Research on the role of fanzines in football racism

THE role of football fanzines in combating racism in fan communities is the focus of a new collaborative doctoral fellowship led by Teesside University and the British Library.

The research project looks at perceptions and representations of racism and anti-racism in British football fan culture, from the days when Viv Anderson became the first black footballer to play for England in a full international, to the Black Lives Matter movement today.

The role of digital technologies in both reproducing and challenging racist and anti-racist content in British football is also explored, along with an analysis of when and why print fanzines first embraced racist and anti-racist portrayal.

dr Tom Gibbons, Associate Professor of Sport and Exercise (Sports Studies) at the university’s School of Health & Life Sciences, will lead the research project.

He said: “There are key moments in football history that will be important for research; from Viv Anderson becoming the first black player in the England men’s team in 1978, to the rise of non-British players in the professional leagues, the emergence of anti-racist groups and campaigns and far-right football-related social networking movements, to the more recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations Campaign where players get on their knees before each game.

“The research will examine independent and club-based fanzines and websites from the British Library’s collections over the past five decades to capture how print and online fanzines and websites reproduce dominant racial discourses within British football from the 1970s to the present day and have questioned.

“It will help increase our knowledge and understanding of expressions of racism and anti-racism within football fan communities.

“It will also provide insight into how print and digital cultures have evolved over time and assess their impact on the present.”

The cooperative PhD course is funded with £93,000 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and is scheduled to start in October.

“This will provide an exciting opportunity for a researcher interested in the study of history, ethnicity and football fandom cultures,” added Dr. Add gibbons.

dr Gibbons will accompany the successful doctoral students with Professor Nigel Copsey and Dr. Kevin Dixon in collaboration with Dr. Debbie Cox and Jason Webber from the British Library.

Application deadline is May 27th.

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