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On Football Burnout And The Events of Liverpool’s Last Season

The new Premier League season is ahead, and a world of a heartbreaking last campaign behind.

Liverpool Trophy Parade Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

I don’t want the new season to start.

This writer isn’t the first and the only one to think this, surely, but it does feel a little isolating as we are two days from the first match of the new Premier League campaign and the thought remains while everyone else expresses their excitement and/or anxiety.

For all of last season’s accomplishments, it was exhausting simply from a fan’s point of view - much less than the players and staff. The idea of going for every match possible again is draining in and of itself.

Roughly two months is hardly long enough to get past a heartbreak like the one that came at the end of last season. Not only losing the Champions League final but in the midst of all that happened around it. Losing the Premier League title by single digits - again.

Yes, last season was momentous. Accomplishments to be proud of. Performances and character the likes Liverpool haven’t seen in years. The kind of push you can only hope for from your team. The Women’s team went 22 matches unbeaten, and earned promotion to the FA WSL by winning the FA Women’s Championship. The first FA cup in… a long time. The first League Cup in over ten years. It almost made the heartbreak worse, knowing there was so much to still be proud of. Did that make me an ungrateful fan? One that was able to visit Paris for the Champions League final, and make it back to Liverpool the next day for the trophy parade? See Calvin Harris blasting while Jordan Henderson danced with one of those trophies, amongst red smoke and confetti?

How can you be ungrateful after such an experience?

And how do you take only a month and some change to get over that bitterness and hurt, to ready yourself to start all over again?

I understand how the players and staff did, how they were able to separate - it is their jobs, not their lives. They had various vacations, chances to rest and spend time with loved ones. They get paid way more than I do, and get a lot more out of being an actual part of the game. Even much has been said of the rest and rejuvenation many expect Mohamed Salah to have gotten in this time following his various disappointments of last year.

We as fans don’t have that luxury, as we still have to go back to our normal jobs and sit with our own disappointments. We choose to be part of this fandom, giving our passion with nothing but to secondarily experience those accomplishments in return.

This may sound bleak - it certainly feels that way on this end, as we approach Saturday. Saturday will be a 4:30am kick off for this writer and regardless of the time, every thought about that first match gives me a tightening feeling around my heart. I’m not ready to be hurt again, not ready to give so much and be disappointed again.

Did I feel this way in 2014? Or 2019? I can’t remember, and maybe that makes it better. Knowing that sure, the exhaustion and burnout will go away eventually. We have to keep going, get back on the pitch again, back into the bar, back in front of the television for the match. The only way to get over heartbreak is to get yourself back out there, right? Some other fans have been watching pre-season to ease themselves back into it with matches without any stakes. I’ve only been able to watch that silly pass the phone video more than ten times. The idea of turning on a football match nurtures those seeds of anxiety in me.

I just don’t know if I can get there just yet, if I can get there on Saturday. This fan might still have to heal in her own time, and that’s okay too. Watching from home under a weighted blanket, imagining it is the weight of a hug from Jordan Henderson, telling me everything will be okay - even if maybe the team isn’t playing well.

It’ll be okay because sure, I may be sad and anxious for a myriad of reasons including the emotional toll of supporting Liverpool Football Club, but I am alive and have been through moments such as these.

I will get through it and come back to the fandom, eventually.

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