Unlucky in birth: Leeds goalkeeper Paddy Kenny has been dropped because his birthday is considered unlucky. Photo: Getty Images
A footballer has been dropped after his club's new owner decided he was born on an unlucky date.
Massimo Cellino, the Italian owner of Leeds United, believes the number 17 is unlucky and has ordered the club's manager not to play Paddy Kenny, who was born on May 17, in goal.
Mr Cellino, who previously owned Cagliari in his native Italy, ordered all number 17 seats to be removed from the Serie A club's stadium and be replaced with the number 16B.
Superstitious: Leeds owner Massimo Cellino. Photo: Getty Images
He also claimed that the Sardinian team had only won one game played on the 17th of the month in the 20 years he was associated with the side.
Since taking over at Leeds the new owner has been looking to cut costs, closing the canteen at the training ground and ordering players and staff to bring a packed lunch instead.
After Mr Cellino learnt the birth date of Kenny, 36, who perhaps coincidentally is the Yorkshire club's second highest paid player on £10,000 ($18,350) a week, he decided that the 36-year-old would never play for the club again.
The goalkeeper has now been told to look for a new employer.
The Football League initially tried to block Mr Cellino's takeover of the Championship club, arguing that he failed the fit and proper person's test after he was fined €600,000 ($873,000) for evading import duty on a yacht in a case where the full judgment is yet to be published.
However Mr Cellino, who has previously been given a suspended sentence for fraud following a plea bargain, overturned the league's decision on appeal after convincing an independent QC that his latest conviction could not "reasonably be considered" to be related to a crime of dishonesty.
The owner also risked upsetting fans by firing the manager, Brian McDermott, and replacing him with Dave Hockaday, who has no previous experience managing a Football League club and was sacked by his non-league side last year.
The Telegraph, London