'We Don't Need No Education': The Views and Experiences of Young People in Professional Football Academies and Centres of Excellence

C Platts, Andy Smith

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

This paper draws on data from a broader study that examines the lives of young people working in 25 professional football Academies and Centres of Excellence in England and Wales. In particular, drawing on data from focus groups, the paper explores: (i) the views and experiences players have of the education provisions they receive in clubs; (ii) the value players place on education; (iii) how education fits into their lives; and (iv) players’ perceptions of the content of their educational programmes. The data reveal that, for a majority of players, education was something that ‘had to be done’ rather than something they wished to undertake voluntarily. It was generally accepted by players that education was useful in terms of ‘a back-up plan’ if they did not become a professional footballer, but, in reality, if players wished to do well academically that was to accept they may have no future in football. Indeed, in the culture of professional football, it was the achievement of a career in the game that dominated all other concerns. Such was the desire among players to ‘make it’ in the game and their preparedness to make considerable sacrifices, despite the limited likelihood of success, many players were more inclined to prioritize their football education over their academic education. In this regard, it is argued that despite the growth of educational provisions in professional football, these appear to have had a marginal impact on the perceptions and priorities of the players for whom they are intended.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventBritish Sociological Association Conference - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Apr 20109 Apr 2010

Conference

ConferenceBritish Sociological Association Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityGlasgow
Period7/04/109/04/10

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