Previous Research

  • Megan O’Neill


The study of football supporters, or more specifically, football hooligans, has interested academics and government ministers for many years. Police officers have also added their thoughts to this phenomenon and the result is a very large body of work on the issue. This chapter will discuss some of this research, but only that which shows how academics have constructed football supporters over the years, primarily through varying conceptions of masculinity, class, violence and identity, and thus will give an idea of whom it is the police are policing in football. It will also analyse the few academic works that have been done on football policing specifically, demonstrating the need for a book such as this. The final section will describe some publications and research by police officers themselves that reveal how football supporters and hooligans tend to be viewed by those policing them. Thus this chapter presents an insight into the various manifestations and interpretations of the football supporter identity. As the later chapters of this book will explore in detail police identities as expressed in football policing, it is important to develop an understanding of people with whom they are interacting and developing these identities. Government research and legislation will be discussed in the following chapter.


Police Officer Ethnographic Study Football Game Stylise Identity Football Match 
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  1. 8.
    An exception is Ian Taylor (1971) who initially uses a Marxist perspective to prevent negative stereotyping of hooligans.Google Scholar

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© Megan O’Neill 2005

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  • Megan O’Neill

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