Football, Community and Cooperation: A Critical Analysis of Supporter Trusts in England

P. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In what could almost be a metaphor for the declining significance of production and the rising importance of consumption to constructions and conceptions of individual, social and collective identity, Blair’s ‘New Labour’ has revived a variant of Labour’s 1970s policy of promoting worker cooperatives. Desperate to present itself as both cosmopolitan and modern, yet still in touch with its roots, Blair’s government is providing public money to support groups of football fans, which wish to set up mutually‐based Supporters Trusts (Supporter Cooperatives). This initiative is meant to allay fears that such changes in the organization and control of elite football in England as the formation of the FA Premier League, the massive, media generated shifts in football club finances and the transformation of football clubs into public limited companies have caused football to move away from its core constituency of fans. In general, the literature associated with such developments, in a perhaps to be expected echo of the Left’s response to the creation of worker cooperatives in the 1970s, has been somewhat slavishly uncritical. The purpose of this paper will be to explore and to critically analyse the origins, philosophy and practice of this government‐funded attempt to recognize ‘the positive role that supporters play in football’ and to develop ‘formal mechanisms that allow supporters a greater say in how their clubs are run’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-653
JournalSoccer & Society
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

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