One of the most striking characteristics of the sports stadium is the emotional

intensity found there. On the one hand, stadia play host to an ‘adoring audience’

(Lewis 1992) of enthusiastic, shouting, celebrating or crying fans, while on the

other, they are a place in which deviant and violent behaviour, fuelled by emo-

tions such as anger and hatred, can break out. Thus however it is expressed,

sport seems to carry an ‘enormous emotional load’ (Wohl 1970: 122), something

that has repeatedly been described in popular novels such as Nick Hornby’s Fever

Pitch, in countless mass media reports and, also, in academic accounts such as

Norbert Elias’s case study on football which provided the introductory quote.