In this chapter we have covered various aspects of football fandom, including representational and motivational aspects, and how English football after the Taylor report (1990) has developed into a major global business.
Fig. 7.2 Anticipation ahead of West Ham-Arsenal, 2016 (Photo: Henrik Linden)
The demographics of the football going public has changed over time, and in the Premier League era ticket prices have increased to the point that fans of some clubs, most notably Liverpool in February 2016, have staged public protests to communicate their disagreement with how English football is run. The idea of football as big business has been normalised in much contemporary discourse, and the corporate culture of some clubs has caused friction between fans and owners—in that fans are now to a lesser degree allowed to feel a sense of ownership towards their club.
Technology continues to have a significant impact on how football is consumed, and live audiences have come to at the very least expect Wi-Fi in stadiums—reports suggest that fans of American college sports would rather leave the stadium than watch a game without access to the outside world through their mobile devices.
A small survey conducted in 2015 with English and Swedish fans of West Ham United—a club that in 2016 left their old stadium, the Boleyn
Ground at Upton Park, for the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Stadium (renamed London Stadium) in Stratford—indicated that particularly the local English fans, but also the Swedish fans, felt a strong emotional and symbolic connection with the old stadium, thus confirming Hognestad’s (2012) and Bale’s (2000) views of football as a representational sport.