‘We are all Foxes Now’: sport, multiculturalism and business in the era of Disneyization

2020-01-20T12:35:50Z (GMT) by John Williams Jack Peach
On Monday 2 May 2016, a little heralded, medium-sized, provincial soccer club, Leicester City, one with no record of league titles in 132 years of trying, no European heritage of any note, and no major expenditure on players, won the English Premier League (EPL) title. This astonishing outcome is at odds with the development of monetised late-modern European club soccer. A select group of clubs with a global ‘reach’, owned and funded by foreign capital, have increasingly dominated the EPL since its formation in 1992. Leicester City’s triumph was also notable because Leicester is regarded as a settled multi-cultural city. The title win was widely interpreted as a vehicle for promoting racial integration, as well as celebrating positive owner/fan identities, civic pride, and traditional sporting values over the ethos of business. This paper explores these issues and what the Leicester victory meant to local supporters, and to the city.