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Children as football fans: an exploratory study of team and player connections

Children as football fans: an exploratory study of team and player connections Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore children’s relationships with football teams and players and the influences on these. Design/methodology/approach – A child-centric (Banister and Booth, 2005) inductive qualitative approach was utilised to capture children’s voices. The children were asked to take photographs around the theme of “football in my life” and these served as interview prompts when talking to friendship pairs. Findings – Football played a central role in children’s lives in terms of interest, activity and consumption. The children articulated a portfolio of team (club) and player connections of varying strength. This contrasts with the existing adult fandom literature which focuses on individuals supporting a single team. Another strong theme emerging from the data was the children’s market-centred relationships with football clubs. Children’s connections were shaped by a complex web of influences including family and family history, friends, media and geography. Research limitations/implications – Existing fan literature has an adult focus which does not appear to fully explain the child fan. This research provides impetus for developing new theory that better captures child fandom. The findings reinforce the idea that football plays an important part in children’s lives and in doing so they establish their own meanings. The findings presented in this paper provide important insights into the lives of children that could be reflected on in the design of policy across a number of areas including education. Originality/value – This paper presents the first child-centred football fan study. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Young Consumers Emerald Publishing

Children as football fans: an exploratory study of team and player connections

Young Consumers , Volume 15 (4): 19 – Nov 11, 2014

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1747-3616
DOI
10.1108/YC-09-2013-00394
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore children’s relationships with football teams and players and the influences on these. Design/methodology/approach – A child-centric (Banister and Booth, 2005) inductive qualitative approach was utilised to capture children’s voices. The children were asked to take photographs around the theme of “football in my life” and these served as interview prompts when talking to friendship pairs. Findings – Football played a central role in children’s lives in terms of interest, activity and consumption. The children articulated a portfolio of team (club) and player connections of varying strength. This contrasts with the existing adult fandom literature which focuses on individuals supporting a single team. Another strong theme emerging from the data was the children’s market-centred relationships with football clubs. Children’s connections were shaped by a complex web of influences including family and family history, friends, media and geography. Research limitations/implications – Existing fan literature has an adult focus which does not appear to fully explain the child fan. This research provides impetus for developing new theory that better captures child fandom. The findings reinforce the idea that football plays an important part in children’s lives and in doing so they establish their own meanings. The findings presented in this paper provide important insights into the lives of children that could be reflected on in the design of policy across a number of areas including education. Originality/value – This paper presents the first child-centred football fan study.

Journal

Young ConsumersEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 11, 2014

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