Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughFootball’s unluckiest - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Football’s unluckiest - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Football’s unluckiest

When it comes to football, the old adage ‘you make your own luck’ is fairly redundant. Despite copious planning from players and managers alike, the game is riddled with superstition and ill fortune. Just ask Phil Babb’s plums. 

Many of these unfortunate events are pure comedy for us football fans. There are the unwanted records; for example Nigel Quashie’s reputation as the Grim Reaper of the Premier League, with four relegations and a near-miss with West Ham. 

Special mention must also go to Gareth Bale for his top-flight  record of 24 games without a win after joining Spurs. It was allegedly enough for Fergie to tell his good mate ‘Arry not to pick him. 

Injuries are another rich source of entertainment. Who could forget Dave Beasant and the salad cream, Darius Vassell and the power drill, and the many episodes of footballers and the pesky remote control. 

Owen Hargreaves has continued the fine tradition of sicknote English midfielders, as started by Jamie Redknapp and Darren Anderton, but his injury problems hardly wrinkle the laughter lines. The relentless midfielder overcame his role as England’s laughing stock to establish himself as one of his country’s stars, and join Manchester United….only for his knees to resemble that of an OAP. 

The curly Canadian’s plight is similar to David Smallman, a talented Everton striker of the 1970’s, who spent a whopping 50 months on the treatment table at Goodison, managing just 23 games in five years. 

Cases of extreme bad luck have seen clubs turn to priests to bless their pitches, as was the case with Unibond Premier Division side Marine FC. A spate of broken bones, floodlight failure and a betting inquiry that saw four players suspended by the FA, prompted chairman Paul Leary to call for the services of Father John Ealey to banish any demons from the club in a bid to improve their season. 

If only Manchester United had a priest and not grey shirts at The Dell in April 1996. The ‘Theatre of Dreams’ became the theatre of excuses as Southampton’s 3-0 half-time lead was attributed to the fact they couldn’t see each other. I had no problem seeing United’s players that day, or less than six months later when Saints beat United, clad in blue, 6-3. 

But football’s greatest exponent of superstition is Raymond Domenech, former France ‘manager’ and part-time astrologist. Reports suggested that he refused to pick Robert Pires because he was an untrustworthy Scorpio. Domenech also disliked Leos. “When I have got a Leo in defence, I’ve always got my gun ready, as I know he’s going to want to show off one moment or another and cost us.” What luck he had to stay in a job for six years. 

James Riley

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