The Collective

What is The Football Collective?

The Football Collective is dedicated network of people who wish to bring critical debate to football – for those interested and involved in building football for the future. Through sharp analysis and research informed original reporting, we aim to provide a platform for thought provoking critical debate in football.

Our manifesto is simple: We are a network bringing critical debate to our game

To achieve this The Football Collective has two main aims:

Aim 1: Deliver high quality events that provide a platform for critical and collegiate support, the dissemination and discussion of research findings, the development of research ideas and the enhancement of collaboration across the collective. See our conference tab for details of past and future events. Our YouTube channel can be found here.

Aim 2: To show case best practice and help share academic peer reviewed research in an accessible and understandable format for all. This includes:

  • Share evidenced based commentary on football issues
  • Disseminate peer reviewed research on football
  • Open debate around key issues in related to football

The Football Collective is consists of three groups: the Management Board, Editorial Board and Members. All research published on The Football Collectives is curated by the Editorial Board. The Editorial Board ensures that research contributions are current, relevant, appropriate and ethical, whilst also providing an informal peer review support for contributors.

The Management Committee plays an influencing role in supporting events for all members based on highlighted interests and needs. To become a member you need to be an active researcher interested in football. To join as a member please read more here and apply.

Why was The Football Collective created?

In February 2016 we sat around a table, under glorious Manchester sunshine, talking about the problems friends and colleagues were facing in academia. These included isolation, lack of resources, limited departmental support, increasing demands for teaching and learning, an incessant narrative of publish in high impact journals or perish if you can’t do this. For those of us present on this day, we knew that no-one was going to turn around and change this for us. No department head or manager was going to help – they had their own pressures, constraints, existence issues and ambitions. We had to start taking matters into our own hands.

This was where The Football Collective was born.

The industry was suffering from the marketization of higher education and many colleagues were on precarious contracts. Those in the group that day and in the conversations that followed, Hayton, Millward, Cleland, Rookwood, Doidge, Fitzpatrick, May, Hughson, Widdop and Parnell – knew something had to change and that ultimately that we could do more to help others. This was our why and remains our purpose: To help others.

Welcoming the first few members, who were gambling on our goodwill, was both daunting and exciting. We had no idea what those first members thought when entered our original wordpress blog. In the same respect, we suspect our most recent members were no-doubt intrigued by one of the first free football research conferences in lockdown, led by an undergraduate student from India studying (and firmly locked-down) in Sheffield (Sarthak Mondal) – exclusively for PhD and ECRs. This last event just shows the breadth of goodwill in the Football Collective and why we exist.

Key information:

  • 10 members in February 2016 – 480 members in July 2020 – join us
  • First annual conference: Future Football: a design for life. Manchester (2016) @ FC United (England)
  • Second annual conference: Football Politics and Popular Culture. Limerick (2017) @ the University of Limerick (Ireland)
  • Third annual conference: Challenging the narrative: Critical thinking in football. Glasgow (2018) @ Hampden Park (Scotland)
  • Fourth annual conference: From grassroots to hyper commodification. Sheffield (2019) @ Brammall Lane (England)
  • Football in Lockdown – Power in Unity: Online (2020)
  • Fifth annual conference: It’s (not) just a game: Football’s evolving culture. Portsmouth (2020 now 2021) @ Fratton Park (England)
  • Away from the numbers – our networking and social events programme
  • Our Mentorship Programme

Scroll through who make up the collective: