Football: Leeds United – A Powerful THEM

It’s ten games into the League One season and Leeds United remain unbeaten. Nine wins and a draw. Three points off the play-offs. This for a team docked fifteen points at the start of the season.

Many pundits thought that the fifteen point penalty would send Leeds spiraling into League Two and beyond. A point of no return. But what if the points deduction was a catalyst to success? That the Football League handed Leeds United a powerful focus. A motivational tool that every manager craves for. An enemy to unite his team. A THEM!

A THEM is an opposing force. A ‘something’ that stands in the way of success. A barrier. The clearer the THEM the better. Observe how hard Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have worked to create a THEM. It could be the media; incompetent referees; Arsene Wenger; UEFA. Or Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce bemoaning the poor decisions ‘small teams’ get against ‘big clubs’.

Without a THEM there is a danger of a successful team falling into the comfort zone. With a THEM,there is edge. The edge that is necessary to prevent the US becoming inveigled by the virus of THEM.

For Leeds United it is the Football League. An oppressive force taunting Leeds with their punishments.

It gives Leeds a clear enemy. Someone to prove wrong. To show the spirit of defiance. Having a THEM brings the US together. It unites the US. Look at their faces. The men in suits. Trying to deprive us of our livelihoods. Take food off the table. What do they know? They haven’t played the game. Put their pictures on the dressing room wall. US v The Men In Suits.

For a street fighter like Dennis Wise he couldn’t have made up a better enemy. The men in suits – worth every one of the fifteen points!

Posted in Football Psychology, Sports Psychology Blog.