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‘Why do I want to go and watch that?’ English non-league football fans in the Premier League era

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-04-16, 11:35 authored by John Williams, Paul Caulfield
There has been plenty of recent academic work on sports fandom, especially football fandom, but very little empirical work on the experiences and motivations of supporters of non-league, non-professional clubs. This article addresses that omission in an interview-based study of a sample of male supporters drawn from the English club, Bradford Park Avenue. It asks how and why, in the late-modern era of spectacularized and globalized sport, such minor football clubs continue to exercise such a hold over the imagination and loyalty of local male fans. We analyze the distinctive attractions for fans of traditionality, sociality and belonging, horizontal relationships with club players and officials, the relative lack of regulation at non-league level of the fan experience, and the economic incoherence of elite football. The paper ends by considering the dilemma faced by many non-league fans: chasing the possibility of promotion and success, or settling for a satisfying and familiar existence in the lower reaches of the sport.

History

Citation

Sport and Society, in press

Author affiliation

School of Media, Communication and Sociology

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Sport in Society

Pagination

1 - 31

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles

issn

1743-0437

eissn

1743-0445

Acceptance date

2019-03-23

Copyright date

2019

Publisher version

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17430437.2019.1591374

Language

en

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