I almost didn’t get my hair cut earlier today in the belief that my shorn locks would somehow drain the undefeated powers from 11 (or 14) footballers in their match at Southport tonight.
It’s the kind of superstition that has blighted my relationship with football for oh, I don’t know – about the last ten years. It’s not healthy and I don’t like it because it’s got me doing ridiculous things – like deliberately walking up Park View instead of Elliston Street to get to Blundell Park because we kept throwing away 2-0 leads when I walked up Elliston Street.
The thing is, we’ve probably lost when I’ve taken the Park View route, but those occasions are, for one reason or another, not lodged in my brain. During one season I went absolutely bat shit crazy and even dared to put our relatively good form down to the packet of Skittles I used to buy religiously from the corner shop on the way to the ground. It’s insane and I know it’s insane, which is why I have never revealed these sorded battles with my illogical mind to anyone else. Until now, obviously.
But I know that other people have them too. In a home game against Bradford a few years ago, one of my friends blamed a last-minute defeat on another friend because he refused to take a lucky spearmint Polo when the scores were locked at 1-1.
Anyway, for one reason or another I wasn’t able to watch or listen to Town’s match at Southport tonight. I had my iPhone on me though, but I hadn’t really given any thought to how I was going to keep track of the score throughout the evening. A part of me considered that I would just try my best to completely ignore it and check the score at full time, but quashing 90 minutes of hope with a second’s glance at half nine didn’t sit well with me.
A few years ago – even last year – I would have had a coping mechanism. It would have been structured and organised and, chances are, I wouldn’t have deviated from the plan for fear that it would cause an opposition goal.
In the end I just checked the latest score on my phone when I felt like it. It was as simple as that. In seasons gone by I probably would’ve checked every ten minutes, but then given the next ten-minute checkpoint a miss had we gone 1-0 down or something. And if we had gone 1-0 up I would’ve increased my frequency to every five minutes.
But things have changed. Town just keep on winning, no matter what I or any other superstitious supporter does.These victories have cured my superstitious stupidity.
I’m breaking all these so-called jinxes. I took the Elliston Street route to the match when we beat Telford 2-0 at the end of January and I haven’t actually bought a pre-match packet of Skittles since last season. In fact I’m going out of my way to do all the things I once avoided doing because, deep down, I’ve always acknowledged that my actions are not intrinsically linked to what a set of football players do on a football pitch.
The last time I had my hair cut? The day we lost to Salisbury in the FA Cup. But I’ve done a lot of growing up since then and so that’s why I chose to have my hair cut today – and Town still won at Southport. I feel there have been two victories today.