Page 5, 5th December 1952

5th December 1952
Page 5
Page 5, 5th December 1952 — Discipline is the mark of the disciple

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Locations: London


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Discipline is the mark of the disciple


Arsenal and England Centre-half NE day the lecturer on education at London University, where I studied to be a teacher, began his class in a different fashion. He read out a list of words, a dozen in all, and asked us

to write down after each the first word or phrase that jumped into our minds. Afterwards he revealed that 11 of the words had been camouflage and only one really mattered, "discipline."

With vivid memories of the late Canon Driscoll, the first headmaster of the Cardinal Vaughan School, I had written after "discipline" the word "packlycock"—the instrument. with which the head had meted out chastisement. Practically all my fellow-students had also written a means of punishment. The lecturer had made his point beautifully. He told us that "discipline" was derived from "disciple," and the followers of Christ willingly abandoned their previous way of life, and even their livelihood, to accept His teaching. There was no compulsion.

That was the ideal we students had

to strive for as teachers—to induce from our pupils voluntary acceptance of the subject we taught, instead of forcing their noses to the grindstone by fear of punishment. Such an approach produces a greater and more fruitful effort.

-I RECENTLY visited a youth club in the East End of London. It exuded discipline at the very entrance, yet there was nothing unpleasant about it. There were no notices of club rules, no prefects, no watch dogs.

Nor were there any cigarette ends on the floor, and dirty marks on the

walls, any untidiness. The quiet dignity and orderliness, and at the same time the freedom and happiness of the members was most impressive.

The club has a fine record for competing against juvenile deliquency in the area. Youth finds here a fruitful and constructive expression for its energy and abilities, which otherwise might search for an outlet in antisocial activities.

I had no need to ask the Principal how good was the club's soccer team. I knew the answer already. With such discipline the side was bound to be successful.

Discipline is not a word used very much in football. We prefer to call it team spirit, the willing submission of one's self to the needs of the team, even at the expense of personal glory. Eleven men bound together as a complete unit will conquer 11 individuals even if they are inferior in skill. Here is the explanation for the giant killers who arise in the F.A. Cup, as Bristol Rovers, Yeovil, Leyton Orient and Colchester have done since the war.

IALWAYS regard Stanley Mat1 thews as the best example of a team player. That may sound odd, because Matthews is the finest mdividual player of the generation. He has deliberately changed his style, however, for the sake of the side.

When 1 first played against him, just before the war, he used to cut in and shoot, scoring many goals for himself. Gradually he realised that his unique ability to beat snore than one opponent could best be used to bewitch the whole defence, and thereby create openings for the other forwards. Matthews has practically denied himself the satisfaction of scoring, but we have lost count of the number of goals he has presented to his colleagues.

Joe Mercer is another who has changed his style. I well remember him in an Army-R.A.F. war-time match. popping up in the penalty area to score the winning goal. Such aggressive wing-half tactics a r c foreign to the Arsenal style and he

Continued in next column. was urged to alter them when he was transferred from Everton to Arsenal in 1946. He did so willingly, thus keeping the defence as watertight as usual and helping the attack in the breakaways for which it is famed.

Bolton and England centre forward, Nat Lofthouse, has adopted different tactics this season. Instead of waiting to be served with passes, he is foraging himself, and making chances for the inside forwards. It happens that the tactics so disrupt the opposing defence that he is finding more opportunities for himself. This is the reason for the remarkable advance Lofthouse has made, from a bustling and courageous leader to one worthy to be rated among the greatest of those who have worn England's colours.

LOFTHOUSE shows how the wheel turns full circle. It starts with the player sacrificing himself for the team and ends with him becoming the complete footballer, widening his skill in many directions. I am reminded ()relic words Arthur Rowe spoke to his players on becoming manager of Tottenham Hotspur three years ago. He told them how fortunate he was to take over so many tine fonthallers, hut he emphasised that he wanted a good team first. "The individual honours will follow," he assured them. In his first season, Spurs won the Second Division, in the next they won the First, and last May they were second in the First. And the honours? Nine have played for their country in the last three seasons, six for the first time. and three have gained other representative honours. And so the discipline of soccer produces its immediate rewards.

But that is its secondary effect. The .primary one is to encourage the participants to submit to a code of conduct anti team work, In this way soccer plays its part in promoting qualities of sportsmanship and civic responsibility.

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