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Fandom – the cultural signification and performance of being a fan – has been one of the most dynamic and most contested concepts within recent sociological discussions of sport. Whilst the paying spectator has been an integral element of the economics of sport, tied as it is to the development of professionalism and commercialisation of society during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Horne et al., 1999), by the outbreak of World War One (1914), having to pay to see sporting events was an established part of the patterns of British leisure and national cultural life (Dobbs, 1973). The notion of fandom, however, is a much more recent development within sports culture.

The Oxford English Dictionary dates popular usage of the term to 1903, ...

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