This pre-match ritual is UNBELIEVABLE: Dean Saunders tells FourFourTwo what he had to do before a game in Turkey

Dean Saunders
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dean Saunders spent a year of his career at Galatasaray – and one particular incident has always stayed with him.

The Welsh striker left Aston Villa to join the Turkish club in 1995, linking up again with his former Liverpool boss Graeme Souness, in a squad that also contained American goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

Saunders discovered some notable cultural differences during his 12 months in the country, not least when he was asked to drink goat’s blood immediately before a match.

Dean Saunders and Graeme Souness of Newcastle look on during the UEFA Intertoto Cup Third Round Second Leg match between Newcastle United and FK ZTS Dubnica at St.James Park on July 23, 2005 in Newcastle, England.

Graeme Souness brought Dean Saunders to Turkey (Image credit: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

“We did once, for good luck,” the 59-year-old said during an exclusive interview for FourFourTwo magazine, speaking on behalf of Gem.Bet.

“I didn’t know at the time, but it’s a religious thing. If you look it up, years and years ago, it was something like: there were two men and one said, ‘I want to sacrifice your son, to see how loyal you are’. The other man brought his son, then the first guy said, ‘Right, now I know that you were prepared to do it, I’m not
going to kill him – I’m going to kill a goat instead’. So, every year in Turkey, they’d cut
a goat’s throat for good luck.

“Before a game, they brought this goat on with about a 12-inch
knife and slit this goat’s throat in front of us. It was a bit of a shock. They passed a cup of blood down the line – we pretended to drink it, but the cup was warm and the blood was purple... I said to Brad Friedel ‘What’s going on?’”

More interviews

Chris Waddle has revealed why playing for England was so frustrating.

Andrey Kanchelskis, meanwhile, has told a harrowing tale of death threats in Uzbekistan. On a lighter note, Liam Brady told FFT his favourite fish.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1