Wed, 27 Oct 2010 5:25p.m.
By James Murray
Paul the Octopus – take a bow – there are not many cephalopods that unite the world, there are possibly less humans who achieve this honour, but your clairvoyant abilities brought joy to many.
A resounding boo to the Wikipedia writers who anonymously suggest your abilities were not entirely psychic. They don’t even concede that you were blessed with luck.
They claim light intensity, or minor chemical differences on the surface of each box may have introduced an element of bias to your decisions.
But I am a proficient reader of the countenance of the humble Octopus Vulgaris and I saw no trickery in those kind, domed eyes. Not a hint of subterfuge in any of your legs.
Of course, we all know there is no such thing as psychic ability, but your gift was something much more important. You were blessed with fate Paul the Octopus, it’s as if your humble beginnings in Weymouth, England were but a training ground for the Herculean tasks ahead of you.
That early journey to the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen was a clear turning point. Had you stayed in England and become a predictor of that country’s football results you would surely have come a cropper. I defy anyone to guess what the Three Lions will do next; Germany is an eminently more predictable side.
And sure – you may have been incorrect a couple of times in your debut season, predicting Germany’s results in Euro 2008.
But, history will record your name in indelible ink for your feats during 2010’s World Cup. You even managed to guess that Germany would lose to Serbia.
There is no greater tribute in this day and age, than a thriving Facebook page and your 83,940 friends are a testament to the quiet dignity in which you took on your responsibilities.
Not for you the trappings of fame and fortune. Not once were you involved in a sex scandal unlike your human colleagues. You never asked for a dime. You retired quietly to look back on your salad days with a sigh of satisfaction, no doubt.
Paul the Octopus – you made small children happy and grown men laugh like fools.
May you swim for eternity.