Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal
School of Business and Law
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to extend research on boundary making and breaking through alternative football clubs. These entities have borne out of the disappointment caused by the neoliberal turn of the football industry, which excluded traditional fans from being active actors and therefore call for study and generalization of specific forms of alternative accountability. Design/methodology/approach: The study looks at emerging trends in the accounting and sport literature by drawing on two concepts that emerged in critical scholarship: critical performativity and critical dialogical accountability, with the aim of better understanding how these elements are developed and shaped within an alternative form of football organization. The focus on Football Club United of Manchester drives the ethnographic approach with data collected via participant observation, field-notes, documental analysis and semi-structured interviews. Findings: The research shows that the pillars of the club's ethos, pushing its critical performative interventions toward setting new boundaries, are democratic governance and accountability, favoring participation and inclusion, and strictly linked to this, a responsibility to local communities. However, the study also highlights the difficulties of maintaining these boundaries when core values are threatened by degeneration. Originality/value: The study makes a novel contribution to the field of accounting and sport, showing how an alternative football club adopts inclusive accountability systems that go beyond mainstream neoliberal practices. Such an inclusive approach can stimulate critical performativity, moving away from means-end rationality.
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