The price to pay for following the Bloods

We all know the pain and emotion in following the Bloods but new research out this week suggests that Fans who are ‘fused’ with their team are more likely to experience intense – potentially dangerous – levels of stress while watching live football.

Football fans around the world know the strong emotions brought on by watching their teams on match day, but particularly zealous fans are more at risk of experiencing dangerous levels of the ‘fight or flight’ hormone cortisol, commonly associated with stress. Researchers at the University of Oxford have now verified a scientific link between fans’ intense group bonding with their team and levels of cortisol (stress hormone) while they watch football.

‘Fans who are strongly fused with their team – that is, have a strong sense of being ‘one’ with their team – experience the greatest physiological stress response when watching a match,’ says Dr Martha Newson, researcher at the Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion, University of Oxford. ‘Fans who are more casual supporters also experience stress, but not so extremely.’ This study was published in the journal Stress and Health.

The study was conducted with Brazilian spectators during the 2014 World Cup, hosted in Brazil. The fans’ saliva was collected before, during and after matches, including Brazil’s historic semi-final loss (1 – 7) to Germany. ‘Cortisol rocketed during live games for the fans who were highly fused to the team,’ says Newson. ‘It was particularly high during games where their team lost.

‘Interestingly, there were no differences in cortisol concentrations between men and women. Despite preconceptions that men tend to be more bonded to their football teams, women were in fact found to be slightly more bonded to their national team than the men.’

‘This study has shown how people who are highly bonded to their football teams (and likely any other group identity) have a unique psycho-physiological profiles,’ says Newson. This can be seen in the well-known antics of football fans, from ritualised chanting and singing through to violence. ‘We can clearly see where these reactions are coming from, due to their surge in cortisol during a match compared to fans who merely support their team, but are not fused with them.’

There are many health conditions tied to extreme stress that hardcore football fans should be aware of. While cortisol is essential to responding to life’s daily stresses, too much cortisol over time can result in a suppressed immune system (more coughs and colds and even allergies), weight gain, and heightened blood pressure with a significant risk of heart disease. Indeed, previous research has established an increase in heart attacks among fans on important match days, at both the regional and national level. ‘From our research, we may be better equipped to identify which fans are most at risk of heart attacks,’ says Newson. ‘Clubs may be able to offer heart screenings or other health measures to highly committed fans who are at the greatest risk of experiencing increased stress during the game.’

The findings could also be relevant to improving crowd management strategies. ‘Strategies that aim to reduce stress hormones following particularly intense matches could help reduce incidents of hooliganism and violence,’ says Newson.


Four new players for the Bloods

A flurry of activity on Friday saw four players brought into the club as injuries put pressure on the size of the squad.

Midfielder Keano Deacon joins us from Burgess Hill and right back and right sided midfielder Matthew Williams joins us from Mossley.

The Bloods have also taken midfielder Kyle Wych from Oldham’s academy while striker Demell Cumberbatch was also drafted into the squad for Saturday’s game at City of Liverpool


City of Liverpool 0-1 Droylsden I

A free kick from Faustin Makela saw the Bloods secure three most needed points in a game of few chances.

Substitute Makela’s second half strike found the top corner of Owen Wheeler’s goal after City of Liverpool had conceded a free kick on the edge of the area.

The injury stricken Bloods saw two more players Kane Hickman and Jamie Frost carries off with injuries, the former with only after just twenty five minutes.

Droylsden had the best of the chances in the first half, Dom Smith’s effort saved by the legs of Wheeler after had found the striker in space in the area while earlier the same player after beating two defenders on the edge of the area had fired straight at the keeper.

The home team had the better of the play early in the second half but Droylsden showing resilience, battled hard and well deserved the lead with around fifteen minutes left.

Skipper Domaine Rouse nearly made it two shortly after, his shot just wide of the far post.

With ten minutes of stoppage time, the home team applied the pressure but the Bloods defence stood firm to win the points


Prescot Cables 4-0 Droylsden

One shot on goal in ninety minutes summed up this lack lustre performance from Droylsden who capitulated in the second half to Prescot Cables for whom Matt Hamilton scores a hat trick

The Bloods fell behind after just nine minutes when debut keeper Nathan Wolland rolled the ball out to Tom Moore who clearance hit Matt Hamilton who easily converted, the player earlier having the first chance of the game which saw Wolland block at the near post.

The Bloods had a great chance to equalise soon after, Danny Wilkins corner finding Andy Langford at the back post whose shot was bundled away by the Cables defence.

The strong wind in the first half limited the play of both teams, Hamilton coming the closest seeing his free kick from the edge of the area just clearing the bar.

Kicking with the wind Cables took control of the second half, Wolland saving at close range from Myler, Hamilton’s follow up blazing over.

Minutes later Prescot doubled their lead from the penalty spot, Hamilton converting after Wolland brought down the striker on the edge of the area and seeing yellow

Hamilton got his third on seventy minutes with a superb free kick from twenty five yards finding the top corner of the net and Sean Myler made it four with a deflected shot from the edge of the area after the Droylsden defence failed to clear a free kick and finish a miserable afternoon for the Bloods with fifteen minutes remaining


Droylsden 0-1 Widnes

A goal twelve minutes from time by James Steele was the difference between these two teams in what was a game of two halves

Droylsden had their chances in the first half. Jack Kay put through and forcing Scott into a save with his legs Harry Noren looked dangerous on the right turning inside the defence only to see his goal bound shot blocked.

At the other end Rhian Heelawell forced a save from Chris Thompson who also saved from Anointeo Chukwu after a mistake at the back.

The visitors took control in the second half Chukwu going close after another mistake at the back by Droylsden and the striker on loan from Salford City had a second chance slicing wide.

Chances were few and far between for the Bloods, Dom Smith doing all the hard work on the edge of the area before pulling his effort wide while Kay was put through on goal and seemed to found the keeper before going over for which the referee showed him a yellow card for diving.

But it was ex Blood Shaun Holden’s cross which set up the goal for Steele in sevenrt eight minutes which sealed the three points for the visitors and the striker went close to a second deep into injury time, his shot narrowly past the post.


Mossley 2-1 Droylsden

A controversial goal by substitute Jamie Rainford saw Mossley take the points in the New Year Tameside Derby after a below par Bloods had got back into the game with a Jack Kay equaliser minutes earlier.

With Droylsden defenders appeal for offside, Rainford struck the ball past Thompson with twelve minutes remaining.

Jes Uchegbulam had put the home side in front on seventeen minutes after Tom Moore failed to deal with Fitzgerald’s through ball.

Earlier Moore had an early chance for the visitors, his header at the far post coming back off the woodwork.

Mossley though had the better of the first forty five minutes, Thompson called into action to save well from Brooke while the same player saw his header come back off the woodwork on the stroke of half time.

With half an hour left and having created little, Droylsden shuffled the pack bringing on Dom Smith, Harry Conon Noren and Shaquille Clarke and two of the three combined to set up Jack Kay to equalise on seventy two minutes.

The Bloods could have gone ahead shortly after,Clarke breaking down the right only to badly slice his attempt before Rainford’s strike put the home side back in front.