It was the 15th of June, 1996, and England were playing Scotland at Wembley in their second group match of the European Championships.
As you may remember, the host nation went on to win 2-0 on the day: Alan Shearer, Paul Gascoigne, Colin Hendry getting trapped in a prismic maze of his own mind’s making, the dentist’s chair… all that.
However, Gazza and co. can’t go hogging all the credit for the win, oh no – for high above Wembley, pratting about in a helicopter provided by the News of the World, England had a guardian angel on their side.
Indeed, the tabloid hired Uri Geller to flutter over the stadium and transmit “positive vibes” to England during the match.
However, Geller went one better and actually used his incontrovertible powers of psychokinesis to physically impact upon the game.
Armed with a special crystal and a genuine England cap from the 1966 World Cup, Geller took to the skies and really came into his own when Scotland won a penalty kick in the second half.
Sensing the momentum beginning to shift, Geller drew on his years as a special psy-unit CIA operative to ‘nudge’ the ball slightly as Gary McAllister dispatched his spot-kick, steering the resulting shot into David Seaman’s outstretched elbow.
Geller later regaled the Scottish Sun with the finer details of his ploy:
I was not that surprised because I’d done this kind of thing in laboratories for the CIA and for other intelligence services.
I was very confident. I felt the energy of the England fans.
When I shouted, ‘One, two, three, move!’ I knew the ball would move. I was in the helicopter so I didn’t have all the information.
I just knew Seaman had saved the penalty. I thought, ‘He missed so I probably did something.’
When we landed, we had to check the film. That validated my theory.
Now you may think that sounds like a two-tonne vat of industrial grade equine effluence, but not so.
In fact, here is Geller years later (2013-ish), demonstrating exactly how he used his neural powers to put McAllister off his stride – at the second time of asking…
On behalf of the entire nation, thanks Uri.