I was reminded recently of an old superstition that I had, which never failed to help Villa win… Actually, I had several Villa-related superstitions. If they somehow failed to work in any given week, I simply concluded that I must have been doing something wrong.

At the height of my ridiculously superstitious spell, I was aged around thirteen. I used to have to hide a whisker each Saturday morning; if anyone found it, Villa would be defeated. With the benefit of hindsight, I realise that this was an utterly nonsensical thing to do but I can honestly say that I truly believed in its power in those days.

Secondly, I used to have to be good. In some ways it was more of a religion than a superstition. If Villa lost, I knew I had somehow failed in my mission. When I was younger, Aston Villa rarely lost, at least it seemed that way, so it was easier to believe I had somehow influenced the outcome of a particular game.

Another superstitious soul is the owner of this website, Stuart. He told me recently that when Villa win a game he will try to wear the same clothes to the next game he attends – all the way down to the underwear!

Now that I am 32 years old, I have no superstitions. I know lots of players have them but at least they can influence a game in some way. Scoring sensation Benteke explained why he’s still wearing the number 20 shirt rather than the more prestigious number 9 one: “When I came to Villa, I took the number 20 shirt – and now I don’t want to change. Why would I? I had a really good season. I was happy with the season and the number. There’s no reason to change. It’s a bit of superstition I suppose.”

It seems that Aston Villa goalkeepers are more superstitious than most, with Shay Given placing a vial of holy water from Lourdes in the back of his goal and David James conducting a complex pre-match ritual that involved going to the urinals and spitting on the wall!

So, what about everyone else? There must be some people with claret and blue superstitions, past or present, that are just as embarrassing as my youthful ones.


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