Start Believing: Chamakh's shinpads

The Moroccan striker's tributes to his old club feature in the latest of our series chronicling the extraordinary power of belief
Most Premier League fans would probably react to news of Marouane Chamakh’s superstitions fairly tersely. Whatever they are, they don’t work, they may say.

Shortly after his arrival in London, a camera crew filming a documentary for French TV station TF1 pictured Chamakh strapping on Bordeaux-branded shinpads before putting on his Arsenal socks. This was, in fact, only the tip of the iceberg. Chamakh actually wore Bordeaux socks underneath his Arsenal ones, and continued to do so after moving across the capital to West Ham.

"If one day, my path takes me back to France, it would be to Bordeaux. I'm from there, it's my life"

Whether Tony Pulis has spotted the Moroccan doing the same at Crystal Palace and allowed the practice to continue is unconfirmed. Chamakh himself has always been unrepentant about the revelation. “If one day, my path takes me back to France, it would be to Bordeaux. I read a lot of things in the press about it, but the president knows that if I wanted to come back, I’d just give him a ring and say: I’m coming. He’s a frank man and we understand each other. I’m from there, I grew up there, and I know everybody there. It’s my life.”

Either way, the shinpads sound much more comfortable than the ritual practised by Pauleta, also formerly of Bordeaux, before going on to become Paris Saint-Germain’s all-time top scorer. According to his former team-mate at PSG, Edouard Cisse, the prolific Portugal hitman entered the pitch at the start of every match with a wooden cross shoved down his shorts for good luck.

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