Richard Ord: If only World Cup psychic animals could see their own fate

Big Bob predicts another England win.
Big Bob predicts another England win.
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Bob the psychic pig has been uncanny in his ability to predict the results of England’s World Cup adventure.

With limited speech ability he has, like the majority of psychic animals, communicated his footy predictions via the medium of eating food out of one of three feeding bowls marked win, lose or draw.

So far, Bob (an 11-year-old Maori pig based on a farm in Sunderland) has been spot on.

(Editor’s note: This piece was written before England’s victory over Colombia. Which Big Bob got wrong, but we’re not complaining)

All good fun, though there are some elements of this animal prediction game that trouble me.

For example, the potential results are placed on the opposite side of the feeding bowls to Bob, so he can’t see which bowl prediction is which.

My understanding is that this is done to ensure complete transparency and fairness with the process. Why?

Even if he can see the result written on the bowl, it surely can’t affect his prediction. It also assumes that Bob can read!

Being a psychic pig, I guess it’s fair to infer he has a greater level of intelligence than your average blue collar hog.

And that brings me to the most troubling aspect of these four-legged soothsayers. If they can see into the future, can they see their own fate?

For farm pigs, that future is, so I’m lead to believe, not too rosy.

It involves sharp blades, hot frying pans and, in my case, a good dollop of tomato ketchup.

Maybe Bob suspects this is his own fate and is planning his escape.

It probably explains why, ultimately, these psychic animals end up getting it wrong.

I suspect they do it deliberately.

Related: Three Lions on the shirt! Praise for Jordan Pickford after England’s World Cup penalty shoot-out with Colombia

Get yourself on a hot winning streak and it makes it harder for you to escape. I mean, the eyes of the country are on you.

Best to throw the media off the scent by getting it wrong, and the sooner the better. Once out of the media spotlight, Bob and his ilk can keep working on that tunnel or glider in the attic .

That was the mistake of Paul ‘the oracle’ octopus in 2010.

Instead of using slight of tentacle to evade attention, he correctly predicted the results of all seven of Germany’s matches in the 2010 World Cup.

Any hopes of fleeing his tank by hiding in the back of a truck carrying hay were gone. The eyes of the world were on him and escape became an impossibility.

As luck would have it, the Germans aren’t particularly fans of octopus. They prefer sausages. Octopus sausage is not amongst their favourites.

The result of which meant Paul could see out his days safely, far from the gaping maws of sausage hungry Huns. Sadly, he died just a few months later. Crushed under the hooves of Wilbur the Mystic Mule.

Jealousy can be a terrible thing in the cut-throat world of the animal psychics.

An unfortunate end to a successful career, but I guess the surprise is that Paul didn’t see it coming.