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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 9: Some conclusions


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Some conclusions

This concluding chapter discusses the key findings and themes of the book. Firstly, it does this with regards to what this case study adds to our knowledge on the history of local BAME football clubs in Britain. Secondly, it outlines what this analysis of a local BAME football club can tell us about the wider and changing condition of blackness in the region and in the UK. But first it is worth drawing attention to some of the other ways in which this book has contributed to the literature on BAME communities in twentieth-century Britain.

In a general sense, this book has highlighted how the settlement patterns of Leicester’s African-Caribbean community mirrored the patterns of other immigrant communities across Britain and in the city, such as Leicester’s Jewish and Irish communities. The workers from the Caribbean originally settled centrally in the city and have over time gradually diffused across the county. It has also added to what we know about the connections between the black experience in leisure and to the contribution of immigrant communities to the present sporting landscape in the region. Not only did immigrants play in local leagues for established white teams but they also added their own teams and clubs to Leicester’s cohort of Saturday and Sunday football clubs. Ethnographic data illustrated that leisure and sport were important pastimes for second and subsequent generations of black people in Leicester after the Second...

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