The 5 Stages of Post-Defeat Syndrome

So, your team have just fallen to another defeat. It could've been the big rival match, a 'six-pointer' or maybe one that you would've bet the house on. Whatever the match your beloved have been well and truly beaten and you're now about to enter the 5 stages of Post-Defeat Syndrome. Football (and other sports) fans will be all too aware of the symptoms...

1. Anger

"HOW DID THEY LOSE IT?!" No matter what actually happened during the 90 minutes you'll convince yourself that your team are simply a collection of overpaid mugs capable of throwing away what was definitely a guaranteed three points.

Their striker scored the perfect hat-trick? So what!? You rage at the fact that it wasn't so much the brilliance of the other team (let's ignore the 25 yard screamer) but the shocking display produced by your own men. This stage may be accompanied by ill-advised fights at pubs and clubs, acts such as punching walls and furniture or abusing friends, relatives and partners with a barrage of unwarranted abuse. "NO I DON'T WANT A CUP OF FUCKING TEA!". Sound familiar?

Stage One: Anger



2. Depression

Be it some much needed soul-searching in the depths of a Saturday night pint or the simple act of crawling into your beds warm, understanding embrace, you will hit rock-bottom as you fail to come to terms with the game that has gone before. You might be the strong silent type or the moaning moaner wallowing in-front of the t.v highlights but this blue feeling will wash over you like a tidal wave.

Your best bet is to avoid all match highlights and expert reaction as listening to the likes of Jamie Redknapp tell you how shit your team are will only push you further down into your pit of depression.

Stage Two: Depression



3. Hope

Stage 1 can be damaging but mercifully brief whilst stage 2 might grab on and not let go for days at a time. Whatever happens you will eventually snap out of it during the build-up to the next match and it's now time for stage 3; Hope.

It was bad luck/cheating opposition/bad refereeing that lead to the last defeat... this time it'll be different! You've got your star man (He had one good game 18 months ago...) back after an injury layoff or maybe there's a young 18 year old ready to fulfil all that potential he apparently showed in the youth teams...

You will tell yourself many lies during this stage of the process.

Stage Three: Hope


4. Bargaining

"I'd take a boring 1-0 win right now! I'd snap your bloody hand off for it!" You'll spend the majority of this stage calculating how badly your team could possibly perform but yet still succeed. This will include settling for a draw if other teams, competing for similar league positions, get hammered and humiliated... because you're nice like that.

Stage Four: Bargaining



5. Acceptance 

This stage generally only takes place on match day. It could happen first thing in the morning or minutes before kickoff. After days of frustration, self-loathing, false dawns and demented internal monologues you will finally sit back, relax and await another 90 minutes of highs and lows.

The stage-fiver comes in many forms. You might be the neurotic loner who's natural habitat takes the form of a darkened room only vacated for hasty toilet breaks. Maybe you're the socialite, someone who can only experience this crushing roller coaster in the safety blanket of company, alcohol and snacks.

Whichever you are it's now time to shut up and watch. Who knows, you could be lucky enough to avoid the 5 stages for a week or two...

Stage Five: Acceptance


Daniel McCarry
Article written by
Writing mainly about sport these days. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing.

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