In the '70s, we called sports psychology "mumbo jumbo", says former Arsenal boss Terry Neill
Published 00:00 23/09/08 By By John Cross
Former Gunners boss Terry Neill says players used to think sports psychologists were full of "mumbo jumbo" in the 1970s.
Though it's fashionable today, the ex-Spurs and Arsenal manager recalls what happened when he introduced a psychologist during his spell at White Hart Lane - and it was a far cry from Arsene Wenger's methods.
Neill said: "When I was at Tottenham, we were fighting relegation and only had a couple of games to save ourselves so I brought in a guy called Ron Morecambe who preached the power of positive thinking.
"He took the players for a session at a hotel and I must admit I'm not a great believer and a few of the players thought it was mumbo jumbo. But he got dear old Cyrille Knowles, put his shoulders over one chair and his heels over another and told him to make as if he was a rod of iron.
"It seemed to be working and so, I for one, couldn't help but get up and try it and sure enough his back was like an iron rod. He had him believing.
"Some of the players, like John Pratt and Pat Jennings, weren't having it but others liked it and it worked for them. It was all about working on the positive and eliminating the negative."
Neill however, that Wenger has taken sports psychology to a different level and says the manager is a modern day genius. Neill added: "The likes of Brian Clough, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are geniuses and the great thing these days is that modern day players are more open to new ideas. They have two or three physios, masseurs and now sports psychologists.
"Arsenal are leading the way again but I just hope they can avoid too many injuries because the squad still looks a bit thin.
"But Arsenal are the model up on which other clubs are being based and if Wenger believes in something then it generally works."
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