Accounting, finance and conflict in football arenas

Andrew Adams, Stephen Morrow, Ian Thomson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
253 Downloads (Pure)


To provide insights into the role of formal and informal accounts in preventing the liquidation of a professional football club and in post-crisis rebuilding.

This case study, framed as a conflict arena, covers an eight-year period of a high-profile struggle over the future of a professional football club. It uses a mixed methods design, including direct engagement with key actors involved in administration proceedings and transformation to a hybrid supporter-owned organisation.

Our findings suggest that within the arena:• formal accounting and governance were of limited use in managing the complex network of relationships and preventing the abuse of power or existential crises. • informal accounting helped mobilise critical resources and maintain supporters’ emotional investment during periods of conflict. • informal accounts enabled both resistance and coalition-building in response to perceived abuse of power. • informal accounts were used by the Club as part of its legitimation activities.

This study provides theoretical and empirical insights into an unfolding crisis with evidence gathered directly from actors involved in the process. The conceptual framework developed in this paper creates new visibilities and possibilities for developing more effective accounting practices in settings that enable continuing emotional investment from supporters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-479
Number of pages26
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number2
Early online date18 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2024


  • Football
  • Accountability
  • Conflict
  • Arena
  • Supporter-ownership


Dive into the research topics of 'Accounting, finance and conflict in football arenas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this