Beer and the Boro — A Perfect Match!

  • Alex Gillett
  • Kevin Tennent
  • Fred Hutchinson


Although football clubs (FCs) as firms are relatively unsustainable from a purely financial perspective, the club brands appear highly sustainable in comparison with many other industries (Kuper and Szymanski, 2012). While the ownership and the companies running the clubs may change, the club brands themselves appear to be more stable than in other industries where firms and brands go out of business, relocate or diversify to a far greater extent (e.g. Hannah, 1997). This may be because they are less vulnerable to competition — FCs have historically been geographic, and while their catchment area may shrink during less successful periods, it will not disappear entirely. Furthermore, rival foreign clubs do not enter and supply soccer at lower prices (although foreign investors may bid to take over the ownership) and although English clubs as a whole could fall behind foreign competitors and lose their best players, foreign clubs have their own problems of finance and management (Kuper and Szymanski, 2012). Put succinctly, society can keep unprofitable clubs going cheaply: bank managers and tax collectors have historically appeared reluctant to close century-old clubs -and so society swallowed the losses. Perhaps clubs were and still are too small to fail. At the same time, the brand loyalty of supporters means that no matter how lousy the product, a hard core of customers will continue to purchase: “Soccer is more than just a business. No one has their ashes scattered down the aisle at Tesco” (Taylor, 1998, cited by Kuper and Szymanski, 2012, p.82).


Sport Club Football Club Social Club Football Association License Premise 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allan, D. and Bevington, A. 1996. From Doom to Boom: Most Dramatic Decade in the Life of Middlesbrough FC. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  2. Amer, C. and Wilson, J. 1998. Fust for the Record. Middlesbrough: ParkwayGoogle Scholar
  3. BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), 2008. Brewing deal ends centuries of history. Available at: (accessed 10 August 2013)Google Scholar
  4. Brown, P. 2010. Man Walks into a Pub, 2nd ed. London: Pan MacmillanGoogle Scholar
  5. Brownlee, A. and Cox, G. 2006. The Class of ’86. Middlesbrough: Linthorpe PublishingGoogle Scholar
  6. Budd, C.A. 2012. The Growth of an Urban Sporting Culture — Middlesbrough c.1870–1914. Unpublished PhD thesis, De Montfort University, Leicester, UKGoogle Scholar
  7. Carter, N. 1996. The Move to the Riverside: A Case Study of Local Identity and the Commercialisation Process in Football. Unpublished MA thesis, University of Warwick, UKGoogle Scholar
  8. Collins, T. and Vamplew, W. 2002. Mud, Sweat and Beers: A Cultural History of Sport and Alcohol. Oxford: BergGoogle Scholar
  9. Crystal Palace FC 2014a. Record numbers attend the CPFC Beer Festival. Available at: (accessed 29 September 2014)Google Scholar
  10. Crystal Palace FC 2014b. Toast our wine and beer this Xmas. (accessed 29 September 2014)Google Scholar
  11. Decker, S. 2013. The silence of the archives: business history, post-colonialism and archival ethnography. Management and Organizational History, 8(2): 155–173Google Scholar
  12. Farr Vintners 2014. The sales and purchasing team. Available at: (accessed 30 September 2014)Google Scholar
  13. Hannah, L. 1997. Marshall’s “trees” and the global “forest”: Were “giant redwoods” different? CEPDP, 318. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UKGoogle Scholar
  14. Home, J. and Whannel, G. 2009. Beer sponsors football: What could go wrong? In L.A. Wenner and S.L. Jackson (eds), Sport Beer and Gender: Promotional Culture and Contemporary Social Life. New York: Peter Lang, 55–74Google Scholar
  15. Kuper, S. and Szymanski, S. 2012. Soccernomics. London: Harper SportGoogle Scholar
  16. McKay, M.-L. 2014a. The History of the Lion Brewery (Working title/draft). Hartlepool: Printability PublishingGoogle Scholar
  17. McKay, M.-L. 2014b. Interview conducted at The Lion Brewery Visitor Centre, Hartlepool 2 September 2014Google Scholar
  18. MBC (Middlesbrough Borough Council), Undated. Internal report on Middlesbrough Football Club’s Sports Hall, circa 1984Google Scholar
  19. MBC (Middlesbrough Borough Council) 1983. Joint Report by the County Planning Officer and the County Treasurer on Middlesbrough Football & Athletic Company LimitedGoogle Scholar
  20. MBC (Middlesbrough Borough Council) 1984a. Report detailing findings on Middlesbrough Football Club’s Sports Hall financial appraisalGoogle Scholar
  21. MBC (Middlesbrough Borough Council) 1984b. Internal memo, no exact dateGoogle Scholar
  22. Metcalf, M. 2013. The Origins of The Football League: The First Season 1888/89. Stroud: Amberley PublishingGoogle Scholar
  23. MFAC (Middlesbrough Football & Athletic Company Limited) 1981, 1982, 1983. Annual Report of the Directors and Financial StatementsGoogle Scholar
  24. Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 1983a. Here’s to a new signing. Newspaper article published 15 September 1983Google Scholar
  25. Middlesbrough Evening Gazette. 1983b. Boro faces trial by F.A. Newspaper article published 15 September 1983Google Scholar
  26. Middlesbrough Evening Gazette. 1986a. No Boro bid by brewery. Newspaper article published 5 June 1986Google Scholar
  27. Middlesbrough Evening Gazette. 1986b. Club’s shocking debts dossier. Newspaper article published 10 June 1986Google Scholar
  28. Middlesbrough Evening Gazette. 1986c. Talk to us Boro — League’s plea to halt death throes. Newspaper article published 4 August 1986Google Scholar
  29. Northern Daily Mail. 1983. Cameron’s £1/4m Hansa to the Boro. Newspaper article published 15 September 1983Google Scholar
  30. Paylor, E. 1989. Middlesbrough Football Club. Manchester: Archive Publications LtdGoogle Scholar
  31. Paylor, E. and Wilson, J. 2014. Ayresome Park memories. (20th anniversary edition). Derby, UK: DB Publishing/JMD MediaGoogle Scholar
  32. Pettigrew, A.M. 1985. The Awakening Giant: Continuity and Change in ICI. Oxford: BlackwellGoogle Scholar
  33. Phillips, N. 2008. Doctor to the World Champions: My Autobiography. Bloomington, IN: Trafford PublishingGoogle Scholar
  34. Preece, D. 2008. Change and continuity in UK public house retailing. The Service Industries Journal, 28(8): 1107–1124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Preece, D., Steven G. and Steven, V. 1999. Work, Change and Competition: Managing for Bass. London: RoutledgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Private Eye. 1982. Amer of Industry. Magazine article published October 1982, p.20Google Scholar
  37. Ritchie, B. 1999. Good Company — The Story of Scottish & Newcastle. London: James & JamesGoogle Scholar
  38. Rowlinson, M., Hassard, J. and Decker, S., 2014. Research strategies for organizational history: A dialogue between historical theory and organization theory. Academy of Management Review 39(3): 250–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tischler, S. 1981. Footballers and Businessmen: The Origins of Professional Football in England. New York: Holmes & Meier PublishersGoogle Scholar
  40. Todd, C., and Brown, J. 2008. Toddy: The Colin Todd Story Derby: Breedon Books Publishing Co. Ltd.Google Scholar
  41. Sanders, R. 2010. Beastly Fury — The Strange Birth of British Football. London: Transworld Publishers/Bantam BooksGoogle Scholar
  42. Slaven, B. 2012. Interview conducted at Gisborough Hall Hotel, 19 April 2012Google Scholar
  43. Star Pubs. 2014. Website Homepage. (accessed 28 September 2014)Google Scholar
  44. Weed, M. 2007. The pub as a virtual football fandom venue: an alternative to “being there?” Soccer & Society, 8(2): 399–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wilson, J. 2015. Interview conducted at University of York, 2 March 2015Google Scholar
  46. Wood, J. and Gabie, N. 2011. The football ground and visual culture: recapturing place, memory and meaning at Ayresome Park. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 28(8–9): 1186–1202CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Alex Gillett, Kevin Tennent, and Fred Hutchinson 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex Gillett
  • Kevin Tennent
  • Fred Hutchinson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations