I came across some more reasons to like Gary Rowett in an article I read on Friday. He reads books and he has banned mobiles from Birmingham City’s training ground. Here’s a quote:
“Rowett read psychologist B F Skinner’s Beyond Freedom and Dignity and drew from it that ‘with every advancement of technology you lose something from the human race’. He continues: ‘Invent the telly and people stop playing parlour games. Invent the telephone, people stop meeting. It can be used positively, but I think it creates a culture.
‘When you see a table of 10 young players and all of them are on their phones you have to question whether that’s a good thing. We have no phones at the training ground. It’s a bit OTT but you’re trying to foster team spirit, get people talking about the game.’”
Football is a team game and players have to communicate with each other if they want to win. That’s why learning to play the game and initiatives like Premier League Kicks can have a positive impact on young people. It’s not just a matter of occupying them so they have less time to get into trouble. The ability to communicate is important in all areas of life, not just in football. And, to repeat a quote I included in a post in 2013, “football does seem to have a tremendous capacity to enable people to connect with each other”.
Football can also help supporters to connect with each other. As well as providing opportunities to hurl outrageous insults at the opposition fans, it provides something for friends to talk about. Watching the game is just part of the experience; talking about it makes it a social experience too. I’ve been on some buses where nearly everyone was either staring at a little screen or talking into their mobiles and nobody was having a conversation with the person next to them. So I’m glad when I see people talking to each other at football matches. Long may the conversations continue!