Foreign players and football supporters

The Old Firm, Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain

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David Ranc
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‘Mercenaries’, ‘cheats’, ‘destroying the soul of (English) football’, ‘destroying the link between football clubs and their supporters’: foreign football players have been accused of being at the origin of all the ills of contemporary football. How true is this? Foreign players and football supporters: The Old Firm, Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain is the first academic book to look at supporters' reactions to the increase in the number of foreign players in the very clubs they support week in week out. It shows that football supporters identify with their club through a variety of means, which may change or be replaced with others, and provides the most comprehensive view on football supporters' attachment to their club in the European Union, following the increase in European legislation. Divided into three case studies on Glasgow (Celtic and Rangers), Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal in London, the book adopts a multidisciplinary approach to chart the evolution of the link between supporters and club between 1995 and today. It is based on extensive research through the press of three nations, as well as interviews with officials and supporters. It provides an excellent read for students and researchers in Sports Studies, Politics, European Studies, French Studies and other Social Sciences, or to anyone interested in one of the most original institutions of contemporary western societies: mass spectator sports.

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‘Ranc's book provides a compelling analysis on how the printed media in three different countries portray the relationship of commercialization and globalization to football. 'Foreign' footballers seem to be just one of the many cases discussed by the media in respect of the globalization of the game, and not particularly the central aspect as the title might lead you to think. Ranc taps in some really interesting topics in regard to what it means to be a foreigner.'
Renan Petersen-Wagner, Durham University
Soccer and Society

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