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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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Chapter 3: Immigration in Britain: Leicester and the first-generation of African-Caribbeans c.1900–1968


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Immigration in Britain: Leicester and the first-generation of African-Caribbeans c.1900–1968


This chapter provides an overview of immigration to Leicester in the twentieth century and the place of black immigration from the Carribean within this context. In addition to this it explores the identity politics of the post-war, first-generation Caribbean immigrants and the black experience in Britain c.1948–1960. Attention is given to the ways in which the first-generation of workers’ black experience in Leicester was both typical and atypical. Finally, it addresses what we might call the racial climate in Leicester during the 1960s, the decade when Leicester’s second-generation Caribbeans emerged in the city.

Immigrants in Britain c.1900–1948

Holmes asserts that it would be difficult to locate any period in British history ‘where some immigration did not take place’.1 By the turn of the twentieth century, according to Panayi, the largest immigrant community ← 51 | 52 → in Britain were the Irish, who numbered around 1,000,000.2 With regards to size and national identity the Irish were followed by the German community, which in 1911 consisted of around 53,500 people.3 Another 300,000 immigrants in Britain were made up of various smaller Italian, French, Spanish, Indian and African communities.4 The outbreak of war in 1914 brought an intense period of British immigration.5 Simply put, war brought more foreign communities into Britain. This included some 240,000 Belgians who took refuge in...

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