Three of Football’s Strangest Curses

Tottenham have failed to win at Wembley so far this season and now the air is rife with the talk of a curse. So, with that in mind, we’re taking a look at three past and present curses throughout football. Spooky…

 

SL Benfica

Benfica won two Primeira Liga titles, the Taça de Portugal and two European Cups between 1959 and 1962. These accomplishments were achieved under the guidance of their Hungarian manager Béla Guttmann. After their second European Cup in 1962 Guttmann requested a pay rise considering all the success he had brought to the club. His request was denied and his contract subsequently terminated. As he left the club frustrated, he said “Not in a hundred years from now will Benfica ever be European Champion”.

In an attempt to break the curse, Eusébio, Benfica’s top scorer, prayed at Guttmann’s grave prior to the 1990 European Cup final. However, this didn’t have the desired effect as Benfica lost 1-0 to Milan that night. The curse is still causing Benfica problems as they have reached eight European cup finals, most recently in 2014 and have failed to win any.

 

Hibernian

Hibernian won the Scottish Cup in 1902 and in the next 114 years they would go on to win four league titles and three league cups, however the Scottish Cup would continue to elude them. Some believe the reason for this was a curse put on the club by a gypsy woman in the 1950’s. Renovation works were being carried out at Easter Stadium, the home of Hibernian, and a harp crest that had been displayed on the South Stand to symbolise the founding Irish roots, was removed. The crest was not replaced after the renovation was complete and so, the gypsy woman placed a curse to punish Hibernian until they replaced the harp.

Between 1902 and 2015, Hibernian lost ten consecutive Scottish Cup finals. However, during the 2015-2016 season, Hibernian’s badge, which includes the harp, was placed upon the West Stand. Less than eight months afterwards Hibernian beat Rangers 3-2 to claim their first Scottish Cup in over a century.

 

Australia

The socceroos were attempting to qualify for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. To try and reach the final round of qualification, they hired a witch doctor. The witch doctor buried bones near the goalposts and cursed the opposition – Rhodesia – who proceeded to lose 3-1 to Australia and everything had gone to plan. However, the witch doctor wasn’t paid and later cursed Australia as they went on to lose the final qualification round 2-1 to Israel.

In the next 32 years, they only qualified for one World Cup, a regrettable 1974 tournament in which they failed to score and were dumped out at the group stage. In 2004, John Safran, an Australian radio personality, hired another witch doctor to remove the curse. A year later, they had qualified for the 2006 tournament, reaching the second round. Sequentially, they have qualified for both the 2010 and 2014 tournaments too.

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