Paul McVeigh



Aug 15




If you cannot control your emotional responses in top-level sport then you are not worthy of any respect.


If eulogies came as trophies, then Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho would need an entire floor of their respective mansions dedicated to storing them.

One regular tribute paid towards the two men is that they are winners.

The collected kowtowing heads of those who should know better will point to the post-match handbags after last weekend’s Community Shield match as an example of their respective competitive edges.

They’re single minded. Driven to win at all costs. And will utilise any trick to demonstrate perceived psychological superiority over their opposite number.

Including failing to recognise that their opponent is even present?

The behaviour of winners? Twin Sun Tzu’s at Wembley stadium outdoing each other in the art of war?

No, not at all. What their frequent squabbling does display is a total lack of sportsmanship and professionalism.

Qualities that such high profile managers should display in abundance.

Yet they prefer to act in a manner that would shame a small child.

And that’s a disgrace.

Such actions serve only to distract from the game itself, they are also entirely self serving; ‘tactics’ played out with their own egos in mind rather than a methodology utilised for the good of their respective teams, or, chance would be a fine thing, the game as a whole.

And you can quote me on that.

If you cannot control your emotional responses in top-level sport then you are not worthy of any respect.

I’ll offer you an example from my own career.

Once, when playing for Norwich City, I went into a 50:50 tackle with Tim Cahill who was then at Millwall.

No quarter given and none asked. But, as we picked ourselves up and got on with the game, Cahill turned and spat at me.

And, in that split second, I wanted to kill him.

But I didn’t. Because if I had retaliated, his actions would have been sickly justified. I’d have been sent off, suspended and my team would have been down to ten men.

Luckily, I had the emotional self-control not to respond in kind but to put the team first.

Why can’t Wenger and Mourinho see their little spat for what it is and display some emotional control and maturity?

The bigger man would be the first to offer his hand to his opponent, no matter what the result had been. And, at a time when football and FIFA, in particular, is under massive pressure to put its house in order, they should set an example.

Paul Dickov leading by example

Paul Dickov leading by example

Like another Manager, Paul Dickov of Doncaster Rovers did at the weekend.

After Rovers had inadvertently gone ahead via a back pass that was intended to return possession to Bury after an injury, Dickov instantly ensured that his team allowed Bury to equalise stating “I didn’t really think twice about allowing them to equalise. It just wouldn’t have been right for us to take three points in the circumstances.”

There will be those who claim that the likes of Dickov aren’t under as much pressure as the Wengers and Mourinhos of this world. But they’d be wrong.

Pressure? Wenger and Mourinho don’t know the meaning of the word. Not when you compare it to the daily pressure that Paul Dickov and his players encounter every day. Pressure that means if you lose your job you join the dole queue not the queue for first class tickets to Monte Carlo.

Yet, for all that, Paul Dickov still put the good of the game and sportsmanship above any personal agenda he might have.

And that, for me, makes him a bigger man and manager than either of those two preening peacocks operating in another Universe way above him.

Sorry, I meant beneath him.

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