As football fans we are superstitious. I am not, by nature, and I will quite happily drop mirrors, walk under ladders and stand on the cracks in the pavement.
Why then when it comes to football, the smallest change in my routine, followed by a unexpected turn of events leading to an Arsenal win, makes me continue to do that same absurd ritual, week after week, until the curse of the superstition is broken?
Here’s an example. I watch the majority of Arsenal matches in The Chatter House bar in Delhi, the home of Arsenal Delhi Supporter’s Club. The washroom has 8 urinals. Like many others, I enjoy a beer or six before, during and after the game. The downside of this is the need to visit the washroom on a frequent basis. I am not one of those lucky men who can sink 10 pints of lager and then, at the end of the evening, let it all out in one long 10 minute performance. For me it’s little and often. As I once heard the great Ian Wright say in an interview, “once the seal is broken, it’s broken” (I’m not sure how the subject got around to toilet etiquette).
Therefore, I find myself constantly to and from the washroom. Moving as quickly as possible to avoid missing any major incident in the game, I dread the roar or groan when we score or concede a goal. In the early part of the season I selected urinal number 2 or 3. No specific reason, I just did. This resulted in an amazing run of form for the Gunners, scoring 3 against United, 3 against Watford, 2 against Everton and another 3 against Swansea (do you see the pattern?) This must be all down to my choice of urinal? Using number 2 first, then moving to number 3 if we needed a goal, or the game was already won and I wanted more excitement.
This strategy can be somewhat embarrassing when the washroom is empty except for one lone figure utilizing your urinal of good fortune. Starting a queue can look strange in these circumstances.
Then I became over-confident. Availing number 3 at the start of the game against Spurs proved my undoing. A 1 – 1 draw briefly challenged my belief. I then noticed a slight crack in the porcelain and I knew that it was time to move on.
That is when I flirted with urinal number 6. I had been to the UK for 6 weeks and returned to Delhi for the Burnley game. We are currently 5 games unbeaten and I really think that I may have just found the lucky one. Put your money on Arsenal to win the league. After all, what could go wrong?