Back Home


No. 3. The Left Fullback with Family and Friends.


Purpose: Good support improves the health of the club.


Premiership Health is not just about scoring the goals, it’s also about ensuring you develop close bonds with family and friends that allow you to enjoy the game and share those special moments.

There is a lot of research to show that the support of family and friends is vital to the strength of your immune system making your Left Back an important defensive player.

Back in the 1970s, there was a player at West Brom named Paddy Mulligan, he made 109 appearances for the club and scored precisely one goal and yet, because of his stalwart defensive qualities, became one of the teams most popular players.

Paddy was exactly the kind of player Albion needed; intelligent, great positioning sense and a good reader of the game. His one major shortcoming was he was as slow as possible, but, he was as fast as necessary when it came to stopping the opposition.

Yes, the ball might go past him or the player skip by, but rarely both, one of them would invariably end up in the front row of the stand to great cheers from the crowd. Just the type of player you need on your side when the going gets tough.

Paddy, was an important member of the team that gained promotion in 1976, helping to keep 22 clean sheets during the season, and a 1-0 away win against Oldham on the final day of the season to clinch the last promotion slot.

Legend has it, the Albion had over 18,000 fans in Boundary Park on that fateful day, out of a crowd of 22,536, and, on the final whistle, the pitch was full of Albion fans who wouldn’t move until the players came out.

For many it remains their happiest moment at a football match.

“The comaraderie in the dressing room was magnificent. We weren’t the most skilful team in the world, but, the comaraderie brought you an awful long way.” Different Class: Paddy Mulligan.

Every Club needs a good set of supporters to help it survive and thrive, they are its life blood, carrying the oxygen that generates the atmosphere in the “Stadium of Life”.

They are the first people you turn to when you are under attack and the last people to desert you when the going gets tough. Yes, a good fan will stick by you, through thick and thin, the good times and the bad, they will defend you in your absence and they will never give up supporting you.

We are essentially genetically programmed to make friends, because that is how we as a species have survived. Millions and millions of years of evolutionary pressures have given a survival advantage to those people who were best able to make friends and support each other.

Back in the days of the hunter-gatherer society, co-operation and sharing of food and shelter, ensured a very much egalitarian society, one in which equality enabled friendships to develop, and a society in which social exclusion literally meant starvation and death.

Is it any wonder then that love and friendship should be at the heart of good health for any team today?

Indeed, so strong is its evolutionary importance to the survival of the human species, it is hardwired into the body-mind of each and every one of us.

Which is why for Premiership Health, it is so important to be social and support a team.

For example, brain imaging has shown social rejection activates the same area of the brain as pain and with just as much intensity, the greater the rejection the greater the activation. Conversely, social contact, even a simple hug, stimulates the release of endorphins – your body’s natural pain-killers and so called “happy” chemicals.

In 1950, the British Psychiatrist John Bowlby, reported on the development of children orphaned during the Second World War. He concluded that normal development required;

“a warm and continuous relationship”

without which many children failed to thrive. This has been backed up by research in neonate units the whole world over, demonstrating the importance of holding premature babies to maximise their growth.

This need to be touched and to touch continues throughout life, even the stroking of a dog has been found to be beneficial to patients in hospital by helping to lower blood pressure. Some hospitals and care homes, have implemented “pat a dog” schemes to take advantage of this relationship.

Ask any GP and I bet they will be able to give you numerous examples of couples married for many years, who both die within a short period of each other.

This was supported by a 1996 study which looked at more than 1.5 million people, it found that in the 6 months following the death of a spouse, the risk of dying from a heart attack increased by 20-35%, and the risk of dying from an accident or alcohol-related problems doubled.

Thus confirming what we have known all along, you can indeed die of a broken heart.

From a physiological point of view, scientists would argue the acute stress brought on by the bereavement could potentially cause arrhythmias and increase the risk of a heart attack.

Sociologists would argue the loss of a supportive partner could cause you to drink more and therefore be more likely to get into accidents, and psychologists would suggest the negative feelings you experience cause hormonal/immune system disturbances which can have a direct effect upon the heart.

The truth is, all of these are true, but they are not separate, they are all intimately connected. The mind, body and soul play together, so the emotions you experience do indeed affect the peptides and neurotransmitters and hormones kicking around in the body. These then go on to communicate their feelings with the cells of the body and ultimately affect your health.

Friends and supportive social relationships also provide important opportunities for reducing stress, you can talk and “get it off your chest” and they can listen. As a result, you often find that older people with more friends are much more likely to recover from a heart attack than those people with few or no friends.

One study even demonstrated that after a heart attack, people with no friends, were three times more likely to die than those with at least one or more supportive relationships.

All this is impelling evidence that you can indeed get by with a little help from your friends!


If you have ever spent time with someone in their final days, you will realise they don’t talk about work, money, or material possessions, they talk about relationships, loves of their life, achievements and the happy times they have enjoyed. These are the moments that have meant the most to them in the game of life, these are the moments they cherish and these are the moments we should pursue for our own Premiership Health.


Goal Scored: Positive Relationships.⚽️⚽️⚽️



Back Home