IT WILL forever be known as the Rory McIlroy method – the pre-match warm-up where you arrive at the venue late, grab your kit and go out and perform.
The Northern Irish golfer’s play – after getting to Medinah Country Club just in time to tee-off in his singles match – will go down in Ryder Cup folklore.
He was hurriedly driven to the Chicago course in the front of an unmarked police car, then smiled at the locals’ banter about needing a new alarm clock before going onto beat Keegan Bradley and help Europe achieve a historic comeback.
It blew the old ‘Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail’ mantra right out of the window – and there have been many examples in football, including a couple from my own Non-League career.
In October 1997, I recall boarding the Arnold Town team coach for a trip to Winsford United in the FA Cup third qualifying round.
We were making good time on the M6, so the management ordered a stop-off at Keele Services, but while we were inside, the coach (the vehicle carrying us, not the gaffer Iain McCulloch!) was impounded by motorway police.
Apparently, several wheels were looser than our marking at set-pieces, with bolts missing left, right and centre.
A replacement was summoned, but after a while it emerged that the coach company were sending one from their depot in Nottingham and it wouldn’t be with us until gone three o’clock.
We were on the road to Wembley – potentially two wins from the first round proper – and couldn’t be diverted like that. So a fleet of taxis were booked and we arrived at the Barton Stadium at 2.55pm.
We made our way around the dog track, laughed at mercilessly by the gathered home fans, got changed as quickly as we could and kicked off not long after three.
Despite the rush, and playing for an hour with ten men after Gary Richefond got a straight red card, we drew 1-1 and forced a replay, though we lost that on penalties.
At Sutton United, I remember turning up at Billericay for a Ryman Premier game about 2.50pm. Again, we had no warm-up or team talk, just went out there, played and found ourselves 5-0 up by half-time!
It works for others, too. Ryan Jackson signed for Fleetwood on loan from AFC Wimbledon one Friday morning last October and was told he’d be making his debut that night at Lincoln City.
The Londoner went home from the Dons’ Kingsmeadow HQ so his dad could drive him north from Streatham. After a nightmare six-hour journey, he found what he thought was the ground – only to discover the dimly-lit car park he was sitting in was at Ashby Avenue, home of Lincoln UNITED!
Another quick dash across a city later, he was arriving in the away dressing room at Sincil Bank five minutes before the 7.45pm kick-off.
But Jackson proved the ‘McIlroy Method’ has long been in existence – introducing himself to his new team-mates in the best possible way by scoring twice from the right wing in a 3-1 win!