Wimbledon star hoping lucky gemstones can conjure FA Cup giant-killing

September 11, 2019

Listening to Britney Spears during his London Underground commute to training, waiting in hotel corridors to bump into Arsenal players and placing gemstones on the goalmouth to stop opponents from scoring. Meet Anthony Wordsworth, possibly the most humble and quirky player left in this season’s FA Cup. Wordsworth helped Wimbledon, the side bottom of League One, stun Premier League West Ham 4-2 in the fourth round last month and is craving another upset against Championship side Millwall on Saturday. Anthony Wordsworth is possible the most humble and quirky player left in the FA Cup It is a competition the 30-year-old adores after being fortunate enough to watch Arsenal, the club he supports, defeat Chelsea 2-1 in the 2017 final at Wembley. Last month, he happened to find himself staying in the same hotel as the Gunners. Arsenal had faced Blackpool in the FA Cup so Wordsworth hung around to catch a glimpse of the Premier League players he idolises. It worked, as he got a fist bump off Alex Iwobi. ‘I’m a big Arsenal fan,’ said Wordsworth, who takes three trains to get from his home in Hertfordshire to Wimbledon’s training ground every day. ‘I’ve been to a few FA Cup finals. ‘I was at the one in 2017, sitting right by where Olivier Giroud crossed for Aaron Ramsey, then they came over and celebrated. It sounds silly but I got my hands on a few players in the celebration.’ Wordsworth’s Wimbledon take on Millway in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday Another quirk of Wordsworth’s is that he carries ‘lucky stones’ with him wherever he goes. He sometimes places them in the goalmouth to inspire Wimbledon to score — and stop the opponents from doing the same. His team-mates now call him ‘John Stones’ as a result. Asked for the story behind them, Wordsworth said it started when his brother Steven died at the age of 40 after suffering a heart attack. The Dons pulled off a shock 4-2 win over Premier League side West Ham in the previous round Wordsworth was nicknamed John Stones for the lucky stones he keeps before games ‘I was going through a difficult time and one of my friends who was really into it told me: “Try going to a crystal healer, have a chat with her, see what it’s like”,’ Wordsworth said. ‘So I thought I would give it a go. Could be coincidence, could be a load of rubbish, but if I have got them on me, I just feel a lot better. ‘If I start thinking about something, then I realise I’ve got the stones on me, I snap out of it straight away. ‘If I saw somebody else do it a few years ago, I’d be the first one to hammer them. Now the boys are at me to get them out when they’re cheering on horses: “Get your stones out!” I’m like, “That’s not what they’re for”. ‘I bring them out on the pitch before games and the lads have been putting them in the goalmouth, hoping they’ll help us score more goals… obviously that hasn’t been working.’ How do they work exactly? ‘You charge them by the moon and the sun and bury them in soil,’ he explained. ‘It’s a bit deep. You’re all looking at me like I’m mental.’ Wordsworth wants to beat Millwall to test himself against Premier League opponents again. ‘I’m not one of those who gets nervous,’ he said. ‘I remember being in the tunnel before West Ham thinking, ‘We’re going to win this’. I just felt up for it. We came out firing.’ Wimbledon believe that luck will be on their side against Millwall too, courtesy of Wordsworth’s game of stones.

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