Football is full of valuable life lessons that you can take with you into the world, long after the moment has passed.
Whether you learned the immense value of hard work and practise when David Beckham whipped in his free kick against Greece in 2001, or the importance of perseverance from Liverpool’s legendary comeback against AC Milan in 2004, some games teach you something that you’ll never forget.
We’ve recently just seen another game featuring one of these lessons, in a season-defining encounter between Gillingham and Leyton Orient that took place in April.
The unique circumstances of the game and how Orient reacted to them contain a priceless lesson about investing that could serve you well in the future.
So, discover what happened in the game, and the key investment lesson to learn from the match.
Orient’s 2-0 loss will be fondly remembered as the day they were promoted
A promotion to League One beckoned as Leyton Orient arrived in Kent to face Gillingham at Priestfield Stadium.
The O’s knew that a win against their opponents would cement their position in the top three, as would a loss if other results went their way – specifically, if Bradford lost their game away to Swindon, it would be mathematically impossible for Orient not to finish in the automatic promotion places.
However, the day started disastrously for Orient, as centre-back Omar Beckles was shown a straight red card in the 12th minute for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Alex MacDonald put the Gills ahead from the resulting free kick, and the home side then doubled the lead in the 76th minute through a Cheye Alexander penalty, marking a dismal away day for the promotion-chasing visitors.
Yet despite the early drama, it’s the end of the match that’s of particular interest.
With 12 minutes to go before the final whistle, the floodlights at Priestfield Stadium failed. By the time the issue was resolved, the full-time result at Bradford and Swindon had been confirmed: Swindon had won 1-0, meaning Orient would be promoted despite losing on the night.
What followed were some of the most extraordinary scenes in football history: Orient, knowing that they were promoted, simply stopped pressing Gillingham entirely, and instead allowed the game to peter out at 2-0.
— Matt Phipps (@MJPhippsy) April 18, 2023
In other words, there was simply no point in the 10-men side chasing the 2-0 loss. Goal difference could still have affected the battle between the remaining candidates for the top spot, as could injuries or more suspensions. So instead, doing nothing at all was seemingly the most sensible course of action.
Orient have now secured the title and will be plying their trade in the third tier next season. But this decision to cut their losses and accept defeat with the knowledge they were already up contains a valuable investment lesson to learn – that sometimes, doing nothing can be a prudent choice.
Orient’s behaviour shows how inactivity can be better than chasing the game
The crucial lesson to learn from the match is that inactivity and patience can be rewarded over needlessly chasing the game, especially when investing your money.
Over time, markets rise and fall, taking the value of your investments and your portfolio with them. When markets do drop, the temptation can be to act quickly in the hope of cutting losses.
But, just as the O’s did when they learned their loss to Gillingham ultimately didn’t matter, the better course of action can actually be to remain calm and do nothing at all.
Figures from CNBC demonstrate just how important this can be, showing how the worst days in the stock market are often followed by the best.
According to the data, the day that gave the highest percentage returns on the S&P 500 index – a list of the 500 biggest companies in the US – was 13 October 2008, directly in the wake of the 2008 global financial crash.
Meanwhile, the third-highest was 24 March 2020, the day after lockdowns had been announced around the world to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Had you decided to sell your investments in response to these events, this data shows that you would have missed out on the subsequent price rise. As a result, doing nothing at all could have been the more prudent choice in the long run.
It’s worth noting that past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance, and there may be times when reacting to changes will be appropriate.
But regardless, these figures show that it can be incredibly valuable to steady your hand and keep the big picture in mind, just as Orient did in those final 12 minutes.
Of course, this is easier said than done, especially when there are constant news stories about markets around the world falling in value. But in times like this, it’s vital to stay calm and keep your composure.
You may have read our previous article about this subject, in which we outlined three tips that can help you to manage your investments when markets are volatile. These tips included:
- Remembering that your investment is for the long term
- Keeping your goals at the forefront of your mind
- Working with an expert.
So, the next time you find yourself worrying about market performance, try to remember the Leyton Orient method: that sometimes, doing nothing can be the right choice.
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If you’d like assistance managing your money, then we can help. At ProSport, we’re experienced in working with professional footballers to help you make the most of your wealth.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01204 602909 to find out what we can do for you.
The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.