Kolo Toure and the Top 10 sporting superstitions
Published 12:36 25/02/09 By By Chris Wilson, Mirror.co.uk
During Arsenal's Champions League victory last night defender Kolo Toure was booked when his superstition brought him bad luck.
Toure insists on being the last player out of the dressing room but had to wait for William Gallas to receive treatment during the break and, when they both missed the start of the second half, he was given a yellow card.
Sport stars and superstitions go hand in hand as this top ten proves.
1. Goran Ivanisevic
The tennis star must have been a nightmare to live with during a tournament because his quirky superstitions spilled off the court into his general life. During a match he would always try to be the second player up for their seat following a break and avoided stepping on the court lines. Away from the court, however, things were even more strange. If he won a match at a tournament, he would repeat everything he did the previous day, such as eating the same food at the same restaurant, talking to the same people and watching the same TV programmes. One year this meant he had to watch Teletubbies every morning during his Wimbledon campaign. "Sometimes, it got very boring," he wrote on his website.
2. Jack Russell
Of all sports cricket has thrown up more superstitious characters than most, and arguably the most superstitious of them all is former England wicketkeeper Jack Russell. The diminutive glovesman insisted on using one teabag to make all his brews during a five-day Test match, and would hang the bag on his peg to dry out between cups. He also ate two Weetabix for lunch everyday, and made sure the cereal had been soaked for precisely eight minutes. Russell's biggest superstition though was clothing-based - he refused to change his hat or wicketkeeping pads throughout his career so by the time he retired they were threadbare, smelly bits of kit that fellow team members tried to avoid. On one occasion in 1998, during an England tour of the West Indies, Russell was asked to wear the blue England cap instead of his favourite white hat. He refused and, according to Mike Atherton, this is how the conversation unfolded.
Atherton: "Jack, will you wear an England cap?"
Atherton: "Is there any way we can find a compromise solution?"
Stewart: "Well, if Jack's going to wear his hat, I'm going to wear my white, not blue, helmet."
Hussain: "If the Gaffer's going to wear his white helmet I'd like to wear my favourite baseball cap to field in."
3. Mark Schwarzer
The Australian goalie has worn the same shin pads since he was 16. The superstitious shot-stopper refuses to change them because they bring him good luck. Shame they haven't brought Fulham much luck since he joined them.
4. Paul Ince
Another footballer with a superstitious nature is Paul Ince who insisted on being the last to leave the changing room and would always pull his shirt on as he ran down the tunnel for good luck. He should have tried it when managing Blackburn.
5. Sergio Goycochea
Argentina keeper Goycochea had the unpleasant habit of urinating on the pitch ahead of penalty shoot-outs. Apparently he did it once when desperate for a pee, and it worked to he repeated the act. "Until a match finishes you cannot leave the field of play. And if you have any natural human urges, you have to go on the field. So that is what happened in the 1990 World Cup quarter final against Yugoslavia. I went and we won," he explained. "There was another shoot out in the semi final against Italy so I went again and we won again. It was my lucky charm and I went before every shoot out. I was very subtle, nobody complained."
6. Mark Ramprakash
Ex England batsman turned Strictly Come Dancer Mark Ramprakash is another cricketer with a strange superstitious tick. Ramps would always chew the same piece of chewing gum throughout an innings, and stick it to the top of his bat if he was not out overnight. He once batted for 10 hours, spread out over three days, which must have left him with a pretty tired jaw.
7. Neil McKenzie
The most eccentric cricket story we've heard in a while features South African opening bat Neil McKenzie. He had a habit of taping his bat to the ceiling before each innings and insisted that every toilet seat in the dressing room was down when he went out to bat. Crazy.
8. David Campese
Big, butch rugby playing types have superstitions too. Just ask Aussie winger David Campese who would always sit in the seat next to the coach driver on the way to matches and, like Paul Ince, insisted on running on to the pitch last.
9. Serena Williams
Tennis ace Serena Williams blamed her failure to win last year's French Open on her superstitions. "I didn't tie my laces right and I didn't bounce the ball five times and I didn't bring my shower sandals to the court with me," she said. "I didn't have my extra dress. I just knew fate, it wasn't going to happen."
10. David Shepherd
The lovable cricket umpire was known for his habit of hopping around on one leg whenever the score reached 111, 222, 333, etc as the numbers are said to be a bad omen for cricketers because the figures "111" resemble a wicket without bails. The number is known as 'Nelson', after Lord Nelson, who allegedly only had one eye, one arm and one testicle.
11. One more for luck
Barry Venison on his superstitions: "I always used to put on my right boot first - and then obviously my right sock."