Uri Geller has promised to give the Scotland football team a helping hand and even up an old score when they face England at Wembley on Friday night, 20 years after the celebrity psychic claimed that his powers of telepathy made Gary McAllister miss a crucial penalty kick when the countries met at the same ground at the Euro 96 finals.
With the Scots trailing 1-0, the match turned on a penalty McAllister failed to convert after Craig Brown’s team had taken control as they pursued an equaliser. It was saved by David Seaman but television footage later showed that the ball rolled from its spot just before McAllister made contact, denying the Scotland captain a clean strike.
Geller, who became famous in the 1970s for his supposed psychic ability to bend spoons, later claimed that he had hovered over the stadium in a helicopter during the match and “willed” Seaman to dive one way and “willed” the ball to move with “pure telepathy”. Scotland were made to pay dearly for squandering the golden opportunity when Paul Gascoigne produced a stunning strike just moments later to give England a famous 2-0 victory.
McAllister, capped 59 times by Scotland, has never been allowed to forget his penalty failure. Geller subsequently “apologised” to the midfielder who revealed last week that the psychic had been back in touch with an offer to redress the balance in this week’s World Cup qualifying match.
“I was doing something with an Italian magazine when my penalty miss came up and I mentioned Geller. And then he texted me,” revealed McAllister.
“When people ask you about the best name on your mobile, he’s in mine. He wrote: ‘Hi Gary. Uri Geller here. I read you mentioned me. Look, I’m willing to motivate and inspire your team to win. This way I can give you back what I took away to be equal.’
“He’s still convinced he moved the ball at Wembley. I’ve not mentioned this yet to [Scotland manager] Gordon Strachan but we’ll look out for moving balls in the game on Friday.”
McAllister doesn’t need Geller’s grandstanding to be spooked by what happened at Wembley that hot June afternoon.
“It always comes down to the penalty miss. That will never go away,” he said. “That’s something I have to live with and I still get wee flashbacks about it. There’s no doubt in my mind that if I had scored we would have won; it was a period of the game when we were on top.
“But I missed the penalty and we never really recovered. Gazza scored and that was it.”