Introduction: Fenerbahge and Galatasaray Fans in Vienna

Football is one of the most popular sports in Europe and beyond. It is a crucial part of our everyday lives - even if people do not like football they cannot escape from it. It is talked about in the media, at the workplace, among family and friends. Football can thus be considered as an ‘ideal’ field for anthropological research because in one way or the other it touches all our lives. Football does not only happen on a local level but is increasingly intertwined with transnational and translocal discourses. Europeanisation, transnationalisation and migration processes are deeply entangled in football fan practices. At the same time, football engenders these processes by increasing mobility and international attention to football events. The enlargement of the Champions League, the Europa League or the European Championship and the World Cup has a great influence on how we perceive Europe and the world.

My research within the European research project FREE - Football Research in an Enlarged Europe focused on football fans that have a ‘longdistance relationship’ to their team. The book analyses the transnational

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N. Szogs, Football Fandom and Migration, Football Research in an Enlarged Europe, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-50944-0_1

and translocal practices of football supporters to understand how transnationalisation, Europeanisation and migration processes intersect with football fandom. Therefore, I refer less to the influence of institutions such as the European Union or the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Instead I refer to the everyday practices of football fans in a world where fan loyalties are not necessarily bound to national affiliations anymore and where the internet enables supporters to follow football leagues around the world. As a consequence, being a fan of a club that is located in another city, another country or even on another continent has become a regular phenomenon in football fan culture (cf. King 2003). This phenomenon becomes even more compelling when fan loyalties are negotiated in a framework of migration.

Particularly within the field of migration research, discussions often form part of larger political debates. This also applies to the interplay of football fandom and migration. Consequently, the study on the intermingling of migration and football fandom provides detailed insights into recent discourses in society. It enables the researcher to look into migration processes and discussions about related topics from a different angle: the love of a football club. At the same time, this perspective allows the researcher to approach football from the perspective of migrant football fandom - a perspective that is informed by concepts and practices of (self-)culturalisation.

The research focuses on fans that are a regular part of football fan culture in the city of Vienna. The largest fan groups in Vienna that support a club abroad are to be found in diasporic contexts. Particularly the Turkish, German, Croatian and Serbian diaspora in Vienna established fan clubs and many fans regularly frequent fan bars to follow the respective football league.[1] I very soon excluded fans of the German Bundesliga from my research because I was born and raised in Germany and did not want to dig around in my own backyard. I first gained access to supporters of the Turkish Super Lig and eventually focused my research on the supporters of the two Istanbul clubs Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe. In Vienna the fan base of these two clubs is big and is therefore particularly visible in the city on match days: on the streets and in front of bars.

Fenerbahqe and Galatasaray are among the most popular Turkish clubs in Turkey, in Austria, and in other European countries. They are two of the Istanbul ‘Big Three’ (ug buyukler, together with the club Be§ikta§), and their relationship is characterised as a traditionalised rivalry (Chap. 4). The fans of Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe in my research field in Vienna are eager to actively support their teams, whether they have grown up in Austria or moved there later. It is important to look at the fan scene in Vienna as an equivalent experience and performance of love and loyalty to a football club, an experience similar to being a football fan in Istanbul or anywhere else in Turkey. But it is crucial to note that the meaning people attribute to football fandom and its everyday performances can sometimes differ. The analysis of the contexts and situatedness of the fan performances of Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe fans in Vienna is not only necessary but crucial to understand the narratives and practices that I observed and listened to in my research.

Migrant fans are, like female fans or queer fans, still a neglected field in football fan research and are often considered as a non-regular and exceptional part of football fan cultures. In my research, football discourses and fan discourses intersect with migration discourses to a large extent. Consequently, narratives about football fandom are often linked to migration experiences. This particularly includes practices of (self-) ethnicisation in the diasporic context in Austria. This is what makes the research particularly compelling and relevant. Here, prejudices, stereotypes and other hegemonic discourses about different people in an Austrian society intersect in a nexus of attributions and self-attributions. Constructed ethnicities and also masculinities and femininities meet in football fan performances and in the construction of what makes a (proper) football fan.

  • [1] In 2013, 94.282 Serbian and Montenegrin, 74.970 Turkish, 49.706 German and 22.993 Croatianmigrants and their descendants were living in Vienna. Source: Official homepage of the City ofVienna. 29 October 2014).
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