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Department of Sociology

Sociology Department Staff

Publication details for Dr Stacey Pope

Pope, S. (2016). Female fan experiences and interpretations of the 1958 Munich air disaster, the 1966 World Cup finals and the rise of footballers as sexualised national celebrities. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 51(7): 848-866.

Author(s) from Durham


The experiences of female sports fans have largely been neglected in academic research to date with socio-historical accounts focusing almost exclusively on male fans. Through an excavation of the sporting histories of female football fans this article aims to make one contribution towards changing this. Drawing on Glaser and Strauss’s ‘grounded theory’ approach, 21 semi-structured interviews were conducted with female football fans in England, aged between 50 and 80 years old. My findings begin by examining female fans’ memories of the 1958 Munich air disaster. I move on to examine female experiences and interpretations of the 1966 World Cup finals, before finally discussing the rise of football players in England as sexualised national celebrities. To conclude, I call for further socio-historical research to explore female experiences of football in earlier decades.