Writer: Alejandra Solis
Date:Saturday January 19 2008
According to research revealed by The National Lottery, 98% of Latics fans say that Wigan Athletic was not lucky at the JJB Stadium last season, yet more than eight out of 10 fans (83%) say that luck plays a role in the outcome of a game.
The study is the largest piece of research into luck and football in Britain, capturing over 2,000 football fans` attitudes to luck and the beautiful game.
Supporting this feeling of bad luck at the JJB Stadium, only 15% of Wigan fans questioned felt they had been lucky last season, despite surviving on the final day of the last season after a 2-1 win against relegation rivals, Sheffield United, which kept them in the Premiership.
Despite surviving the drop, Latics fans predictably felt aggrieved with referees, with 58% - the highest number among all the teams researched - thinking they were very unlucky with the way decisions went last season.
Penalty decisions did not fare much better, with three quarters of fans (75%) claiming Wigan was unlucky or even 'cursed` in the penalty box.
Other key findings for the Latics fans include:
• Only 17% of fans consider themselves superstitious, compared to a national average of 27%
• Certain 'omens` and 'signs` are seen to affect team luck - a third (33%) of those who adopt good luck rituals before a game think avoiding a bet on their team impacts on their luck, 25% believe that certain referees can spell doom, while 10% of fans always take the same route to the ground
One Wigan fan elaborates on his pre-match ritual by saying that the little red interactive button on the TV has to be off if watching the team play. Another never uses the toilet before a game.
Psychologist and author, Dr Linda Papadopoulos, who worked together with The National Lottery on the research, said: "In order to deal with chance and fate, many people develop a philosophy based on their previous experience - in the case of football fans, they adopt certain rituals and external signs such as the weather or a certain referee become good or bad 'omens`.
"If they are unable to follow this ritual or change their routine and they experience bad luck, this cements their philosophy even further and convinces them that their actions directly impact the result."
The research also found that fans can feel the impact of their team`s luck away from the football ground. The vast majority of respondents (92%) say they feel personally luckier when their club performs well.
Dr Linda Papadopoulos comments: "The link between team performance and personal luck is often down to the importance of football to an individual and how much they`ve invested emotionally in their team.
Feeling lucky is strongly linked to your frame of mind. If something we invest in, e.g. a football team and it does well, then we feel positive as a result.
So if your team is performing well, this puts you in a positive frame of mind, which in turn makes you feel luckier in your own life."
The attitude of Latics fans towards other British clubs was also explored. Like most fans across the UK they feel that Manchester United is the luckiest club in the UK (33%), while Sheffield United is the team they think is unluckiest in the football community (44%).
Wigan fans also believe some managers blame negative match results on bad luck too often, with four out of 10 (40%) naming José Mourinho as the worst offender.
The research was conducted online by Football Fans Census among 2013 fans of 30 English and Scottish League Football Clubs between 3 August and 8 August 2007.
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Date:Saturday January 19 2008
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