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A ‘healthy’ future? Supporters’ perceptions of the current state of English football

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journal contribution
posted on 2014-09-18, 12:53 authored by Joanna Welford, Borja Garcia-GarciaBorja Garcia-Garcia, Brett M. Smith
Over the last few years clear public policy support in favour of fan engagement in the governance of football has developed. This is based on the assumption that supporters are dissatisfied with the current governance structures within the sport. There is, however, no robust academic evidence of whether this is indeed the case. This article aims to contribute to the debate by presenting data from qualitative fieldwork with 21 football supporters during March-May 2013. Each participant created a photograph album over an eight-week period, and was then interviewed individually to elicit the meaning of their photographs and diaries. This group of fans used their photographs to express dissatisfaction with several aspects of current football governance, highlighting issues with the financial, physical and social health of the sport. We suggest a number of implications of this, both for the fans and for the future state of the game.


This article presents research undertaken as part of the FREE Project (Football Research in an Enlarged Europe). This research is funded under Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities by the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) of the European Commission (Grant number: 290805).



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Soccer & Society




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WELFORD, J., GARCIA, B. and SMITH, B., 2015. A ‘healthy’ future? Supporters’ perceptions of the current state of English football. Soccer and Society, 16 (2-3), pp.322-343.


© Taylor and Francis


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Soccer and Society on 26 Sept 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14660970.2014.961380




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