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Arsenal v EvertonL Dr Billy McGraw explains why people might protest at the match tomorrow, and what it all means.

By Bulldog Drummond

As I mentioned at the end of the last article, I asked psychologist Dr Billy “The Dog” McGraw about what drives people not only to protest, but what drives them to protest in particular ways.  Why, I wondered do some indulge in violence, some march, some hold up banners, and some just pull out of engagement.

He told me that in studies of the psychology of protest it is quite clear that there are two types of protesters – those who believe deeply, passionately and absolutely in the cause, and will sacrifice their own well-being to support the cause, and there are protesters who use the cause to boost their own ego or  gain self-publicity.

Each of these types then breaks down into sub-groups, but in essence there are those who protest because it answers some basic personal need (like a need to be part of a gang – very helpful for the person with limited social skills) and those who are driven by the cause, and will analyse what action is the most likely to bring about the result they want, whether it gives personal benefit or not.

“In the case of Arsenal,” he said, “those who don’t go to a game – especially if they have a season ticket that obviously has already been paid for – are clearly the deep and passionate believers,” said Dr McGraw.  “Nothing will sway them from their cause, and they have no desire to gain personal publicity.

“On the other hand there are those who convince themselves that yes they do believe, of course they believe, they really, really, really believe, but they also want something else.  Maybe to be in the limelight, maybe to have friends, maybe to make their life more meaningful in some way.   Maybe they want to be known as one of the people who paid for the aeroplane to fly over the ground with the anti-Wengerian banner, or perhaps they want to be on Arsenal TV.  In short, they have convinced themselves that they are part of the protest, but in fact they are doing something primarily that makes them feel good.”

I expressed a certain level of disbelief in this.  “I have seen a few of these people as they have pushed me aside as I walk around the ground to my entrance,” I said.  “There is no pleasure in their eyes.  Indeed if I see anything at all it is loathing.”

“Quite likely,” Dr McGraw told me, “but loathing is on the same emotional axis as fear, and their fear is of being excluded from the show.  They might want the limelight, or they might just want inclusion, but the key point it is about them, not about the cause.”

“So that is why you think they won’t run another boycott of a match and not attend?” I asked.

“Quite so,” he said, “the boycott was clearly very successful and got massive publicity that could not be challenged in any way at all, since it was self-evident that people were not there.  But all that publicity was for the cause, not for the individual.  When protesters fight they are saying, ‘Look at me, I believe, I am willing to fight for my belief,’ but in reality all their passion is directed into the first part of that statement.”

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“You mean, it is all about ‘Look at me’,” I said.

“Quite right.   The two types of protesters – Type I is those who ask, “what is the most effective way of bringing about the change I want?” and Type II, those who ask, ‘how can I get seen on TV?’  That’s why some protesters look so angry.”

“Because they are protesting and not being filmed?” I asked.

“Indeed,” said Dr McGraw.  “The media of course love Type II because they know they will be back over and over again and give the media more and more copy.  And when this protest fizzles out, there are another dozen to choose from.  Type I, who aim to hurt the club until it reforms, are of far less interest to the media.  They are the ones who get the results, but not the publicity.

“I think that when Arsène Wenger called the case of Tony Adams “sad”, he was referring to this situation.   Adams’ new book criticises Wenger but it is clearly there as a way to gain attention for Adams and deflect from his own failings.  He was a brilliant player and had all the limelight then.  We still see him taking the plaudits for his goal in the defeat of Everton to win the title, and now he wants to be the centre of attention again, and yet can’t quite get there.  Which is what Wenger found sad.”

Adams claims in his latest book Wenger is “essentially not a coach” and Arsenal’s manager suffers from a fear of confrontation that leads him to hire staff who will not “ruffle feathers”.   Adams also complains about being turned down several times for coaching roles at Arsenal and says, “Perhaps Arsène thought I might be too challenging for him.”   Dr Billy however points out that another explanation is that it is Adams who is not a very good coach.  Certainly his track record does not say much about his ability.

As we know, Tony Adams coached Arsenal’s youth team before becoming the sporting director of Chongqing Lifan in China.  As with some of the other Adams’ ventures that didn’t become a long term project and he quickly moved on to be head coach of Granada, where he has lost all six of his matches. Periods coaching or managing Portsmouth, Wycombe and Gabala in Azerbaijan have not resulted in many plaudits.  Or trophies.

Mr Wenger replied to the comments by saying that Arsenal hired coaches on the basis of two things: what the club needed and what the applicant brought to the club adding, “You have to employ people who can help you to be successful. If I leave tomorrow I have no right to come back just because I have worked here. You have to be needed. If you have made a career as a player somewhere, it doesn’t give you any divine right to come back. At a football club you want people to help you do the job.”


13 comments to Arsenal v EvertonL Dr Billy McGraw explains why people might protest at the match tomorrow, and what it all means.

  • Nitram

    When you take this back to it’s basics. I mean, to what is really at the heart of all this, all you keep coming back to is money.

    Wenger out?

    Kronke Out?

    Usmanov in?

    It’s all bollocks.

    All these people really want is for someone, anyone, to spend Billions of there own money on players.

    I doubt one of them could actually put there hand on there heart and say Wenger wouldn’t of been winning more cups, Championships, or even the Holy Grail of the Champions League, had he been appending a similar net £50 Million per season over the last 15 years, as per City United and Chelsea.

    So it’s not Wenger they actually dislike, it’s the fact he doesn’t spend enough money.

    It’s not actually Kronke they dislike, but the fact he wont spend Billions of his own money on the team.

    These people wouldn’t give a toss who owned the Club, or ran the team, as long as they spent Billions on it, and what’s more, there OWN Billions.

    I find it all very sad.

  • Chris

    I was thinking about these guys protesting.
    Reminds me of so many young men in Africa or Middle East
    All capable of screaming : death to America !!!

    Yet give them a green card and they are on the first flight to MY and then queue outside the first Macdonalds

    Maybe Arsenal ought to do a parallel thing. Just invite these guys to meet Arsene and the players….be nice with them….
    They’d be so proud of the selfies and the facebook posts they could not keep on being aaa…..

  • Nitram


    “Just invite these guys to meet Arsene and the players….be nice with them….”

    All very well in theory, but as far as I can tell he couldn’t of been any nicer to the media if he tried, and we all know how that’s worked out.

  • Josif

    I just have a few questions with a bit of preview and it’s based on the comments about the reported takeover bid.

    Things we have read so far include a wish that for “a massive windfall tax on all these oligarchs and sheiks (sic!) that own assets in the UK. Squeeze them till the pips squeak and fund the NHS and social care with the money we extract from them. If that means they F*** off back to Russia or the Middle East then good riddance!”

    Also: “The existing culture in the Club will be eroded and replaced by those of the new top dog. AFC as we know it today will no longer be AFC come 2 to 5 years of a Usmanov takeover. Then the cry to have “…our Arsenal back…” will then assume its true meaning.”

    “When the Hill-Woods and the Bracewells owned the club we had tradition, history. Now we are just like the others. Usmanov may be the final nail.”

    I won’t comment the evidence enclosed to the comments I’ve quoted because there is no evidence at all to back the claims. Just opinions (truth to be told, I really like this Blacksheep’s suggestion on NHS, except I’d add a grass-root football part).

    Is Usmanov a problem because his mother tongue is not English? If not, why mentioning Russia and Middle East in a bad context?

    Is Usmanov a problem because he doesn’t have “a blue blood”?

    Why would Usmanov’s Arsenal be less “our Arsenal” than Kroenke’s Arsenal? If pouring owner’s money in Arsenal means it’s no longer “our Arsenal”, does it mean Arsenal of Sir Henry Norris wasn’t “our Arsenal”?

    From what we could have heard about Usmanov, he is Arsene Wenger’s supporter and is ready to back him up. If that means he will actually make sure we don’t get robbed for about 10 to 15 points per season, he is the man. We know for certain – and it’s easy to back it up with referee reviews from every year since Kroenke’s arrival – that Kroenke doesn’t want to do anything to ensure Arsene & his 11 boys on the pitch have a level field while doing their job.

    After all, it seems Usmanov has been following an advice given by Andrew on 8th March this year:

    “If our performances drop sufficiently to impact on the value of his shareholding then I’m sure he will be as ruthless as any other business owner to replace the senior management. If you want to do anything about it then try offering him £1.5bn plus – who knows he might just accept it (although I think you would probably have to go to £2bn plus to stand any real chance).”

    Now, I must admit I don’t want Arsenal to become a plastic sugardaddy’s toy. Arvind made a great point about it when we signed Mustafi. It’s much bigger pleasure to see Rob Holding showing his incredible talent and maturity for his age and transfer fee than to see Mustafi, an experienced international with a huge transfer fee, doing his job well.

    Basically, I wouldn’t want Usmanov to become the Arsenal sugardaddy who will pluck 500 millions out of his arse to buy Messi & Suarez. No, I would want him to create a safe environment for Wenger to find a new Messi, a new Henry, a new Neymar or to make them out of Iwobi, Willocks and other Arsenal talents. I would want him to help Wenger to keep players such as Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sánchez and Özil at Arsenal, away from the clutches of Abramovich, sheikhs and Mourinho.

  • Uzzi

    Change is all what is needed at Arsenal. New management will turn things around. If Wenger paves way for a younger manager it would make our Arsenal change in many ways. A good example is Tottenham, who are able to buy the right players even when it means spending less than their rivals. Wenger no longer has the eye for the right players. I’d love to see Wenger go!

  • colario

    “A good example is Tottenham, who are able to buy the right players even when it means spending less than their rivals.”

    For the first time in 10 years? Yes
    For the first time in 20 years? Yes
    For the first time in 30 years? Yes
    For the first time in 40 years? Yes
    For the first time in 50 years? Yes

    For the first time in 60 years?…..

    Even the mighty Glen Hoddle could not lead Tottenham to the league championship. In his last game he was a Tottenham Loser against Coventry. Coventry would you Adam and Eve it. (Believe it).

    So fed up with being a Tottenham loser, he signed up for Arsene Wenger. And guess what? Glen has a championship winners medal.

    Merci Arsene. Merci.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I see some have forgotten the Bale sale fiasco . How many of the seven ( could be more ) players are still at the club ?
    What next ? Levy for Arsenal ?
    Who was the last Spurs manager to win a trophy ?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    At Niagara Falls..!

    Guide: ” I welcome you all to Niagara Falls..
    These are the world’s largest waterfalls and the sound intensity of the waterfall is so high, even 20 supersonic planes passing-by can’t be heard. Now I request the Spud fans to keep quiet so that we can hear the sound of Niagara Falls..!”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    MBBS Professor:
    ” The Sperm is made up of Fructose , the same material Sugar is made of.”

    A Girl raised her hand: “Then why doesn’t it taste like Sugar?”

    Suddenly silence in hall.
    Girl: ” Oops. ”

    Then Professor’s reply was also a Medical master piece: ” My dear, Thats because, the taste buds are located on the tip of your Tongue and not at the end of your Throat.”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Since we are educating each other Rarely used English words

    Did You Know These Things Had Names?

    *Glabella* – The space between your eyebrows is called a glabella.

    *Petrichor* – The way it smells after the rain is called petrichor.

    *Aglet* – The plastic or metallic coating at the end of your shoelaces is called an aglet.

    *Wamble* – The rumbling of stomach is actually called a wamble.

    *Vagitus* – The cry of a new born baby is called a vagitus.

    *Tines* – The prongs on a fork are called tines.

    *Phosphenes* – The sheen or light that you see when you close your eyes and press your hands on them are called phosphenes.

    *Box Tent* – The tiny plastic table placed in the middle of a pizza box is called a box tent.

    *Overmorrow* – The day after tomorrow is called overmorrow.

    *Minimus* – Your tiny toe or finger is called minimus.

    *Agraffe* – The wired cage that holds the cork in a bottle of champagne is called an agraffe.

    *Vocables* – The ‘na na na’ and ‘la la la’, which don’t really have any meaning in the lyrics of any song, are called vocables.

    *Interrobang* – When you combine an exclamation mark with a question mark (like this ?!), it is referred to as an interrobang.

    *Columella Nasi* – The space between your nostrils is called columella nasi.

    *Armscye* – The armhole in clothes, where the sleeves are sewn, is called armscye.

    *Dysania* – The condition of finding it difficult to get out of the bed in the morning is called dysania.

    *Griffonage* – Unreadable hand-writing is called griffonage (Are you reading this dear doctors?)

    *Tittle* – The dot over an “i” or a “j” is called tittle.

    *Crapulence* – That utterly sick feeling you get after eating or drinking too much is called crapulence.

    *Brannock Device* – The metallic device used to measure your feet at the shoe store is called Brannock device.

    Goodnight guys .

  • para

    All psych ology does not hide the fact that Arsenal is under performing at important times.
    The reason i think is because AW does not adapt too well to changing situations.
    He tends to rely on the players once they are on the field.
    But players are sometimes like children and need a helping hand from outside the field, especially with the opposition of the refs going on.

    One thing though, AW does not seem to fear confrontation, else he would have left Arsenal a long time ago with all the contra thrown at him and Arsenal by the media.

    I would actually love AW to continue while becoming a better coach, adapting to changes, not being afraid to try new things and preparing his players much better.

    Sadly it is hard for someone so old(i know, i am about that age too) to throw off ways that have accompanied them for so long.

    So change is definately needed, as Arsenal have become stagnant, never striking the blow with the hammer hard enough to reach the bell(an old fairground analogy for those who remember such) and hovering around 4th place every season.

    Although this position is not bad, many other teams would love to be there, but for Arsenal it is under achieving if Arsenal wants to be a top team.

    Anyway what ever happens i will still watch Arsenal.

  • Gord

    Being old doesn’t have to predispose people to start new ways.

    I have met people (at the gym, so I was teaching them weightlifting) who decided that when they left high school, they could quit learning. And they did.

    I’m 57. For somewhere between 10 and 30 years, I have averaged reading 10+ Ph.D. theses per year. This goes back to 1984 (starting graduate studies), but for a while I was reading almost 15 per year.

    You think I am set in my ways? I’m always learning. At least at some things. Other things I am hopeless at, so I don’t try any more.

  • para

    Me too. I have an unsatable desire to learn things. Along the way i found that many things were hidden from us.
    There are many publication around still that reveal much hidden things so try to access them. Also many who try to reveal these truths at the cost of their lives.
    I find that if you are really searching, information comes to you.
    Its like you send out an earnest request for information on something and soon the information will appear to you in some way, It may be a word, an event anything to give you the information. Then you have to come to your own conclusion, because no one else’s will do. 🙂