Sunday, 26 August 2012

Bunker mentality

One hears a lot of nonsense talked in football circles about using an 'us against the world' mentality to motivate players - even Sir Alex Ferguson has been attributed with using such a technique. The problem is that you can only do this on select occasions, otherwise what happens is you create a culture of paranoia, bitterness and victim mentality. And the powerful effects of such a culture within a group of players is not to be underestimated.

Franchise customers have long been ridiculed for their attempt to adopt the Millwall 'No on likes us, we don't care' anthem - it really is utterly cringeworthy - but now it seems the victim mentality and paranoia have spread all the way up to the chairman and owner. Witness Winkelman's reaction yesterday to Franchise's fourth red card in four games:

It's embarrassing on every level. Why is the chairman out there talking to the media when the manager usually would? Can Robinson not be trusted to speak following his team's abysmal disciplinary record? Why is Winkelman blaming the officials for his own players' indiscipline? Why is Winkelman making up lies - Lewington is not grabbed by the throat - about an incident in the game? Why does Winkelman think that the style of football they supposedly play should influence referees' decisions about foul play?

The questions keep stacking up and the only answer is that the Franchise owner has fundamentally lost the plot. Perhaps the pressure of running a loss-making football franchise as part of his property development is starting to tell? One thing is for certain, when the victim mentality and paranoia at Franchise has spread throughout the entire organisation - customers, manager, owner, players - then the only way for them is down, because the mental-energy sapping nature of such an attitude, game-in game-out, creates a spiral of resentment and lashing out that simply makes the problem worse.

Franchise customer forums are even openly discussing the possibility of a referees conspiracy against them! All this from a club that only 2 seasons ago recorded an English football record 128 yellow cards in a single season, has had the manager sent to the stands on a number of occasions and which has been warned about its disciplinary record before.

It is of some amusement to me personally that I have been accused in the past of helping to strengthen the support for Franchise FC by helping foster this kind of 'bunker mentality' among the customers. Well, perhaps today they will realise the bitter end result of adopting such a mentality over a long period - it breeds the paranoia and victim mentality that helps cause yesterday's events. They could all of course have just faced up to the truths a long time ago, wiped the slate clean and started anew, free from guilt, blame and negative thinking, but they've chosen not to, and so we get to witness the embarrassing spectacle of Winkelman basically accusing referees of conspiring against his team. Oh dear, oh dear.

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