The East Terrace
Quins target change in fortune
September 11, 2009
Harlequins' George Robson is given his marching orders in the opening minute of his side's Premiership clash with Wasps © Getty Images
After enduring the darkest days in its long illustrious history, Harlequins RFC have made an astonishing appeal to their players, staff and supporters to help bring some much needed good luck to the club.
Fans are being asked to do everything from carrying around 'rabbit feet' to keeping their fingers crossed whilst cheering on their side this season in an attempt to lift the 'curse' they feel they are currently afflicted by. The unprecedented appeal comes on the back of a series of scandals which have rocked the Quins to their very foundations.
Rugby's off-season was dominated by the 'Bloodgate' scandal, which saw Director of Rugby Dean Richards receive a three-year ban; a two-year ban for the club physio; a four month ban for winger Tom Williams; a fine of £259,000 from the ERC and the standing down of chairman Charles Jillings. The whole incident received so much publicity many felt the whole sport of rugby union was being dragged through the gutter by the actions of one club.
To continue the club's bad run of luck, second row George Robson was recently given a red card just forty seconds into the first league match of the season for head-butting. The foolish action resulted in a six-week ban for Robson and significantly contributed to the Quins losing 26-15 to Wasps on the day.
At a Twickenham press conference, in a room blessed beforehand thoroughly by a local priest, club spokesperson John Meads appealed for help from the whole Harlequins community:
"Whether fan, player or administrator these are dark days for our beloved club. We must come together to purge ourselves of the evils currently befalling us. I urge all loyal to Harlequins RFC to join me in 'exorcising' our bad luck. As an absolute minimum I ask you all not to step on cracks in the pavement before attending any home games this season. I'd also ask you to touch wood if you say anything that isn't positive about the Quins. If it isn't too much trouble it would mean a great deal."
On the playing field there have been major changes as well. Coaches revealed to The East Terrrace that Quins' players are asked to not turn up to training or a match if they have walked under a ladder in the previous 24 hours or had their path crossed by a black cat.
The club dietician has also given their approval for the players to eat Lucky Charms cereals for breakfast. Usually such sugary products would be a no-no for professional athletes, but the Harlequins' directors have approved the diet change in light of the current circumstances. Furthermore, any player who has broken a mirror in the past seven years is being asked to come in for contract negotiations with management.
The RFU have also revealed that they have received a request from Harlequins to allow their players to carry 'items possibly aiding the acquisition of good fortune' in their short pockets. The RFU have promised to investigate the safety of such measures before responding.
"You can't be too careful," said Meads. "The gods of ill-fortune are all around us and we must not lower our guard at any moment - be it during the heat of battle on the pitch or in the days between clashes. We've recently had Feng Shui experts come in to redesign the dressing rooms, offices and even the stadium.
"Turns out we were by no means making the most of our Vital Qi and needed it to fully utilise our Elan Vital. People may say we are being a bit over-sensitive, but far from it. If a man looks sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune; for though she is blind, she is not invisible."
As well as changes to the squad training and match day preparations, the club have also launched a brand new product range in light of the crisis:
"We hope that these new items not only help bring us luck, but also help us raise some money to pay off some of our recent fines. Fingers crossed it will pay off," said Meads. "But don't keep fingers crossed on both hands, that is really bad luck. That would be awful."
The club have also revealed plans to appoint a part time position called 'Fortune Advisor'. However, they strenuously denied claims that they had asked Uri Geller to do some freelance work at the club. "That would be really silly," said Meads.
James Stafford is editor of The East Terrace (www.theeastterrace.com) - an offside view of life in the rugby world