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Leeds United Are Unlucky?

Leeds United Are Unlucky?

Leeds United fans consider themselves to be the unluckiest football fans in the UK, according to new research revealed today by The National Lottery.

The study is the largest piece of research into luck and football in Britain, capturing over 2000 football fans’ attitudes to luck and the beautiful game. Of all the Leeds fans surveyed, 94% consider the club to have been unlucky or even ‘cursed’ last season following its near bankruptcy and relegation from the Championship. This unlucky sentiment is echoed nationally by other UK fans who voted Leeds as the second unluckiest club in the country (17%) – second only to Sheffield United (29%).

In particular, Leeds fans feel aggrieved with referees, with an overwhelming 85% thinking decisions went against them last season. Penalty decisions did not fare much better, with 70% claiming Leeds Utd was ill-fated.

Other key findings for Elland Road fans include:



  • A third (33%) are superstitious enough to carry a good luck charm or keep to a ritual before each game

  • A whopping 97% of fans believe that luck plays an important role in the outcome of the game

  • Certain ‘omens’ and ‘signs’ are seen to affect team luck – almost a quarter of fans (24%) believe that certain referees can spell doom, while 12% think betting on their team impacts on their luck

  • One United fan elaborated on his pre-match ritual by saying he has to touch the tunnel with both his fists, when he enters and leaves the stadium, to give Leeds the best chance.


  • 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. An overwhelming 85% of respondents 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 United 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 (61%), while Sheffield United is the team Whites fans feel has the worst luck in the football community (15%).

    Fans also believe some managers blame negative match results on bad luck too often. Almost a third (30%) named Alex Ferguson as the worst offender; José Mourinho came a close second, with a quarter of the votes (25%), while Neil Warnock was in third position (20%).

    The research was conducted online by Football Fans Census among 2013 fans of English and Scottish League Football Clubs between 3 August and 8 August 2007.

    It should be noted that the following clubs supporters were quizzed: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Bristol City, Bristol Rovers, Cardiff City, Celtic, Chelsea, Derby County, Everton, Fulham, Ipswich Town, Leeds United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesborough, Newcastle United, Norwich City, Portsmouth, Rangers, Reading, Southampton, Sunderland, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Wigan Athletic.


    All about Camelot: To date, over £20 billion has been raised for Good Causes by The National Lottery, and more than 270,000 individual awards have been made across the UK – the biggest programme of civic and social regeneration since the 19th Century. The National Lottery has given away over £29 billion in prizes and created more than 2,000 millionaires or multi-millionaires since launch in 1994.

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    Writer:LUFC1
    Date:Friday September 14 2007
    Time: 8:03PM

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