Leeds United’s latest manager Neil Warnock shares a superstitious personality similar to that of the great Don Revie.
On an unbeaten run, Neil Warnock’s matchday routine follows the exact same sequence of events as the week previous. From following the same route to the ground, wearing the same lucky suit and living in constant fear of seeing a solitary Magpie, Warnock told The Sun in 2007 that ”I won’t even visit the toilet until the players are on the pitch. There are 300 different superstitions”.
Perhaps the most bizarre of Warnock’s reported superstitions is a fascination with traffic lights, whereby he’ll stop at them all on the way home following a win – regardless of whether or not they’re on red!
Warnock will also try to replicate everything he did before the next game, once admitting he’d been using the same razorblade for three and a half weeks. During his time at QPR, the Leeds United manager also refused to give press conferences during an unbeaten run in fear of “jinxing” his team.
Don Revie was perhaps the most famous of football’s great superstitious minds with his threadbare lucky suit and Gypsy curses, but such irrational thinking is not uncommon. Former England striker Gary Lineker revealed he never shot on goal during pre-match warm-ups in fear of losing his “good shots” whilst Jermaine Defoe admitted he always has his hair cut before games.
Sports psychologist Dr. Richard Lustberg reveals that superstitions are no bad thing for sports stars. They can provide a huge boost of confidence, and help individuals deal with the inherent pressures involved;
“Superstitions are a coping mechanism to deal with the pressure to succeed,
“Athletes begin to believe- they, in fact, want to believe- that their routine of choice is enhancing their performance. In reality, it is just practice and confidence that make them perform better.
“If a player has success in sports, it’s more than likely because of practice and skill.
“But if the player attributes his or her success to some type of different act, such as wearing a certain article of clothing or repeating some kind of routine, the player will repeat the act. As a result, the player’s confidence will rise, and this increased confidence allows the player to perform at a higher level.”