The curse of number 11

Us football fans can often be paranoid over certain things. My one at the moment is only having one pint before kick-off at an away game and making sure I finish it. If I do that we won’t lose.

Cardiff a few seasons ago I had two pints and what happened? – we lost. Napoli away I failed to finish it due to a rush for the bus – again we were defeated.

My somewhat deluded belief now is that if I don’t have one pint I am cursing the team and we will end up losing. Absolute codswallop I know but this is how football fans somehow think. This belief got me thinking about another possible curse at Swansea City and it involves the number eleven shirt.

At the Vetch there never seemed to be a problem with it. For most of my youth Jonathan Coates worse this number, I wouldn’t say it was cursed with him mainly because he was crap. No number would have changed that. Lenny Johnrose wore it in 2003/4 and did a job before Adrian Forbes took up the for the final year at the Vetch.

Forbesy was a trier and we all love a trier. Not the most gifted player but he did his best. And he forever has a place in Swansea folklore after scoring the last league goal at our former home and then the winner at Bury the week after to secure promotion from the Football League’s basement division.

All was going swimmingly at this point. His exploits made him a hero with the fans and he was one of the first names on Kenny Jackett’s team-sheet as we prepared to move to the Liberty Stadium. However this is where the curse set in. The number eleven clearly isn’t as fond of the Liberty Stadium as the Vetch Field and whoever dons the shirt will not excel.

Forbes got injured in the third game of the following campaign, Leon Britton took his place and he never managed to regain it from him and was subsequently released in the summer of 2006.

Rory Fallon then changed from 29 to take his number hoping it would bring him more luck after a dismal start to his Swansea career. He fared no better and when Plymouth offered us our money back on him we snapped their hands off.

He was replaced by Pawel Abbott from Huddersfield who would also wear eleven. His time in south Wales was a total disaster, just one goal from eighteen appearances. Ironically he scored more in one half against us for the Terriers a month before joining!

Roberto Martinez duly showed him the door after taking over and Darryl Duffy was handed his squad number after joining permanently from Hull City. We had high hopes for Duffy after he scored five goals in eight appearances at the back end of the 2006/7 season. It was all downhill from there though; he struck just once in twenty appearances and left after one season for Bristol Rovers. Bet he wishes he’d stuck with 24 which he wore during his loan spell!

Mark Gower was next to take the number which was now starting to look as if it was cursing anyone who took it. The winger who had joined from Southend had a reputation as someone who chipped in with his fair share of goals having struck seventeen times in the last two campaigns. Despite this impressive record he too would fail to live up to expectations and despite several near misses he failed to find the net all season. Acknowledging that he needed a change of luck he decided to change to number 27 thereafter.

Another new signing was the next man to wear 11 and it was Dutchman Cedric Van Der Gun. He would become the first man to keep the shirt for two years since Forbes. He flattered to deceive during his time at the Liberty and as the Swans made the top flight Brendan Rodgers told him where to go. Our star man decided he wanted to take his number for our first season as a Premier League club and I bet he wishes he hadn’t. Scott Sinclair scored 27 times to help us secure promotion to the top flight but he just wasn’t the same player once we got there. Many fans couldn’t understand it but it was starting to become more obvious to me what the problem was. That stupid number eleven shirt!

I was hoping once he’d left for Manchester City that we would leave it vacant but what did we do? Put our record signing in it that’s what! Pablo Hernandez arrived in south Wales with a big reputation but like so many before him who had chosen that squad number he failed to show his true potential and departed two years later with many fans feeling he could have done so much more.

For the 2014/5 season Marvin Emnes took over the cursed shirt. He got injured at the start of that season but did appear 22 times following although many of those were from the bench. The following campaign would see him play just four games and he spent the final year of his contract on loan at Blackburn before finally being released.

His compatriot Luciano Narsingh was next, and you could argue he’s one of the worst of all, not that he pulled up any trees in the previous six months whilst wearing the number 28. His one notable moment during his time at the club was scoring a late winner at Watford in Carlos Carvalhal’s first game in charge, other than that it was disastrous. He made just two sub appearances last season and was subsequently released.

That leads us to Kristoffer Peterson, the latest player to take the number eleven and it’s fair to say that you can add his name to the list of players affected by the curse. He was expected to be a key player under Steve Cooper, but playing just ten times for the Swans he has been shipped back to Utrecht who we signed him from in the summer.

Ridiculous isn’t it?

Of course I could be completely paranoid. After all do curses really exist? Would those players above careers have turned out differently if they had elected a different squad number? We will never know for sure but all I do know is that poxy shirt needs to be retired as much as I need to keep having that away day pint!