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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

I'd rather be lucky than good...

Red shirts? They're not all lucky!
I played football last week. In the interests of complete disclosure I should point out that I'm such a bad player than FIFA have threatened to charge me with besmirching the game for simply turning up with my football kit. That being said I played last night and wore my Panama away shirt. I played so badly in it that I may well retire the shirt and never play in it again. I fully expect a strongly worded of letter of complaint from the Panamanian ambassador for bringing his country's good name into disrepute so poor was my performance. That led me to think about how some of the shirts in my collection are lucky, some are unlucky and some are Greenock Morton shirts. I'm not suggesting that my footballing nadir was down to anything else than a profound lack of ability, fitness and a physique based on a cheese and cider diet but does a lucky or unlucky shirt pay a psychological part?

I read a recent report suggesting that team playing in red shirts were more successful than other teams statistically speaking. This makes sense when you consider dominant teams which play in red such as Man U, Liverpool and of course Brechin City. Then again is it perhaps that quite a lot of teams play in red as opposed to say green or purple. For every Benfica that play in red there's an Accrington Stanley or Dom Pedro II.

Looking through the collection there's a fair few lucky and unlucky shirts from my own experience of pond life level football. Some like Ghana are lucky because of a volley taken at full tilt without breaking stride with my right foot on a ball coming over my left shoulder. Some like Liverpool away are lucky because of a (so rare as to be almost mythical) night when I could do no wrong. Some, like Partizan Belgrade just have an aura that gives the confidence that leads to a good performance. On the flip side there's some shirts that have bad feeling to them like Servette away which I wore one night when I stunk the place out and one of the guys I played with had a seizure or Heernveen which I had on when I sustained and embarrassingly self inflicted ankle injury.

I'm not suggesting that the shirts have any mystical powers but that there's a psychological effect which can lead to a greater confidence and self belief or on the other side of the coin, cause a lack of confidence.

Does this apply in the big bad world of real footballers? Look at Glasgow Rangers old violet third shirts which seemed to be cursed or Man U's famous grey away shirt that was scrapped at half time when they were getting a roasting from Southampton or even Diadora's last Scotland away shirt which saw Scotland score no goals and concede loads. Maybe there's something in the psychological aspect of a shirt, maybe not. What do you reckon? Leave a comment about what you think were lucky or unlucky shirts.





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