The Premier League and the new consumption of football
This thesis is a historical and critical examination of the development of the Premier League and the new consumption of football, which attempts to link these developments with wider post-Fordist transformations. The thesis argues that the transformation of labour relations in football set the Football League on a course of organic political economic development which privileged the big city clubs. During the 1980s, these clubs became conscious of this divide and, in a complex series of negotiations, effected a breakaway from the League to form the Premier League. It is argued that the latter organisation was the institutional framework in which the new consumption of football was possible. The particular form of that new consumption of football was determined by certain discursive interventions from 1985, which prescribed a particular course of reform for football. The thesis argues that these discourses were intimately related to wider post-Fordist developments and were privileged both because of those (post- Fordist) developments and the organic transformation of football itself. The thesis goes on to suggest that the conjunctural discourses of reform were implemented by a fraction of the capitalist class, the new business class and Part N, involves an extensive examination of this class fraction's participation in the game and the fans' resistance and compliance to this project. By examining both the long-term, organic developments and the more immediate conjunctural moments of the 1980s, the thesis attempts to provide a holistic account of recent developments in football, which it is hoped will throw light on Britain's post-Fordist transformation.