By Kenneth Widmerpool;
This article was written as a reply to Tony Attwood’s article ‘The psychology of support’ on 1 September. Although it was published there we thought it really deserved to gain a wider audience – hence the reprint here.
I enjoyed reading your article Tony on the “psychology of support”, and I wrote this in reply. Not on the last day of the transfer market which has grabbed the thread–although ironically the shouting seems to have already started! I’m with you all the way, for whatever its worth. I would love to see sportsmanship trying to make a comeback, or at least for us to find a sense of proportion in the game.
I’ve got to admit that I did make an ironic smile at the comment on your “not being of the real world” status, in light of your life’s work and the blogs you run it just goes to show that a bit of deeper research wouldn’t go amiss! Also why “London” is real or the provinces are “real” is another misconception but that is for debating elsewhere.
Our root problems however are always going to be based in some form of ignorance. I’m no different, but I would like to see the fires stoked a little less or not at all by certain elements in society who want to lead people up the garden path…
“But I just wonder about why people get so angry just because there is a point of view that doesn’t coincide with their own” (to quote from Tony`s article) – and to offer an answer for this, even though it’s a rhetorical question, quite simply I think it is fear.
There’s an underlying lack we’ve all got it within us. Some have it more than others, and we each have it in different areas and in different contexts. I can’t help thinking that our basic education based on dualities rooted in our original and differentiating conditioning means often we are clouded when trying to see other people’s view points as well as our own. Me good, you shit. Me shit, you good. Me shit you shit. But hardly ever Me good you good! Why?
In the long term it’s just such baloney…not really much of a healthy debate, but the false anonymity of forums means people say things to each other they wouldn’t normally say. But we react to counter our own sense of feeling unworthy; as you stated Tony, it’s in all of humanity. It’s a basic root problem.
But then is having a “positive” site like UA just the same as a “negative” site like LG? Are they just part of the same ongoing fight over differentiating perspectives? One and the same?
I personally like it here despite plenty of poop posts; there are lots of gems, people writing great stuff. What makes me feel odd is when AAA starts writing about how Wenger or the team doesn’t want to win, which is pretty baffling. Did the “football manager” for the ZX spectrum ruin some people’s perspective of the game?
Perhaps the more we have our faces in the cyber world the more we lose our human compassion. How much was there in the first place, and is there even a place for such a word (compassion) in relation to football? Probably not, so shall we kick each other’s heads in, verbally or physically- that’s the main thing isn’t it?
And at the moment we all still have a choice (let’s keep fighting and hoping that it stays that way), how lucky we are to have that choice, the choice of how to be. I felt like firing the cannons off this morning as I reacted to comments I read in another article on here at UA but realised it was just the polemics of someone else who perhaps hadn’t thought much either about what they were writing.
Why take it so seriously? It’s an odd question to ask ourselves. Of course then there are the moments where certain action is needed and a certain language, but is that stretching the ideas of liberty?
Football evokes certain passions so where are the limits of liberty within the structure of football? And do we even have a right to stop those passions? And for what reasons would we want to stop them? It brings up interesting but complex answers doesn’t it?
One thing I do notice though is that UA doesn’t need outside polemics from the AAA, it’s actually a relatively close community that enjoys debating within its own framework that gets on pretty well considering its diversity of posters. I see many of the AAA think that UA isn’t critical but it is, it just takes a second to see it.
Of course these “lacks” are often the drive to forms of excellence, but at what price? We know of all the success stories (although they all seem to have a shadow side that crops up too often in the long term) but how many of the drives have ended for some in severe unhappiness or tragedy? Recent history is on our shoulders but seems to have been quickly forgotten, which for some us is pretty terrifying.
This lack has been manipulated and has become a part of the world’s daily life, and when it’s coupled with notions of identity then it’s basically an explosive situation and in the shadow of material gain and survival it’s hard for people to keep a level head-although greed is another issue.
I know people who through their own feeling of lack, plagiarised my work and kicked me out of situations that they felt threatened by and dumped me, as best they could, in the metaphorical bushes.
But with the loss of friendship which they expected to carry on, should they be frightened. Will that make them feel even more lacking?
What should I do? Carry own showing my own fears by getting revenge? Is it really just an ongoing fight between polemics? Why aren’t we generally even aware of this? Why is there so little dignity? Do you not feel that there is a key element missing today in the X-factor competitive society? Just some basic dignity would be a tonic for the world.
Plurality’s going to be the key to the future, whether people like it or not (although some may be scoffing at the idea already). How that’s going to happen is beyond me, as my own garden is weedy enough.
The odd thing about the established media is that although it preaches freedom for us (really for itself and then just to make as much money as possible whilst posing as a moral yardstick), it seems to take little care in its own immoral practices via manipulative articles and lies which cause long term problems as we know, (and not just in football). Let’s hope we don’t have to pay a price that’s beyond us all.
Well that’s my pie in the sky. And I realise I’m creating a polemic too, argue against it, and I’m aware of the counter arguments for those too (time and monetary investment and the joy and passion re football etc. and the whole receptacle for energy etc) but without a bit of pie in the sky, life to me ends up being too daft and absurd and I think it’s OK to go beyond the playground and what Simon Cowell thinks.
Like Tony and Walter and plenty of great people on here I think positive support is the best, it’s what I found that worked as a player, as did Julian James who turned pro from my team years ago, but if winning is the only satisfaction that we are told is a valid ‘gain’ to be had from football then I suppose we can only expect sooner or later problems and a feeling of insecurity and fear, and then the ensuing comments.
It seems odd though that considering football is a game of skill and chance based on endless permutations that are constantly changing from context to context, to then emotively put ones all into something which means that sooner or later quite simply you’re going to get hurt. Even if you buy another effing striker or spend some effing money or sack the club’s loyal manager.
Anyway, I’m sure we will never get the perfect balance and harmony in life simply because each and every human being is basically going at different speeds (although the idea that the fastest speeds are the “best” is also lunacy), so our perceptions are different regarding what’s tolerable at any moment.
But even that’s changing all the time. Football is now more interactive than it ever was (is that a good thing?) and with the “democracy” of the internet it means that everyone has an opinion on how things should be changed.
That’s fair enough, but there is another question, which is how can opinion be given and seen as being reasonable when football is such an emotive game. Which fan hasn’t called someone this or that? But why? Are we really that which we represent or like? Are we actually our opinions or are they ever changing, constantly being refined in the face of flux?
How are we to deal with this? Re-evaluating our idea of failure and understanding the basic way the game operates? I’m sure the Manure fans are being tested more than anyone else at the moment! I’m worried that many fans have written us off as we’re just touching into September.
We do live in a society that wants instant gratification and is terrified of being a loser, which is just as daft as the idea of a winner, yes very nice and all, but is football anything other than entertainment?
Shankly might have said it was more than a game, but that’s only because people invest extraneous elements into it, they don’t have too, any more than you don’t have to kick someone’s head in, verbally or physically, because they support another team or have another opinion. Why would you want to? I mean why would you really want to?
Odd, isn’t it, the emotions that football brings up. I’ve been shocked at my own irrationality and emotional absurdity and intolerance over the last 36 years as an Arsenal fan.
So does that mean then that the paying public can demand a winning team all the time or demand their hard earned cash back when their team loses? What right does any football fan have to demand that a team wins every week, when its system is based on the probability of failure and loss sooner or later?
I realise the object is to win (and of course I always want the Arsenal to win, but recognise I can’t always get what I want. So we win the PL and then win the CL, and even that’s not enough, must win all trophies in one season, and all the seasons ever after, and then with the most perfect football ever seen, so the cravings are endless as ever they push “forward”(again at what price?), but in the end failure steps in, such is the hand of flux.
I realise this is all very obvious, and even highlighting it doesn’t do any good; we’re stuck with a situation. But the lids off and that’s the problem: the wages are too high, ticket prices are too high, and if it means we must win to keep going, then the funny money comes in and the rest is bullhshit. Then in comes jealousy and the feeling of things being unfair (fair enough, I agree) and wanting to compete, to feel being part of something, to give our life some meaning or sense and on it goes.
But I think you can save your own ass, and know that despite that which we invest in the game itself, it is a game, and there’s people starving in the world, living in poverty and shit and flies and no shelter and being trafficked and prostituted and living desperate lives and a sense of perspective like that can help, fuck, it should help!
But is it an unsolvable situation that we are trapped in with football by the nature and makeup of the game?
I’m glad of one thing in this mire though: that UA was set up to trying and counter the utter negativity towards Arsène and the players, and that’s important even if it’s part of the duality of things. The pressure that’s now on everyone now to win: fans, player’s managers, is just insane.
So why do we want to create this insanity? Are we all really so frightened of being a losers, of losing or feeling inferior? If there’s no afterlife then don’t we all lose? How do you quantify the perspective and status of winning?
But finally, (I know, phew!) why do the AAA come to UA? Is it because
a) Some are sadists (searching for masochists?) and love it when the Arsenal lose to prove how right they are, but really they are just proving they are in fact, the AAA.
b) There is some form of evangelicalism at play, for the blind idiots at UA must be made to see the light, as if people here hadn’t given the AAA’s propositions at least some thought?
Kind of touching isn’t it? I think supporting the current team and manager in a positive light can only help, let’s face it, all of them are successful professionals and crucially human beings (!) that need our support not our negativity, surely? I mean, they are grown adults with the capability to reflect too! I think they need our support not our negativity!
Thanks Tony and thanks Walter.
COYG! Aha and Amen!