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Research into effect of Hillsborough on fan bases requested

Anyone who can help. I did forward to some other people but it doesn't seem to have got a response.

Cheers

Ben

Dear sir/madam

I am writing to you as a Postgraduate Student studying for an MSc in Sport and
Recreation Management at The University of Sheffield.

I am conducting primary research for my dissertation entitled 'A causal link?
The impact of the Hillsborough Disaster on the development of the English
football fan base' and wish to know your opinions and feelings on the
Hillsborough Disaster in relation to the developments that are said to have
occurred within the fan base.

These changes in the fan base refer to the increased affluence of the
supporters, more families attending and a rise in the number of women at
games.

I would be grateful if you could complete and return the attached questionnaire
to [email protected] by Friday 27 July 2007.

Your confidentiality is of the up most importance and whilst I can guarantee
not to mention individuals, I will need to state which supporter's club individual
comments have come from.

I thank you in advance for your participation in this vital piece of academic
research. If you feel that the topic is of particular interest, I would be
happy to talk to you personally to further understand your theories on the
subject. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.

Yours faithfully

Helen Atkinson
[email protected]


Please answer with a cross [x] in the single most appropriate answer, unless it is stated that multiple answers may be given. If you wish to withdraw your questionnaire at any time please inform me via email at [email protected] Thank you.


1. Name of your supporter’s club_________________________________________


2. Which league was your club in during the 2006/07 season?

[ ] Premier League
[ ] Championship
[ ] League One
[ ] League Two
[ ] Conference


3. How long has your club been in this league?

[ ] 1-4 Seasons
[ ] 5-8 Seasons
[ ] 9-12 Season
[ ] 13-16 Seasons
[ ] 17-20 Seasons
[ ] 21 or more Seasons


4. What league was your club in during the 1988/89 season?

[ ] First Division
[ ] Second Division
[ ] Third Division
[ ] Fourth Division
[ ] Other____________________________________________________________


5. Following the Hillsborough Disaster of April 1989, have you noticed a change in the make-up of your supporter’s club members?

[ ] Yes
[ ] No


6. If yes, please indicate the changes (cross as many as appropriate):

[ ] Increased number of women
[ ] Increased number of families
[ ] Increased affluence of the supporters
[ ] More fickle in their support
[ ] Other____________________________________________________________
[ ] Not Applicable
7. To the best of your knowledge, was this change occurring despite the events at Hillsborough?

[ ] Yes
[ ] No


8. Please list any evidence you have with reference to Question 7:
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


9. Do you consider any change in your supporter’s club membership to be representative of English football as a whole?

[ ] Yes
[ ] No
[ ] Unsure
[ ] Not applicable as do not consider there to have been a change


10. Has this change altered the level of support that you feel fans provide?

[ ] Yes, it has increased the level of support
[ ] Yes, it has decreased the level of support
[ ] No
[ ] Unsure
[ ] Not applicable as do not consider there to have been a change


11. Has this change altered the atmosphere of the crowd at home matches?

[ ] Yes, it has improved the atmosphere
[ ] Yes, it has worsened the atmosphere
[ ] No
[ ] Unsure
[ ] Not applicable as do not consider there to have been a change


12. Has this change altered the atmosphere of the crowd at away matches?

[ ] Yes, it has improved the atmosphere
[ ] Yes, it has worsened the atmosphere
[ ] No
[ ] Unsure
[ ] Not applicable as do not consider there to have been a change



13. In your opinion, how influential was the Hillsborough Disaster in altering the fan base of English football?

[ ] Very influential
[ ] Quite Influential
[ ] Its influence is equal to other factors
[ ] Not very influential
[ ] Not influential at all


14. In your opinion, which of these other disasters are also influential in altering the fan base of English football (cross as many as appropriate)?

[ ] First Ibrox Disaster (1902)
[ ] Second Ibrox Disaster (1971)
[ ] Bolton Disaster (1946)
[ ] Bradford City Fire (1985)
[ ] Heysel City Stadium (1985)
[ ] Other____________________________________________________________


15. In your opinion, which single factor is the most significant in altering the fan base of English football?

[ ] Hillsborough Disaster
[ ] First Ibrox Disaster (1902)
[ ] Second Ibrox Disaster (1971)
[ ] Bolton Disaster (1946)
[ ] Bradford City Fire (1985)
[ ] Heysel City Stadium (1985)
[ ] Other____________________________________________________________


16. Finally, do you any further comments on the impact of the Hillsborough Disaster in developing the football fan base?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Comments

  • Hillsborough wasn't the change agent, the change agent was I think Englands performance at the 1990 World Cup; far more important than Hillsborough.

    The World Cup brought renewed interest, this renewed interest found when they went to games that the stadiums were changing and improving (that part is due to Taylor and Hillsborough).

    Then the FAPL happened and SKY and then Euro 96 a bit of a virtuous circle.
  • Seated Stadia brought with them improved toilet and catering facilities.

    It was Hillsborough that was the catalyst for the Taylor Report but I don't think he would have been as draconian in his recommendations had the Bradford Fire and Heysel not happened comparitively recently. Football grounds were primitive and neglected with few exceptions and Taylor probably felt that issue needed addressing.

    Whether or not he went over the top is another discussion.

    Those improvements made football a more attractive proposition for women, families and companies looking to entertain customers / clients.

    Football (the cynic might say to attract Sky subsribers) at the same time suddenly began to attract positive publicity and became "trendy" with airtime being given to the likes of Skinner and Baddiel and the various fan zone type programmes on Sky and other channels.

    In conclusion Hillsborough was a contributor but not the sole reason for the change in fanbase in my view.
  • The changes that took place after Hillsborough were an over-reaction by the government which wanted to be seen to be doing something, rather than take the wisest course of action. Try and view Hillsborough not in the same light as Heysel (that was fan violence, poor stewarding and a decrepit, unsafe ground) and the other football tragedies but with other events around that time, eg after Dunblane there was a ban on handguns, after a spate of incidents involving rottweilers and pit bulls the Dangerous Dogs Act was passed. If you spend some more time thinking you'll probably come up with another few contemporary examples of where the government chose not to act wisely after understanding the problem and taking into consideration the consequences of a ban but because they wanted to appease the media and be seen to be acting and in so doing over-did things, as I say because they didn't think things through properly.

    Other than that frankly most of the questions you ask make no sense in relation to the subject of your dissertation.

    Football has gone from being a predominantly working class game to something thanks to ridiculous amounts of both hype and Sky money to being something that now involves a serious cash outlay for the average supporter. This means that with all seater stadia and an increasing cost base that football is being priced out of the market that traditionally provided most of its fan/customer base. That hasn't been all bad, facilities and infrastructure have improved and not before time, and the game is now marketed at a middle class family audience, ie people with higher levels of disposable income.

    If you want a key point in this transition look at Euro 96 when after several years of exclusion from European football, Heysel, Hillsborough etc and the Taylor Report, football started the process of re-inventing itself and became respectable as a sport. Also around that time the message finally got through to most people that football hooliganism was no longer big or funny and that was aided by clubs taking their place in the community seriously. This wasn't just a no-tolerance attitude to hooliganism but initiatives such as Kick racism out of Football and greater community schemes that widened the customer base, Charlton has at that time a target 10,000 plan to get attendances over an average 10,000 and started running football in the community schemes etc. I would go on but it's your dissertation not mine.
  • The mailing list might be a good destination for that request, Henry, plenty of people there with long memories.
  • [cite]Posted By: InspectorSands[/cite]The mailing list might be a good destination for that request, Henry, plenty of people there with long memories.

    True. Can't remember their names or who the current prime minister is, mind.

    Good debate but can someone answere the questions for the lazy soap dodger
  • Think most of the questions are irrelevent.

    I hold a similar view to Pickwick, above everything else, the 1990 World Cup with Gazza's tears, Linekers legs and Pavarotti was the first pivotal moment from the current growth of football as we now see it. The Sky money and the birth of the Premiership then excellerated it to extreme levels.

    I' not too sure how big a part Hillsboro played in the rebirth. I think that all-seater stadia, or at least increased seating would of happened anyway as the top divisions become more commercial and realised there is more money to be made from seats, and more money to be made from the bloke who used to go on his own starting to bring his missus and his two nippers.
  • edited July 2007
    the big events to get where english football is today were sky tv, ruud gullitt bringing in quality names at chelsea and roman's money...
  • Quick bump for our latest member.

    Hi Helen.

    Ben
  • Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for their comments on my research questionnaire. Any thoughts, positive or negative, are welcome as it opens up extra avenues of thought for my work.

    I think the main thing I wanted to say was about the developement of televised football. It is mentioned by a few of you that Sky is a major factor in altering the football fan base and this is undeniable. However, it is the creation of this Sky coverage that has to be considered in the wider context. Sky deals came from the creation of the Premiership, as suggested by the 1992 Blueprint for Football with in turn stemmed from the Taylor report on the Hillsborough Disaster. I would therefore consider the revenues from Sky and how this has altered the game to indirectly come from Hillsborough.

    Does anyone have an opinion on this?

    There is no doubt that there are many factors that have altered the football fan base, although this alteration in itself has been debated. I'm trying to work out if Hillsborough was the most important or in fact just one of many factors. From the comments made the latter view seems to be more popular.

    Many thanks again.
  • You could argue that football made Sky. Without it would they have ever got the number of subscriptions to justify the sattilite costs.

    Now there is a virtuous (or vicious) cycle of Sky promoting football as a "whole new game" and football promoting Sky.

    There is a case to say that the Premiership was created for TV. The involvement of Alan Sugar can not be underplayed. With only 22, then 20 clubs to pay and focus on, the money became attractive enough for the top clubs to alter their schedules, build the TV facilities and run the perceived risk of lower attendances.

    The key question is would the changes have taken place had Hillsborough not happened. Personally I think that the move to better facilities and seating would have occurred anyway but maybe slower and not as totally. We have seen radical changes in facilities in many entertainment venues such as multiplex cinemas, the O2.

    Once the facilities where better this open to door to a wider audience. My wife, as an example, couldn't believe the toilets at the old Valley (no paper, no light) and couldn't see when she stood on the Highbury north bank. To use Hertzberg better facilities would not make her come to football but poor facilities did deter her.
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  • edited July 2007
    I support the later view, i certainly wouldn't of had it in the top 3 of important issues that 'changed the game'.

    I think looking back that Sky took a massive gamble. The initial deal could quite easily of destroyed their company and not moved football at the same pace as what has been achieved. The family was just about starting to be won back to mainstream football, clubs were getting their stadiums in order, partly through Hillsborough, partly through seeing potential revenue increases. The top league had been rebranded The Premiership, but at the time it was nothing more glitzy than a name change from what i can remember.

    The money Sky pumped in not only allowed clubs to be able to fund the purchase of exotic named overseas stars, it gave the 'Premiership brand' credibility and allowed it to alienate itself from the rest of the football league. Sky made this work with fantastic coverage, at a level far above what was previously seen in this country. Since then it has been one big spiralling effect. Sky could see the growth lines of their subscriptions so knew the next big contract was financially sound for them, the extra money allowed the clubs to become that bit grander in their thinking and their planning.

    Sky and the Premiership have largely been good for football in this country. But it has also changed a lot of things for the worse in the process; At top level, the National team haven't come as close to winning a major championship than pre-Premiership, and below EVERY other club has suffered as a result of the new-found professionalism and greed of Premiership clubs. The money now currently leaves an unworkable difference.
  • I think the main thing I wanted to say was about the developement of televised football. It is mentioned by a few of you that Sky is a major factor in altering the football fan base and this is undeniable.

    ..................................

    Football was extensively televised by the BBC and ITV prior to this with both competing for the first and second division matches and showing packages of highlights over many years, however they only showed one live game a week and the rest of their coverage was desultory - highlights late on Saturday evening etc and that was it.

    However Sky didn't make football, football made Sky.

    SKY bought the broadcasting rights at a massive premium to the money being quoted by the BBC and ITV, not unsurprisingly the terrestial broadcasters couldn't compete. The package that Sky paid was commercially loss-making and it still is, but it took SKY from being a minor broadcaster onto the next level and helped him recoup the costs of launching the service and make it profitable. Without football, SKY would still be a minor broadcaster. To make it pay SKY then had to broadcast as many games live as possible. Ironically there was some logic to their over-paying, as it gave the clubs the money to upgrade their grounds after the Taylor report and invest in foreign stars and the big names on big salaries do attract a lot of floating viewers who might not otherwise have the loyalty to watch say Arsenal but would like to see Thierry Henry play. The increase in live games also came at times when the average footie fan wasn't necessarily watching his team - Saturday/Sunday lunchtimes, Sunday and Monday evenings. SKY also of course had acres of TV time to fill and so would re-broadcast matches, highlights and talk up news and that gave football a higher profile. Before SKY and the internet finding out information about your team was difficult if you were not a fan of one of the big clubs that always had a high media profile.


    Murdoch did exactly the same with Rugby League in Australia and also bought up RL in the UK (and changed it from a winter to a summer sport in the process). In the States Fox bought the rights to baseball in a similar deal, in each case - RL in Oz and the UK, football in the UK and baseball the intention was to buy market share and then using his other media where possible hype those sports through the roof. In the UK he of course owns the Sun, Sunday Times/Times, has media interests in Australia etc so he could cross-promote the sports.

    He also cherrypicked a lot of games to appeal to regional sensibilities, for example back in 1999/2000 Charlton were running away with what was then the First Division, yet despite that in the first half of the season Charlton matches were rarely televised, because SKY were strong in the south-east, but weak in the north, so they had a deliberate policy of broadcasting matches involving northern teams, particularly derby matches. Once fans of these teams started seeing their team on TV more frequently they started buying SKY packages, in the second half of the season with northern subscriber numbers high SKY switched to showing Charlton and other southern teams more frequently.
  • [cite]Posted By: BlackForestReds[/cite]IHe also cherrypicked a lot of games to appeal to regional sensibilities, for example back in 1999/2000 Charlton were running away with what was then the First Division, yet despite that in the first half of the season Charlton matches were rarely televised, because SKY were strong in the south-east, but weak in the north, so they had a deliberate policy of broadcasting matches involving northern teams, particularly derby matches. Once fans of these teams started seeing their team on TV more frequently they started buying SKY packages, in the second half of the season with northern subscriber numbers high SKY switched to showing Charlton and other southern teams more frequently.

    Never realised that
  • Never realised that

    ...............

    I think we were televised live once prior to Christmas/New Year, in those days First Division matches were broadcast on Friday evenings.
  • I would have thought that the clamp down on hooliganism brought about by Hillsborough would have been one of the main contributors to changing the fanbase of football.
  • I studied a lot about the impact Sky had when doing my degree (93-96) and the impression I got was that whilst the money has changed things a hell of a lot, the biggest impact was the way the game was televised. It was given a nice shiny Presentation, turning it away from a working class game and presenting in more as a glitzy, exciting sport that was going to appeal to a lot more people. Specifically those people who had been turned off (or never been 'turned on') from actually attending games.
  • [cite]Posted By: kigelia[/cite]I studied a lot about the impact Sky had when doing my degree (93-96) and the impression I got was that whilst the money has changed things a hell of a lot, the biggest impact was the way the game was televised. It was given a nice shiny Presentation, turning it away from a working class game and presenting in more as a glitzy, exciting sport that was going to appeal to a lot more people. Specifically those people who had been turned off (or never been 'turned on') from actually attending games.

    Good point. Anyone remember the quality of the US coverage of American (gridiron) football. Broing sport made almost interesting by multiple cameras, slow mo, in depth analysis, chalk board, explaining the rules and tactic. All the things that Sky now do but light years away from the old UK TV coverage.
  • Pesonally I thought it was Dream team which changed the face of football
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