As a doctor, a lot of football fans come into my surgery and ask me: “Doctor, how do I know if I have got ‘promotion fever’?”
The simple answer is to consider a number of factors – how many games you are planning to attend between now and the end of the season; whether you have bought another shirt with “Diaz 22” printed on it and how many times you are Tweeting daily with thoughts and opinions on how many points potential play-off rivals will amass.
If you find yourself contemplating all of the above then you are almost certainly afflicted by what we doctors call promotionus optimism affectationem or as it is known more colloquially, “promotion fever”.
Continued points accumulation by the football club will serve only to highlight the effects, but even worse, a run of successive defeats will cause the bug to mutate into a more virulent form bottlus absentia or “loss of bottle”. Sometimes this may result in the afflicted patient calling for anyone and everyone connected with a football club to be sacked, an incessant desire to write letters to the sports editor of the Lancashire Telegraph and/or a constant need to post on internet forums.
A localised outbreak of “promotion fever” once famously affected the Blackburn area in the spring of 1992 only to mutate into the feared bottlus absentia almost without warning. Fortunately everyone impacted was quickly inoculated with the newly acquired “Dalglish Play Off Vaccine” which had been previously developed in laboratories based in Glasgow and tested on Merseyside with excellent results.
If you find yourself experiencing an irregular heartbeat, sweats and palpitations, coupled with sweary outbursts often aimed at three people dressed all in black; most notably on Saturdays between 5pm and 10pm; then my advice is to consider a three month vacation on a desert island with no cellular or cable communications facilities. Nothing that will happen over the next few weeks is likely to alleviate the symptoms.
FEVER PITCH: The earliest evidence of promotionus optimism affectationem at Ewood Park in 1958
*With apologies to all at Private Eye magazine. This article was originally published in Issue 90 of 4,000 Holes waaaaay back in March 2018. Please support the continued existence of the fanzine by considering a subscription or buying the occasional copy via this link. It is really appreciated by all of the contributors. Thank you.