Football and the Decline of Britain

  • James Walvin

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Prologue: Whatever Happened to the People’s Game?

  3. People on the Inside

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 15-15
    2. James Walvin
      Pages 17-30
    3. James Walvin
      Pages 31-43
    4. James Walvin
      Pages 44-56
  4. Outside Forces

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 57-57
    2. James Walvin
      Pages 59-69
    3. James Walvin
      Pages 70-80
    4. James Walvin
      Pages 91-102
    5. James Walvin
      Pages 103-115
    6. James Walvin
      Pages 117-128
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 129-139

About this book


In the wake of the Bradford and Brussels football disasters in 1985, football in England was subjected to detailed scrutiny and criticism. Critics - of all sorts and persuasions - saw in those terrible events, especially the Brussels riot, evidence of the broader problems afflicting British (not merely English) life. Football, which had once represented so much of what was once considered good - fair- play, team play and sportsmanship - was now discussed as a major national problem. To most critics, at home and abroad, football came to represent a nation in decline, characterised by organised violence, drunkenness, political extremism and a host of related social problems. It was widely assumed that football - but especially those English fans who travelled abroad - was the epitome of what had gone wrong with life in urban Britain. It is understandable that those disasters would lead to heated and emotional argument. But many of the explanations of the events culminating in the disasters appear less convincing when scrutinised more closely. This book tries to examine not only the alleged roots of those violent incidents, but also to locate the problems afflicting the national game within the context of the broad social and economic changes which have transformed British life in the past generation. The book is as much an analysis of recent British social history as it is about the game of football.


emotion fascism Generation media Nation politics social history social problems Sport sports violence

Authors and affiliations

  • James Walvin
    • 1
  1. 1.University of YorkUK

Bibliographic information