Football superstitions: Bobby Moore’s shorts

Footballers and athletes of all kinds work hard to keep bad luck away. In the seminal autobiography written by former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Ken Dryden, he wrote of the habits and superstitions players went through before, during and after ice hockey games to keep the luck going. Football superstitions are a real thing and it is easy to see them when players run onto the pitch, crossing themselves after touching the ground.

One of the more unique football superstitions belonged to former West Ham and England national team player Bobby Moore. The England legend made sure that he was the last player in the dressing room to put on his shorts. If he didn’t put his shorts on after everyone else, Moore would “change the luck” of himself, team, and teammates.

Moore’s football superstition was well-known to his teammates and that enabled Martin Peters to play a joke on him. After Moore put on his shorts in the dressing room after all of his teammates, Peters would take his shorts off. The move by Peters forced Moore to start his superstition all over gain. He would take off his shorts and wait until Peters put his back on. The duo would be at a standoff on occasions daring the other to put their shorts back on before going out onto the pitch.

Moore’s strange football match ritual could have helped England win the 1966 World Cup. In more recent years, research found that a lucky charm helped university students perform better on tests. Does a lucky charm or ritual before, during, or after a game work?

The question is difficult to answer. It seems to be down to the person as a ritual enables a football player to be comfortable and relaxed on the pitch. If everything is in order mentally, it enables a player to relax and get on with playing the game.

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