Don’t Read That – Read This (#1)

Don’t Read That – Read This (#1)
November 2, 2009 Paul Tomkins

Don’t read Stan Collymore or the utter tripe from once-respected but now beyond-a-joke Henry Winter, read these:

• John Nicholson, Boro fan, on 365 “”The size of Liverpool’s task – to win the league – is being radically under-estimated by his fiercest opponents. Contrary to popular belief, Benitez isn’t a failure at Liverpool, on the contrary, he’s already achieved so much. Sacking him now wouldn’t be surprising – but it would be an act of monumental stupidity.”

• Fink Tank at the Times, which backs up the “Why England Lose/Soccernomics” findings.

• RAOTL’s BHB on RAWK – he’s not a fan of mine, but I’ll gladly publicise this.

• Didi Hamann, showing he has nous and class (unlike Ronnie Whelan, whose brains are in his feet).

• Rory Smith in the Telegraph.

• A few videos worth watching on RAWK, as a reminder

• Had this email this morning from a reader named Phil Booth, thought it was worth sharing:

Hi Paul,

I read your latest article on and, as usual, enjoyed it and agreed with everything you said. You’ve got an excellent knack for cutting right to the crux of an issue.

While reading it, though, for once I realised I had some insight of my own, which I thought I’d share.

You asked: “…why does the average fan, or, given their ceaseless negativity, almost every football pundit (who have never managed, yet appear to know it all) have to ‘understand’ a manager’s decision?”

Unfortunately, what you describe is a well-documented form of cognitive bias that we all share, known as second-order incompetence, or the Dunning-Kruger effect [1]. Briefly, it describes a person’s incompetence as being the very thing that prevents them from realising that they are themselves incompetent and leads to exactly the kind of hysteria we see surrounding football in the popular media.

Another way of putting it is to say that, the less knowledge one possesses about a topic, the more likely one is to consider themselves an expert. And equally, the more someone knows of a subject, the less likely they are to claim expertise.

Although there’s nothing really that can be done to counteract it, awareness of its effects can at least be used to identify those people worth listening to and those who perhaps should be ignored.

For instance, your own recognition in respect of the Gerrard substitution against Everton, at least marks you out as someone more worthy of attention than, say, Jamie Redknapp or Graeme Souness. 🙂

Anyway, all the best, and keep fighting the good fight.



I’ll add other links as I find/receive them, but I guess they are thin on the ground right now. Rather than put things into context, the media wants its flesh to devour.