Researching football in the lives of young people

This is the website for a research project that will explore how the next generation of football fans follow, participate in and evaluate the sport.

Focusing on young people aged between 14-18, the project has been designed to engage with three current debates around football in the UK. First, the rising cost of watching live football and the extent to which many groups primary engagement is now through media. Second, the place of football clubs within local communities as the growing dominance of the Premier League means less attention is given to local and grassroots football. Here, there will be a particular interest in evaluating the importance of community programmes run by professional football clubs and often involving some of their ‘star’ players. For smaller clubs, such schemes are often seen as a way of raising their profile and countering the blanket coverage of the top European teams and players. Third, the relationship between young people and professional footballers, with recent media reports arguing that the latter are key role models in the contemporary era.

The multi-disciplinary project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council as part of their Connected Communities programme. Initially focusing on the city of Sheffield, the study will use a series of interactive workshops with young people alongside interviews with coaches, community organisations and representatives from the wider world of professional football.


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