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Football, Ethnicity and Community

The Life of an African-Caribbean Football Club


Paul Ian Campbell

Winner of the British Sociological Association Philip Abrams Memorial Prize 2017

This book is a case study of an African-Caribbean-founded football club, Meadebrook Cavaliers, from the English East Midlands. Covering the years 1970 to 2010, it seeks to address the paucity of research on the British African-Caribbean male experience in leisure and sport as well as on the relationship between «race» and local-level football. The development of the club was intimately connected to wider changes in the social and sporting terrain. Based on a mix of archival and ethnographic research, the book examines the club’s growth over four decades, exploring the attitudes, social realities and identity politics of its African-Caribbean membership and the varying demands and expectations of the wider black community. In doing so, it shows how studies of minority ethnic and local football clubs can shed light on the changing social identities and cultural dynamics of the communities that constitute them.

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I would like to acknowledge and thank the following organisations and people.

I would like to thank the East Midland’s Universities Association for funding my doctoral thesis from which this book is taken.

I also thank Richard Holt, John Williams, Neil Carter and Matt Taylor for their enthusiasm, support and invaluable guidance. Additionally, I would like to thank the entire department at the International Centre for Sport History and Culture for their support. I would also like to thank Dr Michelle Wolfe, Dr Gordon Richies, Dr Frank Faulkner and Professor Cecile Wright, who originally convinced me to embark on doctoral study.

I am extremely grateful to all of my participants and especially to the Meadebrook Cavaliers club for their participation and help, and for letting me join and experience what is a very special organisation.

I also wish to thank my family (including Mr Bryan, Claudie, Natalie, Shane and Gordon) for all their love and support, and especially to Stephen, who has been a pillar of strength, invaluable soundboard and always at the end of the phone.

A special thank you is reserved for my wife, Bernadine, whose patience, understanding and love have been an inexhaustible source of inspiration and strength.

And finally to my mother, Addassa. The unfathomable strength you found as a teenager to leave your home and family in the Caribbean, brave the transatlantic journey to Britain and build a new life in...

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