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End Of Season Affective Disorder

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 31/05/2003

BARCLAYCARD research out today suggests that up to two thirds of football fans in the UK, 9.2million people, will experience symptoms of depression and withdrawal during the summer months because the absence of regular competitive football leaves a void in their lives.

The new condition, dubbed 'End of Season Affective Disorder', has been compared to the 'winter blues' (seasonal affective disorder) and may be more severe this summer because fans have enjoyed 22 months of continuous football, including the 2002 World Cup.

According to the report, commissioned by Premiership sponsor Barclaycard, the specific symptoms associated with 'End of Season Affective Disorder' are:

Lethargy: a lack of motivation

Directionless: lack of narrative or structure to a period of time
Unsociability: difficulty in conversing with friends, family or colleagues; disenfranchised from social group
Feeling of a void: expanse of time with nothing to look forward to
Without focus: unable to fix or concentrate on a given subject
Mood changes: irritable and temperamental

Football Dependency - key findings

Results of three focus groups and the national survey indicated that over 60% fans may be psychologically dependent on football and that it is, in effect, the central pillar of their lives. Dependence is demonstrated by the presence of the range of psychological phenomena or behaviours:

Ranked in importance above all else:

75% of fans stated that football is more important than anything else in their life, placing it above religion, politics, their family and partner

Prominent place in social activities:

70% of fans reported that football is the major topic of conversation among friends
59% of fans reported that football is the major topic of conversation among work colleagues
86% of fans indicated that during the season they would often or always plan their day around football
Engagement with football results in euphoria and/or relieves distress
83% of fans said football has an overall positive effect on their mood

Regular and frequent involvement:

100% fans reported that as well as sometimes attending matches, they consumed football via a proliferation of media: satellite/cable TV, Teletext, radio, magazines, newspapers, WAP and the internet

To help combat the condition, Barclaycard have set up a national helpline 0870 416 8888 where football fans can get there hands on Barclaycard Summer Survival Packs, including pies, cups of tea, 442 magazine, mars bars and mini footballs, to get fans through the summer without football.

Barclaycard sponsorship director, Nic Gault, said: "As a lifelong football fan, it is no surprise to see football impacting on fans lives even after the season has finished. Our findings go someway to explore and analyse an obsession; what football means, how it is consumed and the impact it can have on you and the people around you.

After all, for many football fans, it is an enduring relationship that began as a schoolboy crush lasting many years. Like any other relationship, we invest a serious amount of time, money and emotion - it would be foolish to think you could just let it go".

Furthermore, the report's author, psychologist John Castleton, suggests that in more severe cases feelings of desperation can set in, especially if the team that an individual follows has performed below expectation.

Commenting on the findings, Psychologist John Castleton said: "Dependence is part of the human condition, we depend on our family, friends, interests and jobs to construct our identity and give meaning to our lives.

"Football fans clearly hold a deep rooted relationship with their team, and as a result - like any other close bond - to have that central pillar suddenly removed, could cause a quite obvious existential crisis. Often fans will feel a void, an emptiness or loss on a Saturday afternoon". END

The Solution:

Ever conscious of the needs of Fishy readers we provide here the Fishy Super Stress Reliever (not suitable for children and those of a nervous disposition.) Best effects are obtained after repeated testing on a Wendy supporter!

The Fishy Super Stress Reliever

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