This, from a Daily Telegraph interview with Gary Neville:
Whether Bill Beswick, the sports psychologist Steve McClaren has taken from Middlesbrough to the FA, can bridge the often tiny gap that divides international success and failure is a question Neville is happy to ponder. It might be expected that someone who abhors cant would steer clear of psychology, but Neville appears quite relaxed about his presence.
”I was a player at Manchester United when Bill was there and benefited from talking to him over a period of two to three years. I went in and saw him once every six to eight weeks. There is no magic about him, but he can perhaps realign your thoughts and you come out feeling very positive. They are very simple messages because sometimes you forget the basics.”
Now, I’m not going to hang myself out to dry for Bill Beswick, as his thinking on these things is far removed from mine, but – “someone who abhors cant would steer clear of psychology” – what is wrong with these people? That, from a newspaper that joined in with all the others in that rubbish about Churchillian “motivation” and “inspiration” of players – and from a newspaper that is on record for saying that we lost to Hungary in 1953 because English football spurned progress.. (the first team to take sports psychologists, plural, with them to a World Cup tournament in a foreign country was Brazil in 1958. They didn’t cover themselves with glory – recommending that Pele and Garrincha be dropped!! but the point is there to be made regardless).