This special issue addresses the complex reality of English community football organisations, including Football in the Community (FitC) schemes, which have been attending to social agendas, such as social inclusion and health promotion. The positioning of football as a key agent of change for this diverse range of social issues has resulted in an increase in funding support. Despite the increased availability of funding and the (apparent) willingness of football clubs to adopt such an altruistic position within society, there remains limited empirical evidence to substantiate football’s ability to deliver results.
This book explores the current role of a football and football clubs in supporting and delivering social inclusion and health promotion to its community and seeks to examine the philosophical, political, environmental and practical challenges of this work. The power and subsequent lure of a football club and its brand is an ideal vehicle to entice and capture populations that (normally) ignore or turn away from positive social and/or health behaviours. The foundations of such a belief are examined, outlining key recommendations and considerations for both researchers and practitioners attending to these social and health issues through the vehicle of football. This book was originally published as a special issue of Soccer & Society.
1. Introduction Daniel Parnell and David Richardson
2. Corporate social responsibility and social partnerships in professional football Geoff Walters and Mark Panton
3. Little United and the Big Society: negotiating the gaps between football, community and the politics of inclusion Annabel Kiernan and Chris Porter
4. Growing the football game: the increasing economic and social relevance of older fans and those with disabilities in the European football industry Juan Luis Paramio Salcines, John Grady and Phil Downs
5. Fit Fans: perspectives of a practitioner and understanding participant health needs within a health promotion programme for older men delivered within an English Premier League Football Club Daniel David Bingham, Daniel Parnell, Kathryn Curran, Roger Jones and Dave Richardson
6. Effect of a health-improvement pilot programme for older adults delivered by a professional football club: the Burton Albion case study Andy Pringle, Daniel Parnell, Stephen Zwolinsky, Jackie Hargreaves and Jim McKenna
7. ‘I just want to watch the match’ - a practitioner’s reflective account of men’s health themed match day events at an English Premier League football club Kathryn Curran, Barry Drust and Dave Richardson
8. Ethnographic engagement from within a Football in the Community programme at an English Premier League football club Kathryn Curran, Daniel David Bingham, David Richardson and Daniel Parnell
9. ‘Motivate’: the effect of a Football in the Community delivered weight loss programme on over 35-year old men and women’s cardiovascular risk factors Zoe Rutherford, Brendan Gough, Sarah Seymour-Smith, Christopher R. Matthews, John Wilcox, Dan Parnell and Andy Pringle
10. Assessing the impact of football-based health improvement programmes: stay onside, avoid own goals and score with the evaluation! Andy Pringle, Jackie Hargreaves, Lorena Lozano, Jim McKenna and Stephen Zwolinsky