>Racecourse Anxiety Syndrome

>I’m getting worried by the noises coming out of the changing room about playing at The Racecourse. Too many people are saying they’re desperate for the fans to be behind them, and I don’t think they mean that in a critical sense. The line coming from the players is that they feel the fans have every right to be disappointed with the performances on the pitch and are anxious to give them something to cheer about.

The key word is anxious. It seems there’s a genuine fear of upsetting the crowd, and judging by how many times we’ve heard such sentiments, it appears to be an all-pervading idea amongst the squad. Well, anxiety never leads to good performance, so it’s an idea that needs to be purged from the club.

When you’re in trouble, home form can haul you out, and the fans are, to my ears, not too harsh on the players. We need to make the most of home advantage and get the players to embrace playing at The Racecourse, not fear it.

There has been a lot of mockery in the press lately over Sammy Lee’s decision to employ a hypnotist to prepare his players for the mental demands of the Premiership. The reports have been typically stupid, full of cliched talk of dubious characters with twirly moustaches making players think they’re chickens. Seems to me that a person capable of getting through to the players that playing for our fans is not something to fear would be a big bonus.

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