Football: Fernando Torres – Know Your History

So Fernando Torres is to join Liverpool from Athletico Madrid for 26m. Is he going to be the catalyst that finally ignites Liverpool’s title challenge? Or will he join Stan Collymore, Emile Heskey, Craig Bellamy and Djibril Cisse, and fail to live up to the publicity and hype? If he is to make a difference, the first thing I would do if I was working with him, would be to steep him in history. I would create a specific induction process for him. An induction into the history of great Liverpool forwards…Liddell, Thompson, Hunt, St. John, Keegan, Toshack, Dalgleish, Rush. […]

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Tim Henman – And Mr Henman

Another summer. Another Wimbledon. Henman Hill packed with expectant fans. Living on hope. It’s been like this for years. Hope followed by disappointment. So what, if anything could Tim Henman have done differently to have broken his personal stop situation and taken the Wimbledon crown. If I had been providing sports psychology services for Tim, I would have suggested a radical experiment. It is one he may not have liked. I would have asked Tim to tell his father Anthony to stay away. Every year you see Mr. Henman alongside Mrs. Henman and Lucy Henman. Perched right over the court. […]

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GAA: Dublin – The Over Arousal Factor

It’s the Leinster Football Final and Dublin are hosting Laois at Croke Park. It’s an even game when suddenly Dublin score two goals in as many minutes to knock the stuffing out of Laois. After the first goal, Dublin forward Mark Vaughan begins taunting the Laois defender Darren Rooney in an aggressive ‘in your face’ manner. Later on in the game two more Dublin players, Alan Brogan and Kevin Bonner indulge in further taunting of the defeated Laois players. ”You try playing in front of 82,000 people in a Leinster Final” is the response from Dublin’s 1995 All-Ireland winning senior […]

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Intoxicated On Euphoria

It’s the division one play off and the City Ground, Nottingham is buzzing. Forest are eight minutes away from a Wembley assignation which history and destiny seem to demand. Rolling back the years, The Championship is within touching distance. Suddenly, Yeovil pull a goal back and panic sets in. Coach, Colin Calderwood tries to defend his now precarious lead, but it is too late. They have lost the initiative. In extra time Forest are down to nine fit men. Exhausted and dishevelled they are ready to capitulate. Yeovil seize the moment and plunder a fifth goal. At the final whistle […]

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Steve McClaren

Its half time in Englands European Championship qualifier against Andorra and an angry mob has gathered to abuse the underperforming, lifeless, England players. The majority of the venom however is directed at the manager. Its the lowest point yet in Steve McClarens brief tenure as England boss. At the time of McClarens appointment, his predecessor, Sven Goran Erikksson said, I have no doubt that he has all the credentials to be very successful in the job and wish him all the best.” Nine games later, there are online petitions calling for McClarens resignation, and he is being hounded by the […]

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West Ham United

It’s late into West Ham’s vital encounter with Tottenham Hotspur and the Hammers have managed to gain a 3-2 lead with minutes to go. Moments later, the visitors have plundered two goals to snatch the points. In the stands, Icelandic chairman Eggert Magnusson has his heads in his hands. Manager Alan Curbishley is aiming frustrated kicks at his water bottle. The fans are sitting dumb-struck in their seats. Like Newcastle United’s spectacular Premiership capitulation in 1996, it has all the hallmarks of a classic act of self-sabotage. What Would A Sports Psychologist Do?… With the Hammers staring relegation in the […]

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Blackpool FC

It’s thirty minutes into Blackpool’s First Division encounter with struggling Brentford and the Seasiders, unexpectedly, find themselves three goals down to the relegation threatened visitors. It’s an atypical blip for Simon Grayson and his team, who have hauled themselves into promotion contention after a disastrous start to the season. There are a number of jobs in football that are considered intense management challenges, such as making Leeds United or Wolverhampton Wanderers driving forces in the game again. But what could be more daunting than the task of lifting Blackpool, one of England’s most famous clubs, back into the Championship, after […]

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Ian Dowie

It is known as one of the safest jobs in the game. The previous incumbent had been there fifteen years. Yet, a mere fifteen games into his tenure at Charlton Athletic, Ian Dowie is sacked. His precipitous departure informs us of the pressures a new manager faces when replacing someone who has helped define a football club’s culture, its DNA. The next coach of Crewe Alexandra or Manchester United would face similar difficulties: the longer a manager serves a football club, the tougher it is for their replacement to shape it in their own image. Longevity is not, of itself, […]

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Sunderland

It’s only the second Saturday of the new Championship season and at the Stadium of Light the long suffering locals are expressing their dissatisfaction. Sunderland have experienced a home reverse to Plymouth and Niall Quinn, if he didn’t know it already, is appreciating the daunting challenges which face him. The phone ins are hot with anxiety. What do the sports psychologists think? What are the problems confronting a manager trying to breathe life into a sleeping giant and how can he deal with them? With every so called ‘big club’, be it Sunderland, Derby County or Wolverhampton Wanderers, which has […]

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Zinedine Zidane

it’s deep into the second half of World Cup Final and with Zidane and Henry pulling the strings for France it appears as if Zidane’s farewell will be glorious and positive; little were we to be aware of the vivid drama that was about to unfold. It was the psychology of sport at it’s best. Now we have to try to understand that at the very end, the moment where triumph reached out to grab his hand to take him to the pinnacle again, Zidane’s fingers slipped from the grasp of victory and he slid down the cliff of failure […]

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