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Norwich City paint away changing room pink to lower opponents’ testosterone

PUBLISHED: 12:23 18 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:01 21 August 2018

Stuart Webber, Norwich City's sporting director, has revealed the unusual  pink changing rooms plan. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Stuart Webber, Norwich City's sporting director, has revealed the unusual pink changing rooms plan. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Norwich City Football Club is using the testosterone-lowering powers of the colour pink to throw opposition teams off their game.

During a fans’ forum at Carrow Road on Thursday night, City sporting director Stuart Webber revealed that the away changing room had been painted a “deep pink” colour, used in American prisons to lower aggression and promote empathy.

The pink technique was used for years in college football in America and was believed to be so effective that the governing body banned the tactic.

In contrast, Norwich’s changing room is bright white and decorated with motivational phrases.

But will the move be enough to secure Norwich a promotion?

Dr Andrew Bayliss, senior psychology lecturer at the UEA says although the pink effect would be small, it could be enough to tip results in marginal games.

Dr Bayliss said it would be a player’s emotional memory of a colour that would make the difference, warning that the tactic could actually work against Norwich.

He said: “If they have played a team with a pink changing room in the past and smashed them then the victorious feeling could be triggered, which might improve their game.”

And getting the pre-game ambience for the home team could have more of an impact than putting off the opposition.

According to Dr Bayliss, even subtle reminders of team identity, such as the Norwich City badge, will have a positive impact on how well players work as a team.

He said: “There’s a lot of evidence that reminding people of their group identity improves team cohesion. When team members identify better with each other, this triggers the release of a hormone called oxytocine.”

Oxytocine, sometimes called the “love hormone” makes us feel happy and is believed to increase athletic performance by some experts.

Dr Bayliss added: “If the players are on board, it could have a positive impact but if they think it’s nonsense then it could have the opposite effect.”

Norwich City are not the only club to employ unorthodox tactics.

John Beck, manager of Cambridge United in the early 1990s, had the grass cut at different lengths to make passes stick in the corners, which suited Cambridge’s long ball style, throw cold buckets of water over his players to ‘wake them up’ and turn up the heat of opposition dressing rooms to unbearable levels.

Beck took Cambridge from the fourth division to fifth in Division Two, their highest ever finish, and to two FA Cup quarter finals.

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