What’s your game? The Psychic

31st Oct. 1996

Can the power of mind over matter take Reading to football’s summit? Uri Geller reckons his spoon-bending powersmotd1 can help. Will Brooks went to Geller Towers to test the power of the crystals.

3.00 am Does Uri Geller dream? Does he have nightmares? A spoon that won’t bend perhaps? With powers of mind control, you’d have thought not. But waking nightmares, yes. Football-wise, he’s had two. Firstly, Reading’s failure in the play-offs against Bolton. Reading were 2-0 up at half time, but Uri sensed trouble. “I should have gone down to the dressing room that day, but the Chairman John Madejski said, ‘Just let them be.’ The air was so tense you could cut it with a knife.” Reading lost 2-3. Uri’s other ‘mare was Euro 96. He started to feel uncomfortable before the Germany semi-final. “I faxed Terry and said, ‘Please let me see the lads, please,’ because I felt something looming in my mind. He didn’t answer my fax. The moment Southgate got up to take the penalty, I knew he was going to miss. I tried to stop it by running down the stairs towards Terry, to scream at him, ‘Don’t let him take it,’ but two policemen led me back to my seat, and almost arrested me.”
7.15 am The average fan may be superstitious, but Uri and his family take the biscuit. “The day of a game is a bit strenuous. I go down, have breakfast and then my 15-year-old son Daniel joins me. Daniel is a fan of Reading and motdExeter. For some bizarre reason, about a year ago, he was just drawn to Exeter. I can’t understand it – we’ve never been there before; it’s just very, very weird. I believe in regression and reincarnations and there is no doubt in my mind Daniel had something to do with that area in a past life.” Over breakfast, Uri contemplates the afternoon’s fixture. “I try to disconnect myself until 3pm, because if I keep thinking about it, I’ll be trying to dream up what might happen.”
9.00 am After breakfast, Daniel prepares scarves and badges for some psychic influence. “Then we listen to the news on local radio for team information, I do 15 miles on my exercise bike and read the papers.”
1.00 pm With two hours to go before kick-off, Uri has to straighten out his mind. “I go walking with my dogs, Tina, Joker, Chico and Destiny. On that walk I start to focus, home in, visualising and fantasising a move in my brain of Reading scoring. After five miles along the riverbank, I’m psyched up. If I feel a buzz, Reading will win. And if not, I know we’re in real trouble.”
2.10 pm Uri’s glorious home is stuffed with crystals which he believes are a source of power and can transmit his tspthoughts. Before the family leave for the game, it’s time for more jiggery-pokery. “Daniel puts an Exeter shirt on the big crystal, followed by a Reading scarf. Then I grab a quick bite and get into the car. Usually my whole family goes; my wife Hannah, my daughter Natalie and Daniel. I know this is going to sound derogatory against women, but sometimes I tell Hannah or Natalie not to come because I’m so superstitious. I have to do selections of who is going to come – but Daniel is lucky, he always comes.”
2.40 pm Getting into the ground can be a palaver.
“There are secret ways I get to the stadium and I wear glasses and hats. As you can imagine, everyone recognises me and I often get abuse from superstitious away fans – they would do anything to stop me making their team lose.”
2.55 pm Even Uri’s position in the directors’ box is critical. “I either sit next to the chairman, or sometimes, again because of certain superstitions, I sit behind the chairman of the other team, so I can bombard him from the back. Some of the chairmen and coaches are very powerful people, they project an aura which I have to neutralise.” As a global celebrity, Uri is often abroad, but never loses touch with the goings on at Elm Park. “When I’m overseas, I take a mobile phone. My wife puts the radio by the phone and I hold my phone for so long that it heats up. My bill also skyrockets.”
3.45 pm At half-time, Uri often nips down to the home dressing room. “I don’t interfere with Jimmy Quinn and Mick Gooding. I go in for a split second, to look at Jimmy, Mick and the players and shout at them, ‘Come on, you’ve got to score, score, score. You’re better than them.'” Uri also likes a schmooze in the board room. At last year’s FA Cup tie against Manchester United, Uri met Alex Ferguson. “I call him an elegant powerhouse, he’s so cool and calculated. He amasses something around him and some kind of respectability flows out of him – it’s beyond confidence. He usesdp his psychic powers to control, to manipulate, to make his team win.”
4.50 pm Reading are by no means top of the league and are less than likely to win the FA Cup. But this doesn’t make Uri a fraud. “Yes it is 90 per cent down to them, they are the players and I take my hat off to them. They are the ones doing it, but I really can exert influence.” What happens when the final whistle blows? “If they’ve won, we feel really good; if it’s a draw we feel okay; if they’ve lost, just pissed-off, sad and angry.”
11.45 pm Being a sensible chap, Uri likes to sit and watch Match of the Day on Saturday night, and then it’s off to sleep, perchance to dream. Uri is completely nutty about football and you can’t question his passion. “It sways my moods high and low. It’s not very healthy, but there’s nothing I can do about it – it’s there, it’s automatic and in my heart. I can’t shut these feelings off.”

Uri’s column in Match of the Day.


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