POSITIVITY IS CONTAGIOUS…………………………Don McMahon
The recent internecine conflict between Wenger must go and Wenger should stay supporters prompted me to take a closer look at the psychological impact and roles negativity and positivity play both in life and specifically in the football world.
One could be excused, based on the constant media attacks, negativism of a section of our fan-base, a handful of pessimists and complainers on UA, and the plethora of doomsday scenario Arsenal websites in cyberspace, in believing that our Club is in terminal decline and has again failed miserably in achieving our entitled success.
It is, as always , a matter of opinion about what represents success in a supporters mind. Trophies for some are the sole metric for judging whether the Club achieved anything in any given season. Finishing in a CL place is good enough for others. Winning everything in sight is barely sufficient for a few.
But that’s not my main concern here; the point of this article is to determine the psychological, physical and social benefits of positivity versus the malign effects a rabidly negative attitude brings.
Recent research done by the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, USA on ¨positive epidemics¨ found that the impact of beneficial viruses and bacteria that ¨infect¨ people is faster and more effective than negative infections.
They also found that in the non-biological realm, words and ideas have somewhat the same effect, with positive powerful words and ideas having a greater impact than negative ones. The research is available to review here or for the more technically skilled it is here.
So what does this have to do with the Arsenal? Well, those who treat their team in a consistently positive way and who maintain a positive attitude despite the occasional disappointments can expect that others around them will start to do the same.
Conversely, those who constantly berate and denigrate the Gunners can expect to influence those around them in a negative way, but much more slowly. That can explain why so many on UA refuse to join the moaning bandwagon and prefer, despite being disappointed at times.
These people remain upbeat, optimistic and generally positive….because for the most part they are surrounded by positive thinkers. It would seem this transmits to the team since our away form this season has been laudable, due in large part to our fabulous away fans, while our home form has suffered from the accusatory and belittling handful of so-called supporters who choose to prove that they can democratically express their collective disgust with the manager, the owner, the Board and many players and put aside any obligation to support their own team in their own stadium.
Now I can already hear the outraged, choleric and fanatically negative posters on UA who will come on the site and say this article is the worst thing since nuclear fallout, that positivity is tantamount to wearing rose-coloured glasses and that we are all blind fools supporting a king who has no clothes, etc. etc.
I know that they will NEVER change their tune, since they live by a different creed than positive supporters do. I would remind them that UA supports positive criticism and factual argument with evidence and analysis, whether for or against Wenger, the Board, the owner or the players.
We know Wenger et.al. Have their failings, but we simply DON’T base all our judgement and conclusions on our worst game or poorest performance. We see the entire picture and take a balanced view of the Arsenal, based on the entire season and taking into account many factors, including; the changing modern game, financial doping, the PIGMOB, brutal football played by brutes, recurring serious long- injuries, alignment challenges forced on Wenger’s teams because of the injuries, players out of form, the boo boys season long abuse,, pointless internationals etc.
If any critics (and of course they may not choose to read this article in its entirety – which is of course up to them) waiting in the wings would like to counter my arguments by writing an article for UA…..please do so….you know that the option is always there, providing it puts forwards a point we’ve not heard before, and involves some evidence and analysis.
Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle. The books are
- The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
- Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace. By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football. By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
- Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.
You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page