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IGNORANCE IS BLISS? 

By Don McMahon

Once again a defeat has left me questioning the sanity and rationality of some of our supporters. Most mature Gooners take the latest result with a shrug and the healthy realization that this happens to every team, but there are far too many who see every defeat or draw as the foreshadowing of mid-table mediocrity or worse still for AFC, finishing once again in 2nd, 3rd or fourth place….a serious crime in their books. These crimes are attributed to Wenger or the Board or some lacunae that is easily repaired by a change of everything!

The latest articles by Tony and others spotlight the mental frailty and very low tolerance for poor results the aaa and even a few supposed true supporters display, but there is a deeper issue here. Tony regularly decries the media’s tendency to assume that Football fans generally are too simple, stupid or naive to understand anything more complex than a single syllable word or unsophisticated analyses of results. Having been on UA since its beginnings in 2008, I have seen every kind of moronic commentary, simplistic and irrational meme, and anti-Arsenal agenda marketed as irrefutable fact.  However, the vast majority of posters on UA are quite rational, dedicated to intelligent analysis of our team, realistic about our Club’s strengths and weaknesses and specifically balanced when it comes to assessing our manager, Arsene Wenger.

What concerns me, now more than ever, is the inability of the moaners, whiners and other aaa pseudo-supporters to realize that they are being manipulated by the lazy media and biased press. For example, the latest anti-Arsenal attack on our medical staff, as highlighted in Tony’s piece about Dr.Caer, is pathetic and irresponsible in the extreme.  As a retired health professional, I am astounded that the so-called expert journalists cannot discern anything about the simplest psychological principles, that a 30 minute research on the net would have provided them.

The blatant ignorance and misunderstanding of mental health professionals should come as no surprise where the media are concerned. Most supporters, no matter how well informed and educated, still confuse psychologists with psychiatrists and vice-versa so why should the media be any better?

Just look at the stigma still attached to people who use mental health professionals’ services!

Sports medicine and sports psychology have come a long way since the earliest attempts to use them in the professional arena.

When I practiced full-time, it became apparent that people (especially athletes) were totally confused by what I did for them and the reasons behind using my services. Despite my taking an entire preliminary session to explain what it was all about and what the potential outcomes could be, most thought that I was like a doctor who should/would and could ¨cure¨ them of their ills¨ in a sort of magical mélange of theory and practice. The reality is that a psychologist attempts to bring their patient to a place where they can feel ready to assume some limited control over their own attitudes and feelings and have the willpower to attempt to take that control. I say limited control because there are always numerous internal and extraneous factors and influences that limit our ability to determine our behavior.

A good example in a Football sense would be a player’s recovery from a serious injury caused by an opponent. Subconsciously his or her confidence can be seriously undermined due to the risks associated with future competitions, training regimes, even normal daily activities. The manager can talk at the player until he is blue in the face but it will have little if any effect on the player’s performance and mental attitude. A sports psychologist, on the other hand, knows how to train the player’s focus and mental strengths to combat and overcome the subconscious and conscious reticence associated with a serious injury.  The fear and hesitation may return but at least the player can dominate and subjugate such feelings successfully.

Overall, a winning attitude is one that melds self-confidence, failure management, confidence and faith in others, a team spirit (as opposed to a narcissistic self-adoration), a certain humility and pragmatism, an ability to ignore negativity and pointless, destructive criticism while promoting positive, goal-oriented self-analysis and a keen desire to continually learn and persevere. The sports psychologist will help instill in the players, a sense of optimism, realism, no surrender persistence and a spirit of respect for themselves and others involved in Football, including their fans and benefactors.

Supporters are ordinary people with average intelligence and a capacity to understand complex issues in Football, if properly explained and presented in a coherent and fact-based manner. When I watch Adrian Clarke’s breakdown of previous matches I am impressed with his insight and clarity in discussing our strengths and failings. He never attributes our failings to one cause alone, nor to one man. It is a team analysis and a cohesive overview that is easy to follow and understand. This is what the media and the aaa totally fail to do and it shows their paucity of intellect and simplistic worldview to a fault!

21 comments to IGNORANCE IS BLISS? 

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice one ,Don . All very true too as I can also attest to it in my daily medical practice. I get patients who tend to listen to their friends and those wonder cure adverts on tv .
    After totally screwing up their health over months and years , they would come and ask me to give them a magical injection or treatment for an immediate cure .

    They find it so difficult to comprehend that their diseases are lifelong and can only be controlled and not be cure outright . And seem to be shocked that no doctor has so far found a panacea to their ills .

    Oh , the silly and mirthful true stories that I could write ! I’ll probably do it when I finally retire. Trust me, it will be as funny as those tales of Dr. James Herriot’s patients . He still remains one of my life’s role models .

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    The 1-1 draw final scoreline this afternoon at Turf Moor in a PL game between Burnley FC and Chelsea can only confirmed my claim that Chelsea are not immuned from dropping points in their remaining 14 PL games this season now down to 13 games remaining. And Arsenal as the ordained PL Champions this season will be gathering up any points that are dropped by Chelsea to catch them and surpassed them in the table on to the title as a confirmation of my words that Arsenal is the ordained club side that have been divinely selected by the divine selector to win this season’s PL title.

  • ossasa

    Laughing at the very thought.

  • Leon

    Hi Don
    I guess I must be one of those blissfully ignorant people you’re referring to, because even after your explanation of the phycologist’s functions within sport I still don’t see how we need one when there are 55000 of them at every match.

  • Usama Zaka

    Adrian Clarke is a class act, whether for Arsenal media or away from Arsenal.

    Don and Walter if you are reading this… What exactly is UEFA Referee Assistance Programs (RAP)? It was started in 2013 and is available for downloading on many refereeing forums on the net (1-5 GBs of file). There is two UEFA RAPs for each year, there is also UEFA RAP for the EURO 2016 and some mini tournaments. I came across this while looking for CL appointments.

  • omgarsenal

    Leon……the 55000 psychologists we see at every match are all pop psychologists, by definition, people who think they know what is needed but, actually provide nothing tangible for the team,players or the game itself. I presume you are not seeking a diagnosis or prognosis but rather a laugh!

    The RAP, as proposed on the FIFA website is:

    The basic objective of the RAP is to professionalize the environment in which referees develop and work – at both national and international level. It comprises two distinct but related parts:

    (a) the preparation of potential match officials for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and the professionalization of refereeing at the top level

    (b) the development of refereeing at member association level.

    In order to achieve this, refereeing development officers will work hand in hand with instructors around the world to ensure a uniform approach. These efforts will be accompanied by close cooperation with the confederations, member associations and existing FIFA development offices. An extensive range of courses and workshops, supported by technological aids including internet resources, will also be organised. In total, FIFA plans to invest some USD 40 million into the programme.

    I know here in Canada we use the RAP services and videos in training new and neophyte referees in the obligatory introductory and retraining courses every spring. they are very effective and helpful in clarifying the application of the Laws and in defining what is and what isn’t in the letter and spirit of the Laws. i am sure Walter has seen the same thing in Belgium, since I saw them in Germany at the sportsverein.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Despite their 2-0 loss away to Swansea City this evening which now leaves Leicester City one place above the relegation zone, but still, I can’t see them suffered relegation this season. Besides, if they do, it won’t be a good advertisement for the Premier League I would imagine.

  • MickHazel

    OT
    How come Arsenal, who apparently desperately need a world class striker, have a player who is leading the Premier League goal scoring table. Alexis Sanchez has more goals than all those world class strikers who play for those other teams who don’t need a world class goal scorer.

  • Usama Zaka

    Thanks Don.

  • OlegYch

    great article, Don
    we need to make people aware how media plays tricks on them

  • Leon

    Don, Yeah, having a laugh. We can all do with that sometimes can’t we!
    Nice article by the way, and it does make lots of sense.

  • omgarsenal

    Thank you Leon….I absolutely agree …. much appreciated!

  • Zuruvi

    @Mickhazel.
    I am one of those who wishes we had a world-class central striker.

    Being top scorer whilst at Arsenal doesn’t mean you are a world class clinical striker. Emmanuel Adebayor was top scorer with over 30 goals in a season when at Arsenal. He was never a world-class striker.
    Thanks to the genius of the Arsene Wenger playing style Arsenal creates more scoring chances than any other team. At Arsenal an averagely good striker will score and miss many goals and still have a decent tally.

    A clinical striker is one who hardly ever misses the good chances. And one who frequently scores on half-chances where most people in the stadium are not expecting a goal to be scored.
    Thierry Henry was a clinical striker.
    Nicholas Anelka (in his short time at Arsenal) displayed that he was on the road to being a clinical top, top striker.

    Unlike others, I put this criticism in a constructive way. I want Arsenal to improve in terms of conversion of the chances we create. In nearly every game that we lose, Arsene Wenger says we had equal or more chances of scoring. We lost 3-1 at Chelsea. Wenger said we had lots of chances of scoring.
    The times that Arsenal won titles under Wenger we had clinical strikers.
    Wenger tried to buy Vardy … this probably means that Wenger too feels the team needs a clinical finisher since Vardy doesn’t add anything to a team besides goal scoring. (Personally, I don’t think Vardy is/was the world-class quality that I refer to as what we need).

    Barca had Messi who was scoring than 60 goals per season. Guess what? Barca bought a clinical world-class striker called Suarez.

    I am a great admirer of Sanchez. He is a brilliant footballer who can play in many positions due to his great talent. Is he a very good winger? Yes.
    Is Sanchez a good striker? Yes.
    Could Sanchez play in midfield? Most probably.
    Could Sanchez put a shift in Right Back position? Maybe.

  • Pat

    Agree so much about Adrian Clarke. Arsenal has the best – as usual! As well as having the top striker in the premier league.

  • Menace

    We have a clinical striker in Lucas Perez. He has an instinct for scoring but has not had sufficient exposure in our team to display his natural skills. His shot that hit the cross bar is an example of his technique. He & Arsenal were unlucky that that shot didn’t bulge the net. He will come good when given a start in the centre of team.

  • para

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
    OK enough is enough, damm it!

    For you to be “questioning the sanity and rationality of some of our supporters” is just not PC my chap.

    We all have different grades of rationality and sanity and just because yours is on a different level don’t mean you can come and dis ours.

    Where do you get off eh man?

    //
    “When I watch Adrian Clarke’s breakdown of previous matches I am impressed with his insight and clarity in discussing our strengths and failings.”
    Can only say yeaaa to this! 🙂

    //
    psychology = the ology of psych?

    1 “The science that deals with mental processes and behavior.”

    2 ” The emotional and behavioral characteristics of an individual, group, or activity”

    3 “Subtle tactical action or argument used to manipulate or influence another”

    This influence can be positive or negative depending on the intent.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Some new words to best describe ‘them’ , that I would like to submit here for approbation .

    PHALLUSCY -( Phallus + Fallacy ) [fal-uh-see ] – A deceptive ,misleading and lying cock. Utter poppycock . Lying prick .
    ” The stupid phalluscies kept on insisting that AW doesn’t do tactics or have a plan B .”

    COCKAMIMIC -( Cockamamie + Mimic ) [cock-ah-mim-ick] – A nonsensical, pointless, derisive and ridiculous repeating of speech and /or action.
    ” The cockamimics still insisted on holding up’ Arsene out !’ and ‘Spend some more fucking momey !’ banners , even though the rest were celebrating St.Totteringham’s Day .”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    THE BASTARD !

    GIRL: I have sinned. I called my boyfriend a BASTARD.

    PSYCHIATRIST: Well now, that’s not a nice thing to call anyone, so what
    did he do to deserve that?

    GIRL: Well, he kissed me.

    PSYCHIATRIST: You mean like this?

    The psychiatrist kissed the girl

    GIRL: …… Yes!

    PSYCHIATRIST: Well that’s no reason to call him a BASTARD.

    GIRL: But, he put his hand in my top.

    PSYCHIATRIST: You mean like this?

    The psychiatrist put his hand in the girl’s top

    GIRL: Yes!

    PSYCHIATRIST: Well that’s no reason to call him a BASTARD.

    GIRL: But, he took my clothes off.

    PSYCHIATRIST: You mean like this?

    The psychiatrist took off the girl’s clothes

    GIRL: Yes!

    PSYCHIATRIST: Well that’s no reason to call him a BASTARD.

    GIRL: But, he had sex with me!

    PSYCHIATRIST: You mean like this?

    The psychiatrist had sex with the girl

    GIRL: .Yes!

    PSYCHIATRIST: Well that’s no reason to call him a BASTARD.

    GIRL: But, then he told me he has AIDS.

    PSYCHIATRIST: BASTARD!!!!!

  • Menace

    You just never know when you might get a present!

    Worse is when you take it home & give it to your wife.

  • Polo

    The last time Arsenal haven’t scored a goal in the EPL was 0-0 against Middlesbrough in October. In all competitions, the last time Arsenal haven’t scored was against Southampton in the EFL Cup. That’s very good for a man whose tactics and philosophy are supposed to be outdated.

  • ARSENAL 13

    @Zuruvi,

    Alexis has a shot accuracy of 39% and shot conversion is at 37% and .51 goals per game is not lethal enough??

    Show me players who have better stats?? Lets see how many can be signed?

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