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It has been a difficult few months for England Manager Fabio Capello.

Aside from England’s dreadful performance and subsequent early exit from the World Cup, the Italian was also left with egg on his face when his involvement with the controversial Capello Index was exposed. Both events prompted a fierce media backlash, with the press openly questioning his selection policy, tactics and more crucially, his integrity. After such a promising start, the cracks have started to appear.

Add to this the number of off-field issues he has been forced to address with his philandering players and he could be forgiven for simply giving up. John Terry’s unwillingness to keep “Terry Jnr” in his trousers, Ashley Cole’s abject refusal to honour his wedding vows (culminating in a very public divorce) and most recently Wayne Rooney’s penchant for visiting prostitutes must have tested Capello’s resolve to breaking point. Who was he coaching here, the England football team or the cast of Fatal Attraction? Things couldn’t get much worse for the under-pressure manager.

And then someone releases a story that you believe in ghosts. Great.

Yes, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has claimed in his autobiography that compatriot Capello used to be spooked by a presence in the coach’s room at Milanello, AC Milan’s training complex, during his time with the Italian club.

Ancelotti revealed: “The first time I walked into that room, I had a distinct impression. I could see an array of presences. I was sleeping in the bed that had belonged to Nereo Rocco, Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello.

“In the old days, Capello – under the influence, I believe, of the director of the sports centre, Antore Peloso – used to claim that there was a ghost, wandering freely down the hallway, especially after sunset.”

Wow. Fabio is undoubtedly delighted that this story has surfaced. It’s probably just what he needs; an already-critical nation questioning his mental health.  But Ancelotti isn’t done yet:

“I never understood which was crazier, Don Fabio or that ghost, who had decided to pick on him of all people. It really got to be a problem.”

Quite a problem indeed; an improbable presence occasionally wafting up a corridor at night. Sounds inconvenient to say the least. However did they cope? Carlo tells us:

“I can still see Capello, shoulders thrown back, chest swelling with righteous indignation: ‘Be gone, go **** yourself, evil spirit. This is not a team of dead men’.”

Fabio Capello, seen here talking to a ghost

So say what you will about Capello’s ability to manage a football team, but may his powers of exorcism never be called into question.

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After the disappointment of the Tree of Death, we at Looking For Ghosts were feeling despondent and disillusioned with the paranormal world. Why couldn’t someone throw us a ghost or two? Even the ghost of Rod Hull would have been a start. At this point we’re really not being fussy.

Trudging over from Green Park to neighbouring St James’s Park we were reminded of a tale involving the seemingly serene lake that tourists so gleefully flock to.

St James's Park. Not the one in Newcastle, although horrific apparitions are frequently seen there too.

Little do they know, however, that the lake is an important aspect of a ghost story apparently so convincing that even the authorities seem to accept that it’s true.

In the 15th Century, so the story goes, a Sergeant in the military murdered his wife and to avoid her being identified he hacked her head off. As he was in the process of dumping the rest of the corpse in the lake he was disturbed by two soldiers returning to the nearby barracks. To this day, The Red Lady of St James’s Park is frequently spotted in a blood-stained smock, sometimes with the stump of her neck spurting blood, sauntering around the park looking for her head or, terrifyingly, rising slowly from the murky water.

In 1972 a motorist driving in the area crashed his car after seeing the apparition, only to be acquitted of dangerous driving after the court believed his tale. All of this leads us to ask why more misdemeanours aren’t blamed on ghosts? If only John Terry had been that creative with his excuses then England might still have a half-decent captain for the World Cup.

Try it yourselves. Late for work again? A poltergeist flung your alarm clock against the wall. Caught staring at a checkout girl’s chest? You were possessed by ZOZO. That hideous noise coming from your bedroom at night? Banshees. Help us fill the world with implausible ghost stories; if nothing else it will keep this blog in material for a lot longer.

Looking For Ghosts

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