Irish Soccer Migrants - a Social and Cultural History
Publisher: Cork University Press
This book looks at the experiences and achievement levels of Irish-born football migrants to Britain and further afield. In particular, it draws on interviews with twenty-four Irish-born footballers, each of whom has played league football in England or Scotland in the 1945-2010 period. This is the first book to utilise these migrants as a quantitative source, and to illustrate their experiences within the context of the Irish diaspora. It builds on a comprehensive range of databases to examine players’ career movements and is illustrated throughout with tables and pictures. An examination of the birthplaces of players is offered along with the reasons for their geographical diversity. As well as providing an assessment of the development of schoolboy coaching structures in Ireland and the social challenges which many young players have faced, particularly in rural areas, it discusses key childhood influences and the development of scouting networks. It assesses the recruitment process and identifies the Irish clubs which have produced the most players who have migrated and played first team league football in Britain, and in turn, it establishes the clubs in Britain which have given first team league football to the most Irish-born players. The impact of the Troubles on the migration of Northern Ireland born players is also discussed. An assessment of players’ working conditions and the culture of professional football in Britain is given, particularly in light of the cultural adaption required, while the book also examines the changing nature of the post-playing careers of these footballers. The decline of Irish-born players within top flight English league football is discussed along with a number of difficulties facing future Irish football migrants. In locating the study of Irish football migrants within the study of Irish migration to Britain, Europe and the United States of America, and in comparing the experiences of Irish born footballers with those from other nations, this book is the first of its kind.