It’s only a game?
Centralising emotions in football fandom
in Ultras
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Football is an emotional game. Emotions are not restricted to the agony and ecstasy of victory or defeat, but the warmth of friendships and relationships built through engaging with other fans and clubs. Emotions are a primary constituent of social life and how we build relationships, yet they have been absent from the analysis of football fandom. The ultras’ performance helps generate the emotional atmosphere at matches and this sustains the emotional engagement with their club. It builds solidarity, motivates conflict and links individuals to the collective behaviour of the stadium. This emotional engagement also acts as the driver for political mobilisation around issues that affect their club, the sport or the groups.


The passion and performance of contemporary football fandom


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