Football When the artist express himself with the feet

Passion and emotion

Millions of souls with the same belief...

Football is associated with passion, emotion, excitement and dedication across Europe. References to extreme emotional experiences at football games characterised all aspects of discussions with fans — some referring to the 'pure joy' and exhilaration of being at football games. Such is the intensity of the experience that two thirds of fans have cried at football matches — mostly through joy, but occasionally because of despair. Football provides for many fans an opportunity to let themselves go emotionally — to release the frustrations of everyday life.

Everyone loves football!

FOOTBALL AND SOCIETY

A sport for everyone!

The Importance of The World’s Most Popular Sport

In these exclusive interviews, we talk to four of the world’s most successful international footballers: Louis Saha, Philip Neville, Leighton Baines and Hope Solo. We discuss life as a footballer, how the game has grown to become the world’s most prominent sport, and the role it plays in society and culture. We also investigate the impact of wealth in the game, the challenges faced by the players themselves, and the sport’s future.

In any study of human society, the concept of social capital is important. Matthew Nicholson and Russell Hoye, in their 2008 book ‘Sport and Social Capital‘ cite Burt (2000:3) who stated, “…the people who do better are somehow better connected”. The authors explain how, “…in other words, there is an inherent logic in the idea that the more connections individuals make within their communities the better off they will be emotionally, socially, physically and economically.”

Taking this to a more functional level, the authors cite Bourdieu (1986:248) who stated that social capital was “the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalised relationships of mutual acquaintance or recognition.” In other words; the collective notional-capacity of any community (whether a family, village, city, company, peer group or country) is linked to the number of connections between the individuals (actors) within that group. It is clear, though, that simply having connections is not enough. The ‘quality’ of those connections is of critical importance. Nicholson and Hoye took example from Nahapiet & Ghoshal (1998:244) who identified that the relational dimension of social capital refers to the “personal relationships that people have developed with each other through a history of interactions”. In this sense, they argue “..trust and trustworthiness, norms and sanctions, obligations and expectations, and identity and identification are considered key factors”. They conclude by introducing a cognitive dimension to social capital (King, 2004:473) which consists of the “shared meaning and common values” in a community as well as “collective goals and a shared vision among community or network members”.

More than a sport...

As a species, we have the unusual paradox of being both highly individualistic, yet- in essence- social. We exist in what Peter Corning (and other biologists) describes as a “collective survival exercise.” This view however, berates what human-culture has achieved. While at a very primal level we do certainly work as a collective to satisfy our basic needs for food, shelter, reproduction and safety; the real strength of our culture lies in what-happens once these needs are met. As ‘social capital’ develops, humans become increasingly able to perform feats way beyond the biological and cognitive limitations of the individual; we are the only species who have not only viewed the earth from another celestial body, but have the power to destroy it.

Such capacity requires the level of co-operation and mutuality which can only exist when society has a high level of cognitive bonding and bridging. For thousands of years, sport has existed (some argue alongside religion) as the pre-eminent medium through which such bonding takes place, and in contemporary culture- football (soccer) has become the pre-eminent sport of the world with two hundred and seventy million people (around four percent of the world’s population) actively involved in the game of football, and perhaps many magnitudes more in number who enjoy it as spectators.

In these exclusive interviews, we talk to four of the world’s most successful international footballers: Louis Saha, Philip Neville, Leighton Baines and Hope Solo. We discuss life as a footballer, how the game has grown to become the world’s most prominent sport, and the role it plays in society and culture. We also investigate the impact of wealth in the game, the challenges faced by the players themselves, and the sport’s future.

VIEW INTERVIEWEE BIOGRAPHIES

Q: What does football mean to you?

Louis Saha

[Louis Saha] Football means a lot to me. It has a lot of power to change things in life, not just my life, but in wider society. Football brings everyone together, it brings smiles to people’s faces, it brings races together and more.

Old Trafford

Football is a symbol that means that everyone can- at the same time, compete and live together.

[Philip Neville] Football is almost a religion to me. From the day that I was born, my father was obsessed with football, sport and Manchester United. When you’re born, your parents instil a lot of their values and loves into you! Saturday at 3pm was always boy’s time, it was the time we went to the football and nothing interrupted that. It was the biggest moment of the week. If we won, it would make our week, if we lost, it would spoil our week- it was that important to my father, to me, to my brother and my whole family.

Football has given me the opportunity to travel the world, to grow as a person. Off the field, I’ve learned so much about myself, and my personality. I’ve come out of my shell, become more confident- and have learned to handle situations that made me uncomfortable, and were well outside my comfort zone. Even from an early age, just 10 or 12, I was going away from home for pretty long periods of time to play football; and that was tough! These experiences have stood me in good stead for the rest of my life.

Credits:

Created with images by coombesy - "statue football hero" • ViNull - "Soccer" • jklugiewicz - "puppy dog animal" • wrightbrosfan - "Spring Soccer"

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