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Dreams and Soccer


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Your dreams: What they meant

By Tom Fordyce

Are you going mad?

On Thursday, we published a selection of your bizarre sporting dreams.

We were introduced to the Wayne Rooney family band wearing over-sized papier-mâché heads, the African elephant playing centre for Wales and the time-freezing spiders which guard David Beckham's house.

Then there was the robotic Sir Alex Ferguson, complete with glowing red eyes, trying to break into someone's house, the camel-men of Stoke City and Trevor Brooking's cryogenically-preserved brain in someone else's head.

But what did they all mean?

We asked dream experts Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell, authors of new book "Dreaming Reality" to explain all.


"Dreams are related to those emotions which we haven't been able to act on that day," says Ivan.

"The spark is those things that have worried, frustrated concerned or excited us, like looking forward to Euro 2004 or Wimbledon.

"Dreams are nature's way of dissolving any emotional arousal left in our brains before we go to sleep.

"If, for example, you're looking forward to a match at the weekend, you'll get excited thinking about it and have expectations about the possible outcomes.

"But these can't be resolved yet because the match hasn't taken place.

"That means the related emotional arousal is still active and will therefore find its way into a dream to be de-aroused."

In other words, dreams are your brain's way of flushing out unrealised expectations and unresolved feelings.

Not only that, but it's happening to your pets, too.

Says Joe: "For a cat, a dream would switch off the emotion of seeing a mouse escape into his hole so that the cat could start the next day afresh rather than mentally waiting for a mouse to come out of hole."


Right. Down to business. What was all that about Rooney's giant papier-mâché head?

Explains Joe: "What may well be happening is that this person has been thinking about Rooney and how his ego might get bigger with all the publicity he's had.

"That might be why they see him with a swelled head - and the papier-mâché bit suggests a lack of substance."

Scholesy - anything you need to tell us?

What about Sir Alex Ferguson's glowing eyes and his "terminator-like" determination to break into your house?

"In the dreams where Ferguson is acting in a very bossy or authoritarian way, it could be that the dreamer is having difficulties with someone, maybe his boss at work, who behaves in a very similar way," explains Joe.

"In his dream, this person appears as Alex Ferguson."

What about Paul Scholes wetting himself after go-karting?

"A physiological stimulus can interrupt a dream," says Joe.

"The dreamer's brain has picked up the signal that he is about to wet himself. Meanwhile, at some level, he identifies with Scholes.

"Something that character does, or the way he behaves or looks, strikes a chord.

"Therefore, Paul Scholes plays the part of him in the dream."


"The reasons dreams are so hard to explain is that the dream switches off the arousal, so that the emotion it is based on becomes tucked away at the back of your mind," says Joe.

"That's why you can't work it out in the morning - the whole purpose of the dream is to make you forget that emotion."

Fine, but why do we picture Oliver Kahn as a German Kaiser or Darius Vassell as a 2ft ninja?

"Our dreams are full of rich, often peculiar and seemingly-unrelated metaphors like these because this is the natural language of our minds," explains Ivan.

I am cutting Darren Huckerby's hair, and I accidentally slice his ear off. As it drops on the ground, the ear lets out a loud screeching noise and turns into Nigel Worthington

"Our brains work by pattern-matching and metaphor.

"And our more complicated dreams are often dealing with more than one source of arousal, which means you can end up with quite surrealistic combinations in one dream."

Joe adds: "The original concern that caused a dream might not be immediately obvious because it will have been translated using appropriate metaphors drawn from our own memories.

"This is why, even if you sense a dream is about a particular person, they won't appear like they do in real life.

"They will be metaphorically translated into someone or even something else, or a distorted version of themselves.

"Michael Schumacher, for instance, might appear as a grand prix car."

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