David Cameron and Gary Lineker. Photo: Andrew Parsons/Conservative Party via Getty Images
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Are you a footie follower or a fan? Take this quiz to find out

Pencils at the ready - Hunter Davies has prepared a simple test to split the fakers from the true fans.

Fans have changed, these past two decades. Well no wonder, with the price of tickets. The middle classes have arrived, and the followers of fashion. So what sort of fan are you? OK, pencils out, your chance to score...

Referees

A) They have a jolly hard job and I’d never criticise them.
B) Only human, but they do make mistakes, so we should be allowed to boo.
C) Wankers, all of them.
 

Mourinho

A) Terrific plus for English football.
B) Something nasty about him, but he’s clever and does amuse me.
C) Piece of scum, in charge of the Scum.
 

Foreign Players

A) Have vastly improved the quality of our game.
B) There should be a quota to allow our young lads a chance.
C) Send them all home – but not from my team.
 

Eating

A) I always have a prawn sandwich.
B) I take my own guacamole and rye bread.
C) Pint and a pie.
 

Wages

A) They’re the world’s elite, it’s a short life, they deserve all they can get.
B) There should be a cap, it’s just obscene.
C) Don’t give a French fart, as long as we win.
 

Ronaldo or Messi?

A) Both geniuses – we’re lucky to be living at this time.
B) Ronaldo is a poseur, Messi the real thing.
C) I’d have Ronaldo’s baby, if he’d join us.
 

Kit

A) I have been known to wear my Arsenal bobble hat.
B) Always wear my team scarf, but basically it’s capitalist exploitation, wouldn’t you say?
C) Me and the wife have the full home kit, and the away kit, and she wears her knickers with a cockerel on the front – if we win.
 

Celebrations

A) Personally I always thought a handshake was quite sufficient.
B) Yes, celebrating is understandable, but in moderation.
C) Not being allowed to take their top off? Diabolical. I think they should take everything off and show us their tackle.
 

My Team

A) Arsenal, for my sins, ever since our son Harry started at Highgate.
B) Man United, though living in Stokey means I can’t make many games.
C) West Ham born and bred. The rest are scum.
 

Television

A) No Sky, I’m afraid, but my wife and I always watch MoTD with a nice whisky. Highlight of our week, actually.
B) Just BBC – if it’s on Sky, which I hate, I go to the pub with the lads.
C) Every bleedin’ channel, costs me a bleedin’ packet.
 

Best Bits

A) Just to see a good game, actually. It’s football I like, rather than one team.
B) My team winning, regardless of how they play. It’s cathartic.
C) Chelsea/Man United/Man City getting stuffed.
 

Who’s Going To Be On Top?

A) Of what? Sounds exciting.
B) Some greedy, nasty, foreign-owned club with loads of money.
C) We should have been, but for the feckin refs/ injuries/ stupid manager/cheating Chelsea bastards.
 

Who would you go to bed with?

A) David Beckham – wouldn’t everyone?
B) With whom, you mean. Arsène. The conversation would be excellent.
C) Wayne, for his looks, har bleedin har.
 

Which player would you like as prime minister?

A) Joey Barton – a real philosopher in charge at last.
B) Russell Brand – a revolutionary. Shame he’s West Ham.
C) John Terry – legend, leader, which is more than you can say about this poxy lot.
 

Which team does David Cameron support?

A) They’re in claret and blue, or is it claret and burgundy? Both jolly good drinks, actually.
B) Old Etonians, of course, who else?
C) Leave it out! At this time of the season my bleedin’ brain’s faded.
 

Answers

If you mostly ticked:
A) You are middle-class, middle-aged and boring.
B) Younger, with a good 2:1 and a beard.
C) True fan. 

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 01 May 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Scots are coming!

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I am special and I am worthless: inside the mind of a narcissist

There's been a lot of discussion about narcissists this week. But what does the term actually mean?

Since the rise of Donald Trump, the term “narcissistic” has been cropping up with great regularity in certain sections of the media, including the pages of this journal. I wouldn’t want to comment about an individual I’ve never met, but I thought it would be interesting to look at the troubling psychological health problem of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

People with NPD (which is estimated to affect about 1 per cent of the population) have a characteristic set of personality traits. First, they have a deeply held sense of specialness and entitlement. Male NPD sufferers frequently present as highly egotistical, with an unshakeable sense of their superiority and importance; female sufferers commonly present as eternal victims on whom the world repeatedly inflicts terrible injustices. In both cases, the affected person believes he or she is deserving of privileged treatment, and expects it as a right from those around them.

Second, NPD sufferers have little or no capacity for empathy, and usually relate to other people as objects (as opposed to thinking, feeling beings) whose sole function is to meet the narcissist’s need for special treatment and admiration – known as “supply”. In order to recruit supply, NPD sufferers become highly skilled at manipulating people’s perceptions of them, acting out what is called a “false self” – the glittering high achiever, the indefatigable do-gooder, the pitiable victim.

The third characteristic is termed “splitting”, where the world is experienced in terms of two rigid categories – either Good or Bad – with no areas of grey. As long as others are meeting the narcissist’s need for supply, they are Good, and they find themselves idealised and showered with reciprocal positive affirmation – a process called “love-bombing”. However, if someone criticises or questions the narcissist’s false self, that person becomes Bad, and is subjected to implacable hostility.

It is not known for certain what triggers the disorder. There is likely to be a genetic component, but in many cases early life experiences are the primary cause. Narcissism is a natural phase of child development (as the parents of many teenagers will testify) and its persistence as adult NPD frequently reflects chronic trauma during childhood. Paradoxically for a condition that often manifests as apparent egotism, all NPD sufferers have virtually non-existent self-esteem. This may arise from ongoing emotional neglect on the part of parents or caregivers, or from sustained psychological or sexual abuse.

The common factor is a failure in the development of a healthy sense of self-worth. It is likely that narcissism becomes entrenched as a defence against the deep-seated shame associated with these experiences of being unworthy and valueless.

When surrounded by supply, the NPD sufferer can anaesthetise this horrible sense of shame with the waves of positive regard washing over them. Equally, when another person destabilises that supply (by criticising or questioning the narcissist’s false self) this is highly threatening, and the NPD sufferer will go to practically any lengths to prevent a destabiliser adversely influencing other people’s perceptions of the narcissist.

One of the many tragic aspects of NPD is the invariable lack of insight. A narcissist’s experience of the world is essentially: “I am special; some people love me for this, and are Good; some people hate me for it, and are Bad.” If people with NPD do present to health services, it is usually because of the negative impacts Bad people are having on their life, rather than because they are able to recognise that they have a psychological health problem.

Far more commonly, health professionals end up helping those who have had the misfortune to enter into a supply relationship with an NPD sufferer. Narcissism is one of the most frequent factors in intimate partner and child abuse, as well as workplace bullying. The narcissist depends on the positive affirmation of others to neutralise their own sense of unworthiness. They use others to shore themselves up, and lash out at those who threaten this precarious balance. And they leave a trail of damaged people in their wake. 

This article first appeared in the 16 February 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The New Times