• ‘Pressure to play?’ A sociological analysis of professional football managers’ behaviour towards injured players

      Law, Graeme; Bloyce, Daniel; York St John University; UIniversity of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2017-05-05)
      Drawing upon figurational sociology, this paper examines professional football managers’ attitudes towards injured players. Following interviews with 10 managers, as with previous research, we found that managers have an expectancy that players are rarely fully fit. Players were stigmatised when they were seemingly unwilling to play when a manager encouraged them to. However, we also found that many managers shaped, in part, by their habitus formed from their own experiences as a player, showed greater empathy towards injured players. Many claimed they would not risk the long-term health of players, although at times, managers at the lower levels felt more constrained to take certain risks. We argue this is an unintended outcome of the increasing pressures on managers to succeed with smaller squads. The increasing emphasis and reliance on ‘sport science’ enabled managers at the higher levels to have a more supportive approach to managing injuries not previously identified in existing literature.
    • Sporting celebrity and conspicuous consumption: A case study of professional footballers in England

      Law, Graeme; Bloyce, Daniel; Waddington, Ivan; York St John University; University of Chester
      Association football is a lucrative sport with high financial rewards for top players. However, there has been little empirical work on the lifestyles of professional footballers. Based on interviews with 29 current and former male professional footballers, this paper examines the relationship between money, status and image management within and outside the changing room. The concept of conspicuous consumption is used to help explain players’ attitudes to money, their relationships with others within the football environment and how they advertise their earnings in an environment where open discussion of wages is seen as taboo. Our findings suggest that professional footballers are expected to display a particular image of the professional footballer and this constrains players, even those on lower incomes, to buy expensive clothes and accessories in order to be accepted by others. Players who do not conform to the expected image may be subject to sanctions by their teammates.