John Williams

Associate Professor of Sociology

John Williams

School/Department: Media, Communication and Sociology, School of



The COVID-19 outbreak has had a crippling impact on international, national and local sport. No serious sport is currently being played and there are no indications when this might be possible and under what circumstances. This raises questions about the benefits of sport, both to players and spectators, and the communal functions around identity, solidarity and community. Recently, there has been discussion around whether sporting competitions should restart without spectators. Does this make sense – or do fans constitute an important dimension of the sporting ‘text’? How will missing weekly sport be impacting on communities and individuals? And how will the major sporting bodies re-align themselves when sporting competition becomes possible again?


Sociology of football and football fan culture; sports identities; football spectator behaviour and policing football crowds; women and football; issues of antiracist action around football clubs; local football and local identity construction through sport; the local governance of sport; rugby union fan and football fan allegiances and identity construction through sport; the new global and commercial landscape of professional football in Europe.


Williams, John (2010) Red Men: Liverpool Football Club, The Biography (Edinburgh: Mainstream).

Ward, Andrew and Williams, John (2009) Football Nation: Stories from Sixty Years of the Game (London: Bloomsbury). [Paperback 2010 as Football Nation: Sixty Years of the Beautiful Game.]

Williams, John (2008) Come On You Red Men: The Official Cultural History of Liverpool Football Club (Liverpool: Trinity Mirror Sport Media).

Williams, John and Llopis, Ramon (2006) Groove Armada: Rafa Benitez, Anfield and the New Spanish Fury (Edinburgh: Mainstream). [Paperback 2007 as Rafa: Liverpool FC, Benitez and the New Spanish Fury.]

Williams, John  and Hopkins, Stephen. (2005) The Miracle of Istanbul: Liverpool FC, from Paisley to Benitez (Edinburgh: Mainstream).

Pole, Chris, Pilcher, Jane and Williams, John (eds.) (2005) Young People in Transition: Becoming Citizens (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

Kennedy , Alan and Williams, John  (2004) Kennedy's Way: Inside Bob Paisley's Liverpool (Edinburgh: Mainstream). [Paperback 2005.]

Williams John (2003) The Liverpool Way: Houllier, Anfield and the New Global Game (Edinburgh: Mainstream).

Williams, John, Pilcher, Jane and Pole, Chris (eds.) (2003) Special Issue: 'Rethinking Adulthood: Families, Transitions and Social Change', Sociological Research Online, 8(4).

Williams John (2001) Into the Red: Liverpool FC and the Changing Face of English Football (Edinburgh: Mainstream). [Updated edition 2002.]


I am able to supervise doctoral students in any area connected to the sociology of sport and leisure. My particular focus has been recent developments in professional football and football culture, but I am also interested in sociological questions around all sports including those around issues of race and gender, crowd behaviour and management, globalisation, commercialisation, identity formation, sporting consumption, place and locality, and the impact of television on the production and consumption of sport and leisure. I am also keen on developing new socio-historical perspectives on sport and much of my recent writing has been in this area. My research is both empirical and theoretical and I am happy to supervise students who want to examine sport and leisure in different cultures and/or who are interested in comparative studies. Finally, I am an active sports fan and enjoy connecting my academic concern with my own sporting and cultural interests.



  • SY1016: Victims and Offenders
  • SY3042: Undergraduate Research Project
  • SY3057: Football and Society


  • Supervision of Masters and PhD theses.

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