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Football, Ethnicity and Community

The Life of an African-Caribbean Football Club

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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 6: Re-inventing Cavaliers: Recession, modernisation and processes of ‘respectability’

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CHAPTER 6

Re-inventing Cavaliers: Recession, modernisation and processes of ‘respectability’

Introduction

In 2008 economies across the globe were destabilised by what has since been termed the ‘credit crunch’. Hamil and Walters argue that this development brought about a global economic slowdown on a scale not witnessed since the great depression of the 1930s.1 Perhaps it is still too early, but there exists relatively little research on the impact of this recession on local level sport. Similarly lacking – unsurprisingly – are academic investigations into the ways in which the harsh economic conditions which characterise post-2008 Britain have impacted upon those football and sporting spaces of specific BAME communities.

Economists, historians and some sociologists have engaged more broadly with the impact of the economic downturn on professional football and professional sport.2 King explores the potential and practical issues surrounding the attempts by football’s governing bodies to regulate Europe’s larger clubs in the wake of the credit crunch (he also details how fan-collectives and the terraces of some of Europe’s larger clubs have become spaces and forums for the expression of wider economic-based ← 147 | 148 → discontents).3 Horne discusses the impact of the credit crunch in relation to the sponsorship of professional sport.4 Hamil and Walters explore the resistance of certain Premier League clubs to accept the potential threat which the post-2008 financial climate poses England’s premier football competition.5 By contrast, Olsen provides an account which argues that professional football is possibly...

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