David Goldblatt: The Fan Action Network’s Manifesto
Football has grown disconnected from fans it was originally meant to represent. Corruption is rampant, World Cups do more harm than good, and ticket prices are becoming increasingly unaffordable. In an effort to curb this trend, football sociologist David Goldblatt has joined up with the Football Action Network to lobby against the negative trends of modern football, and return the game to its fans. We met up with doctor Goldblatt to talk more about the group’s new Manifesto:
Why do you think its important for a fan rights group to exist without receiving funding from Uefa or national football bodies?
“The last 4-5 years globally, new social movements have emerged that have new ways of organizing. The arab spring, Ukraine, Hong Kong, the Occupy Movement, all point to the nature of politics is changing. The organisations that currently extist, which I support 100%, are existing from another era. So supporters direct can only campaign and remit but can only work on a certain section of fans who are organized and wealthy enough to create a supporters trust… You can’t step out as kick it out, and get involved in the reformation of democratization of the FA. The FSF campaigns for safe standing, ticket prices, and fair wages, but they are limited. FSE is a membership based, lobbying and representative organization, and that is important, but it is different from being a kind of activist protest movement, and being able to think more widely… I wanted to make something that will compliment that.”
What is the function of the Fans Action Network?
“Its not a top down operation, but its about providing a catalyst by a small number of actions to be more than the sum of our parts. There is a real constituency of people who think it’s a good thing. So people have to pick up the baton and that’s the nature of this kind of politics… its and experiment.”
A lot has been done by various organisations to curb the corporatization of football but thus far it seems to have had little effect…
“I think we can be too pessimistic and under estimate our effect. We are maintaining the pressure and keeping these people on their metal and their toes and forcing them to have conversations that they would otherwise not have. The war of position is about establishing the conversation in the first place… Dulwitch Hamlet, Portsmouth, there is good stuff happening but we have only just begun. It has taken 25 years really to force the issue, and here we are at the beginning. Its take 150 years of football to get to this and we are just a drop in the ocean so thinking big means thinking ahead.”
What does the future hold for the Fan Action Network?
“Money, time and energy need to be spent on making the game more transparent, and honest. One thing I’ve learned about with this kind of politics is that burn out is always one step away. So we will just take our time and do what we can, because in the end it requires more people working with this material to make something actually happen.
To learn more about the group's manifesto click here:Manifesto Text COPA 90