability to score a goal until he receives confirmation that your brother has left the TV room, sunshine.


The Escapist

I myself don’t have any particularly strange pre-match superstitions, my dad on the other hand is an entirely different kettle of bat shit. In 2012 when Manchester City were on the cusp of winning their first Premier League title, he decided watching the penultimate 'must-win' game of the season vs Newcastle would be too much of a jinx as well as a nerve shredder. His ritual? Drive from Manchester to Blackpool as the game was happening (radio off) and walk our West Highland White Terrier along the promenade, before driving back to his mate's house to find out the score. He's repeated the act a few times since to the utter bemusement of our family. To be fair, it worked.

Dr Ciara's analysis

I am sorry to inform you that your Dad is in need of immediate intervention. Your father's behaviour belongs in an episode of Black Mirror, with Charlie Brooker giving him an unexplained limp and an accompanying pipe for reasons that we cannot even begin to comprehend. Unless your Dad is the second coming of the Messiah and possesses the ability to influence sporting events with the power of driving and walking the legs off a tiny white dog, we need to look into getting him some help, and fast.

The Sacrificial Sweet

I used to do a really weird thing when I was very little going to games. When I went to QPR with my dad, he'd always buy a packet of sweets or mints for me. If QPR were losing in the last 5 or 10 minutes, I'd throw one of them on the floor, as if it was like a 'sacrifice' to help us get an equaliser. I don't where it came from, and it rarely worked.


Dr Ciara's analysis

I have alerted the Metropolitan Police to this confession and they are ecstatic to finally be able to put the infamous QPR Litterer case to bed. Lying to yourself about 'sacrificing' a sweet for the good of your team is a gateway to further problems down the line. This person is likely to be a hardened criminal by now, chucking packets of Wotsits at buses that don't arrive on time and sticking Chupa Chups to pensioners that take too long to put their change away at the checkout.

The Hygienist 

If United win, I wear the same shirt I had on to the next game. Only when they lose do I change it and the cycle begins again. I don't really know why, but I've done this since I was a kid and it's a habit I can't seem to get out of. I've been changing my shirts quite a bit the last 5 years.

Dr Ciara's analysis

This person is a scrub and understandably, TLC want nothing to do with him/her. There's no mention of actually washing the shirts, so it's safe to assume that that was an intentional omission. If there's genuinely a person out there that honestly believes their lack of hygiene is causing some sort of butterfly effect to secure a win for United, we need to band together as a community and give them a good stern talking to. Wash your damn clothes. If United win, nobody's going to want to hug you.


Taking it Personally

I used to walk out of the room for the last 10 minutes if United were losing as I felt I was bringing them bad luck. We once kicked my older sister out of the sitting room when United beat Chelsea in the 93/94 FA Cup final as she wasn't in the room when Cantona scored his first penalty and it would have messed with the universe if she was there for his second.

Dr Ciara's analysis

"Messed with the universe" lol ok pal. Although I don't know the universe personally, I'm pretty sure that it has other things to deal with than the likelihood of Cantona scoring a penalty whether someone's poor sister has been booted out of the sitting room or not. This person is bananas and should be ashamed of their behaviour. Their sister is merely a pawn in this sadistic act of superstition. Such actions will be remembered and have consequences on judgement day, you can be sure of that.

The Banter Merchant

I always pat our steward on the head when we go in. Started as a bit of a laugh one day when I was drunk. Do it every time I see him now.

Dr Ciara's analysis

Is this steward happy to provide his head for patting? Perhaps this person has unlocked the secrets of the universe. Patting one steward's head could well have the ability to end all wars, cure ailments, eradicate world hunger and pave the way for the head patter's team to win every game from now until the end of time. Or, bare with me, maybe this person is a mischievous little upstart who derives great pleasure out of others' discomfort. Either way, we're dealing with a freak.