The game of football has undergone massive changes in the past few decades. The creation of the F.A. Premier League, the influx of television revenue, the commercialization of the game, and the growth in the numbers of foreign players have all left their mark. One area that has attracted increasing interest in the media and amongst the pages of football magazines is the issue of race and racism in football. But until now, the complexities of the situation have often been neglected in the midst of moral activism. Why has football become such an important arena for the expression of racist and xenophobic attitudes? How are racial and ethnic identities constructed and re-constructed in everyday social interactions and ritual gatherings?
This highly readable and accessible book provides the first systematic and empirically grounded account of the role of race, nation and identity within contemporary football cultures. Focused around the four clubs on which the authors did their research, the book shows how different clubs understand and experience race in different ways. Looking at football at a national level, the authors trace the history of racism and its impact on the contemporary game. The emphasis throughout is on the changing role of racial and ethnic identity in football over the years. This book draws on research conducted at the height of campaigning activity within the game, as well as on contemporary scholarship about racism and sport.