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Domestic Moves: An Exploration of Intra-National Labour Mobility in the Working Lives of Professional Footballers

This article investigates the domestic, intra-state labour mobility of professional footballers. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with a snowball sample of 49 male professional footballers who represent a range of career trajectories; the specific object of 19 interviews was to examine meanings and experiences tied to job relocation. An interactionist perspective was employed to highlight the ways in which players came to define, control and negotiate their workplace social realities. The article explores the working contexts that lead players to find new employment and appreciate the temporally oriented workplace situations that colour their experiences. The interview data illuminate the way ‘work’ opportunities are denied, how players are marginalised from the club’s central activity, and why these contexts lead to the dilution of feelings of job security. The conclusion argues that the spirit of community needs to be retained in professional football, and offers direction for further research for an activity that has become somewhat instrumental and expedient.