Dean Ashton is loved by fans of West Ham United, Norwich City and Crewe Alexandra.
The brilliant striker scored over 100 goals in 250 games for Crewe, Norwich and West Ham and also played for England.
That was before Ashton’s career was cruelly cut short aged just 26 when he was forced to retire after ongoing problems associated with an ankle injury sustained in training with the national team.
He famously scored in one of the best ever FA Cup finals when the Hammers drew 3-3 with Liverpool before losing on penalties.
It is safe to say he will always be fondly remembered in East London and indeed wherever he played such was his talent.
Now 34, Ashton has forged a successful career for himself as a pundit.
And he surely joins football’s list of the weirdest pre-match routines after revealing on talkSPORT his bizarre pre-game meal during his career which consisted of not one, not two but THREE variety packs of Coco Pops cereal.
“I used to have three packs of Coco Pops before a game,” Ashton told talkSPORT.
“You know those little variety packs… I’d eat it about three and a half hours before kick-off.”
In an age where diet and nutrition is a major focus for elite sports stars, Ashton’s revelation borders on hilarious.
But he’s not the only footballer known to have strange pre-match routines, and not the only one with a chocolate related one either.
Former Huddersfield player Malvin Kamara apparently used to insist on watching the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film before every game claiming it helped ease his nerves and put him in the right mood.
Ex Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Celtic defender Kolo Toure used to insist on being the last player to enter the field of play. His superstition even earned him a yellow card when he took it to the extreme by waiting for William Gallas to finish receiving treatment before running on to the pitch without the referee’s permission.
During the warm up, Gary Lineker would never shoot towards goal for fear of hitting the back of the net and ‘wasting’ one of his goals.
Laurent Blanc and Fabian Barthez
French duo Laurent Blanc and Fabian Barthez became famous for sharing a kiss before each game for their country. Blanc would kiss Barthez’s smooth bald head before kick off to bring Les Bleus good luck and even did it before the final in which Blanc was suspended. It clearly worked because France went on to beat Brazil and lift the World Cup.
While not strictly a pre-match routine, Argentinean goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea believed he brought good luck before every penalty shootout his team faced by urinating on the pitch. It first worked in the 1990 World Cup quarter-finals against Yugoslavia and again in the semis. But when West Germany were awarded an 85th minute penalty in the final, Goycochea either got stage fright or had an empty bladder and Andreas Brehme duly slotted the ball home.