Sacrificing Chickens

Last updated : 09 February 2009 By The Blue Pimpernel
A recent posting on the Millwall Mad messageboard recalled the moment a Lions fan sacrificed a chicken to the football gods in return for the club winning promotion. Of course, before any animal rights groups get in contact to protest, it should be pointed out that the chicken comprised of a box of chicken-flavoured crisps that were apparently devoured in one sitting the weekend before the game. Whatever the reasoning behind it, it obviously worked but the posting got me thinking. Just how far would you go to ensure a Millwall victory?

Many fans have their own little rituals that must be performed religiously before or during a game. Be it that lucky fag before kick-off (now smoked secretively in various parts of the ground since the smoking ban), that lucky shirt or even that lucky turnstile that must be walked through when gaining entrance to the ground. It may have started off as a laugh but if you fail to perform it and The Lions lose, you just know its your fault...

I have fallen victim to this trap in the past. The 1995/96 season was a bad year for everyone but as Millwall slipped down the table I and my mates tried everything to bring The Lions a bit of luck. Changed seats, changed shirts, changed lucky underpants... It didn't matter, no matter what we did we lost and ended up getting relegated. After that, I became fixated with these little quirks and got quite paranoid about fans who upset the seat gods.

The seat gods, I hear you cry? Yes, the seat gods. They're not that well known in footballing circles but upset them at your peril. The basis of this belief was as follows: If anyone moved or changed seats, the other side scored. A relative of mine thought this was a load of tosh but one evening, at a midweek game against Fulham they decided to move seats after finding themselves next to a particularly drunk fan who had somehow managed to gain access to the ground. No sooner and they sat down in their new seat than Fulham went and scored, against the run of play.

Other fans have their own little quirks including one who insisted on buying a family-sized pack of wine gumes before a game and devouring them before half-time because they had done it on the first day of the season and witnessed a 4-0 victory. By the end of that season they were so sick of wine gums that the mere sight of one brings on a bout of nautiousness.

Another supporter risks a bladder infection by refusing to go to the toilet at half-time as everytime he's ever been - including the AWS Shield Final in 1999 - Millwall have lost...!

However, the funniest one involved the record "Keep On Moving" by long-gone boyband Five. Another relative of mine noticed that everytime the club's tannoy announcer played the above record before a home game, The Lions won. When he failed to, we didn't. So they took the unprecedented step of writing to the club to insist that they played the song before every game. And to our surprise they did. For the next four seasons. Now, I am not saying it worked or anything but in those four seasons The Lions won a Championship, reached the play-offs and the FA Cup Final, qualifying for the UEFA Cup in the process.

Of course, the various talents of Tim Cahill, Steven Reid, Neil Harris, Richard Sadlier and the like could have had something to do with it. But deep down, we all know that we could not have done it without the talents of Five.

Sacrificing A Chicken
Match Day Rituals