Among the upmty-seven hours of continuous radio coverage ahead of England’s match with Slovenia today, there was an interview with Clive Woodward on how he would advise them to prepare. Towards the end he was asked if he had any pre-match superstitions and he said that no, he wasn’t a superstitious person.
Except that he always sat at the front of the coach on the way to the match. On the left. And he was always the last to get off the coach when they arrived because he insisted on shaking the hand of every player as they got off. So not very superstitious at all then.
But a lot of us do it, casting our mind back to what we did the last time England played well, assuming your memory is good enough, so we can repeat the routine. Which is rather egotistical, as if they are playing just for us and no-one else in the country.
How many times have I said, “I’ll go and make a cup of tea. They always score when I make the tea.” Or, “Oh no, the match is on BBC. We never win on the Beeb.”
Mrs P appeared this morning wearing an strappy top emblazoned with a Cross of St George that has sat in a drawer since the last World Cup. Then she had second thoughts when she remembered that England were knocked out the last time she wore it, until common sense cut across the superstition — if she only wears it every World Cup and only until England are knocked out, ultimately it has to be an unlucky talisman.