How are football fans coping without matches? Sunderland University expert explains the impact

Football fans will use the enforced lack of games during the coronavirus lockdown to review their relationship with the game and their favourite team, says a Sunderland University academic.

Monday, 27th April 2020, 2:27 pm
Updated Monday, 27th April 2020, 4:09 pm

But Dr Paul Davis predicts it will be back to normal within months for many supporters.

The university’s Senior Lecturer in the Sociology of Sport and an expert in football fandom said all fans were different and would react differently to the suspension of games.

“We should all realise by now that football fans are highly diverse in their outlooks, characters, intellects, wealth, and relationship with the game,” said Dr Davis.

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“Therefore, there are no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the impact of professional football cancellations due to the current pandemic.

“There is likely to be, at one extreme, those who are finding cessation horrific, at the other extreme is likely to be a socially aware, self-aware and self-actualising type.

“These people may be asking themselves ‘is it too important to me? Are my moods too affected by how my team does? Does it take up too much of my time and money?’

“Some in this category might try to redefine their relationship with the game and their team.”

Dr Paul Davis

It was likely things would soon return to normal when the lockdown was over, even for the most thoughtful of supporters, said Dr Davis

“The same fans are likely to be experienced in fandom’s seductive qualities, and will, therefore, be no more surprised than any of their family or friends if it is ‘as-you-were’ within a month or two of resumption.

“Most fans probably do not fit snugly into either of the preceding categories. There are probably few who will not reflect to any degree on the social, cultural, economic, political and personal issues arising from cessation.

“The conclusions and resolutions reached, again, will be as diverse as fans themselves.

“While all will realise their clubs and the game will long negotiate the coronavirus legacy, their own personal and social commerce with football will be largely unaffected.

“Most fans will look back on the current forced abstinence as older fans would once look back on a fierce winter that caused many postponements and a backlog headache.”

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