Anger management

Getting angry is part of being human.

It is an evolved response to certain stressful situations.

The ability to get absolutely furious saved many of our ancestors from predator and foe.

It is as much a key component of a survival kit as fear.

You need both.

It gives the ancient part of your brain an instant chemical choice.

Fight or flight?

On Sunday Neil Lennon veered towards the former.

Some may want the return of the broken posture of Tony Mowbray a Celtic manager who always seemed to be comfortable with defeat.

I was brought into the Celtic family watching Jock Stein’s team.

The big man was contemptuous of Scotland’s football hierarchy and officialdom in general.

He fought his corner and often boiled with anger and not just in Scotland.

At half time in Lisbon he laced into the referee  who had given a penalty against Celtic.

He questioned referee Kurt Tschenscher’s integrity and his role in the Third Reich!

The polyglot German probably didn’t speak Lanarkshire so big Jock escaped going to the cooler.

Evolutionary psychologists have discovered that our primate cousins also experience moral outrage.

The ability of chimpanzees to get angry over what they perceive as an injustice is further evidence as how close they are to being human.

Of course we learn to control our anger that is part of life.

However the reason that sport has such a central role in the lives of many people is that it is a release valve for those feelings.

That is true for the spectators as for the players and for the coaching staff.

It is all about emotions…

Seeing a manager or player go off on one post match is part of the theatre.

When I think of Jock Stein I am reminded of a certain genteel septuagenarian currently in England who has always considered the big man to be something of a role model.

Mention the legendary Celtic manager to Fergie and he will speak in reverent tones about “Mr Stein”.

Before the Glazers intervened you could see that Ferguson was fashioning his own Lisbon Lions with quick, inventive players, sweeping forward.

He was creating the type of side that he met in the 1969 cup final.

The Rangers defence was destroyed that day and Ferguson was to blame.

He was the centre forward, but he had married a Catholic so it had to be his fault.

He would get his own back as manager of Aberdeen.

His Dons side was built around pacifists like Rougvie and Strachan.

Ferguson brought them and his anger to Glasgow.

It was part of the Pittodrie induction course that match officials were against them.

Rage was a key part of Aberdeen’s success in the early eighties.

For some reason the nickname “Sir Furious” has attached itself to this serene, Zen like knight of the realm.

Utterly defamatory and Sir Alex really should instruct counsel to seek redress for this vile calumny.

That nice young chap Beckham and his charming lady wife could perhaps be called as character witnesses to testify to Sir Alex’s genial disposition.

What isn’t widely known is that as a young boy in Govan he would pass by an Aladdin’s cave of timepieces every day on the way to his school.

The shop was owned by a frail, kindly gent of foreign extraction he would show these amazing contraptions to the young Ferguson.

The ancient watchmaker showed the young Govan lad the intricacies of his trade.

It is here that Sir Alex developed a lifelong passion for the precision of timekeeping.

You can still see him, even in his senior years, assisting much younger men from the Football Association to accurately assess the time left in a football match involving Manchester United.

He will often make the arduous journey down from the stand to the touchline to make sure that the officials have not miscalculated the allotted playing time.

A lifelong fascination indeed!

There have also been times when Sir Alex has entered into a fair and free exchange of views with match officials.

To see him do so on the touchline post match is to witness the embodiment of the Corinthian spirit.

So Lenny marched onto the turf  after a match and berated the ref.

The whistler wasn’t manhandled al a Bougherra.

The Lurgan man shouldn’t have done it, but I understand why he did.

Given that Euan Norris apparently can’t differentiate between Joe Ledley and Victor Wanyama then I suspect that Johan Mjallby will soon find himself up on charges relating to the incident.

The laptop loyal are now starting to sound like a lynch mob out to get Neil Francis Lennon, but don’t expect me to join in.

In fact the more I think about it the more fucking pissed off I’m getting.

One, two, three, four, five…

Discover Phil’s dramatic play Rebellion