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The perils of being a football supporter in post-season
11 July 2012
"Come in, ladies and gentlemen. Take a seat. We'll get started when everybody has arrived. OK, Gerald, we'll start with you if that's OK? How has this week been for you?"
"Not too good actually. I stayed up until two in the morning to watch the MLS and ended up oversleeping. I was late to work by an hour. The boss said that's my second strike."
"Hmmm, maybe you could look into watching some Swedish football instead. The games kick off at a more reasonable time. You could look into adopting a team? Gefle play in white, just like Port Vale, your team!"
"Yeah... I suppose that's something I could look into."
"And how about you Joe? Good week?"
"It's been OK. I tried to watch Wimbledon, but it just infuriates me. Where's the skill in hitting a ball back into a patch of grass? We've just signed a new striker though. Sounds like he can do a job at this level. So that gives me hope."
This is exactly how I'd imagine a therapeutic help session for PSD – Post-Season Disorder. The format would be the same as often happens with help groups of this nature. People would turn up and sit around in a circle on – seemingly – the least comfortable chairs in the world. The session would be run by a mild-mannered gent who listens intently to people's problems and offers suggestions on how to make the best of this awful, awful situation. At the end people gather and talk with each other, some selling pirated video tapes of FA Cup finals of yesteryear. Of course, these sessions don't exist: the true horror of a summer without football has yet to be fully recognised.
All joking aside, I definitely feel a drop in my mood when the football season comes to an end. It usually hits after a few weekends have passed without a trip to Blundell Park. I get up, eat my traditional bacon sandwich (tomato ketchup) and sit down for a good old wallowing session. Generally, this comes in the form of browsing the internet for football gossip. If it gets really bad I shut the curtains, turn all the lights on, load football manager up and listen to Three Lions. On repeat.
"Others might try a whole different tack, taking night classes in topiary and origami"
Different people deal with this lull in different ways. Some spend hours on the various messageboards, trolling, or otherwise. Some apparently spend their days camped out at Blundell Park or at various service stations dotted around the county, scouting the various activity, looking for potential new signings. If you believe the official site some would choose to spend hours looking at the growing turf, yet to be graced.
Some take a more proactive approach, either taking to a local pitch in the hope of imitating their heroes, while others might try a whole different tack, taking night classes in topiary and origami. A select few will write down their angsty feelings in hope that somebody will read them and maybe give them a job.
Transfer talk plays a massive part in inspiring the fans who lack so much without their Tuesday night trips to Ebbsfleet. Regular readers of the Fishy will no doubt have been absolutely enthralled by the Aswad Thomas saga. "He's signing this week!" "Why would he come here after all that's happened?" "I don't care, if he wants to come, let him." "According to his Twitter he's going on holiday, my calculations state he won't sign until the 4th or 5th." And so on. Until the deal is done and everybody can relax.
There is also the outgoing side to transfer talk. The internet nearly imploded when Robin van Persie announced that he was not going to sign a contract extension. As far as Grimsby are concerned there will no doubt be hundreds of rumours about League interest for Liam Hearn. It's a double-edged blade.
No matter how bad things are we should all be thankful that this year does not end with an odd number. No matter how infuriating watching England can be, this summer we were treated to some of the best international football on record in the form of Euro 2012. Whether you were captivated by the performance of the Spanish, the masterful Andrea Pirlo or even just the wonderful atmosphere that surrounded the host cities, it was an enjoyable spectacle for all.
Next year, though, there is not too much to look forward to unless football at the 2013 Central American Games takes your fancy. If you can even find a video feed for it. Have faith though, fellow strugglers: maybe we'll be looking forward to the start of a new season in the Football League?
As a conclusion, dear reader, I feel it my duty to tell you that all is not lost. Within no time at all you will be back sitting alongside the hallowed turf of Blundell Park, among the same old familiar faces. You'll either be enjoying or agonising, but it won't matter because you'll be back where you belong. Of course it's nice to win games, but what you're probably craving now is the camaraderie of being around other fans getting together for the good of something you all love.