Tuesday, 16 October 2007

The Rub of the Green

I don’t believe in luck. I think it’s invented by people who lack control of their lives and want to have something to cling onto.

There’s lots of superstition in football, and it has always amused me. Remember Alan Cork saying he wouldn’t shave until Sheffield United were knocked out of the F.A. Cup and then finding himself becoming gradually more hirsute as they surprisingly got to the semi-finals?

By the big day his grizzled beard made him look like Robinson Crusoe, and if they’d got to the final he would have resembled Shrek the Sheep, that poor cloud of a creature they found in a cave in New Zealand last year that hadn’t had a shear taken to it in its life!

What about ex-Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu, who believes he will always avoid bad luck on the pitch as “curses can't touch me because I wear my underwear inside out”?

Or Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea, famous for his heroic performance in the 1990 World Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out? He put his impressive penalty-saving record down to the fact that he urinated on the pitch before facing a spot kick!

Many Brazilian footballers take superstition a step further even than that: they believe it’s lucky to leave their new boots in a locker overnight with their old ones because they thing the older pair will teach the new ones all they know!

As you might guess from my disparaging tone I don't subscribe to such notions. I've never believed that there's such a thing as luck in football. You get slices of fortune because you are good. People used to say that Liverpool got too many penalties in the 1980s, but they spent more time in the opposing side's box than anyone else so they were bound to!

Likewise, I don't see why luck should even itself out throughout the season. Why should it? Each game is discrete, so why should a match next month be influenced by what happened last week?

Yet I'm starting to doubt. Is it just coincidence that ridiculous slices of bad fortune keep happening to Wrexham? We seem to get a new bolt out of the blue every couple of games at the moment. We've often been poor in the last couple of years, and that would explain a lot of our misfortune, but what about last Saturday? For two away games in a row we'd played well, we were completely in control with ten minutes left, then had our third ludicrous red card of the season against lucky Macclesfield, going on to concede two in injury time, the winner being a mishit cross!

It's tricky for someone who doesn't believe in luck to confront the notion that we might just be the unluckiest side around at the moment, so I’ve decided to stick to my principles and declare that there’s no such thing as luck! The fact that we haven’t had our just desserts in recent weeks, months, years even, is just an unfortunate pattern, and basic probability suggests that this pattern will soon change.

Before long our decent play will get a fair reward. Before long the misfortunes that have occurred to us will stop, and we’ll benefit from some good fortune. There’s no such thing as luck, and our season will pick up soon. Touch wood.

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