I had my lucky shirt on last Saturday. I figured that it was probably the least that I could do as I was watching the FA Cup final at home, alone and keeping as quiet as possible so that everyone else in the house could get their sleep.
I blame that on the FA. Fans in England might have had reason to complain about the inconvenience of the 5.15pm kick-off but what about us fans in Asia? In Singapore, the match kicked off at the very family-friendly time of 12.15am which basically ruined any chance of my four-year-old son watching his first FA Cup final live.
There were of course organised gatherings by the local fan clubs for the live TV screenings in this part of the world. About 120 Blues fans were at the Esplanade in Singapore while an impressive 1,500 showed up for the gathering in Jakarta (and then trooped off to a city landmark – the Bundaran HI water fountain to celebrate the victory afterwards).
I would have gone to the Esplanade but having spent the entire day with two energetic toddlers, I was hardly in the best state to make the journey from the suburbs to the city to watch the game.
So I made do with watching the game in my aforementioned lucky shirt – the home blue kit from 1999-00 similar to the one worn by Robbie when he smashed in the winner in the last FA Cup final at the old Wembley. It is not my favourite Chelsea shirt and it is probably the most uncomfortable to wear in the tropics given its thick polyester. But it has proven to be lucky for me, so far.
Now let me say first of all that I am not generally a superstitious person and I do not think that anything that I do has a direct effect on the fortunes of the football team that I support 10,000 kilometres away. But I’ve made it a habit to wear the shirt while watching the Blues in every FA Cup final since 2007 when I got together with five Man U-supporting friends and went absolutely mental when Didier poked home the winner in extra-time.
That habit has only been reinforced as we have won every subsequent FA Cup final when I have worn it. It worked in 2009 and 2010 when I attended the fan gatherings. And it worked once again this year as I jumped about in my flat, punching the air and cheering (silently) when Ramires and Drogba found the net and JT and Lamps lifted the Cup yet again.
Normally, I would have packed away the shirt by now but of course, there is still one more final to be played on May 19. And while I don’t think that my sartorial decision on that day will be as important as Robbie’s team selection, I am sure that I will be thinking hard about what I will be wearing before that kick-off in Munich.
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