IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The 'Typical' Club? A Configuration Analysis of Scottish Football Clubs


  • Andrew Adams
  • Stephen Morrow
  • Ian Thomson

    (Heriot-Watt University)


The focus of this paper is the complex relationships amongst ownership, financing, accountability and governance structures on the performance, resilience and perceived value of Scottish professional football clubs. However, there are numerous clubs which would regard themselves as successful without recently, or indeed ever, winning a trophy. For many, avoiding relegation or surviving until the end of the season could constitute success. Many contemporary professional football clubs are now complex businesses, intrinsically concerned with financial matters. Yet it is not uncommon for financially secure clubs to be criticised while the owners of clubs with extreme levels of indebtedness are praised for their commitment. We conceptualise football clubs as boundary objects; organizations that co-exist in different social worlds, serving different functions for those in these social worlds. Football clubs can be seen as spaces where different values/ideas can be translated and exchanged, and therefore the value of a football club is something that a club co-determines through engagement with its key stakeholders. The resilience of a football club is likely to be affected by a combination of different notions of value and the diversity of roles demanded by its network of stakeholders. This suggests that it is the alignment between a club’s ownership structure, governance mechanisms, accountability and methods of financing and the demands from the social worlds in which it inhabits that will be critical for the success, however defined, of a club.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Adams & Stephen Morrow & Ian Thomson, 2016. "The 'Typical' Club? A Configuration Analysis of Scottish Football Clubs," CFI Discussion Papers 1601, Centre for Finance and Investment, Heriot Watt University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hwe:cfidps:1601

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Egon Franck, 2010. "Private Firm, Public Corporation or Member’s Association Governance Structures in European Football," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 5(2), pages 108-127, May.
    2. Stephen Morrow, 1999. "The New Business of Football," Palgrave Macmillan Books, Palgrave Macmillan, number 978-0-230-37174-3, June.
    3. Stefan Szymanski, 2012. "Insolvency in English professional football: Irrational Exuberance or Negative Shocks?," Working Papers 1202, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
    4. Helmut M. Dietl & Egon Franck, 2007. "Governance Failure and Financial Crisis in German Football," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 8(6), pages 662-669, December.
    5. García, Borja & Welford, Jo, 2015. "Supporters and football governance, from customers to stakeholders: A literature review and agenda for research," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 517-528.
    6. Demsetz, Harold & Lehn, Kenneth, 1985. "The Structure of Corporate Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1155-1177, December.
    7. Umberto Lago & Rob Simmons & Stefan Szymanski, 2006. "The Financial Crisis in European Football," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 7(1), pages 3-12, February.
    8. Jaume García & Plácido Rodríguez, 2002. "The Determinants of Football Match Attendance Revisited," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 3(1), pages 18-38, February.
    9. Christine Cooper & Joanne Johnston, 2012. "Vulgate accountability: insights from the field of football," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 25(4), pages 602-634, May.
    10. Jonathan Michie & Christine Oughton, 2005. "The Corporate Governance of Professional Football Clubs in England," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 517-531, July.
    11. Ragin, Charles C., 2006. "Set Relations in Social Research: Evaluating Their Consistency and Coverage," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 291-310, July.
    12. Borja García & Jo Welford, 2015. "Supporters and football governance, from customers to stakeholders: A literature review and agenda for research," Sport Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(4), pages 517-528, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Stephen Morrow, 2014. "Football finances," Chapters, in: John Goddard & Peter Sloane (ed.), Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football, chapter 6, pages 80-99, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Armin Wiedenegger & Alexander Kern & Maria Rupprechter, 2012. "The Choice of Legal Form and its Effects on Good Governance: A Case Study of an Austrian Professional Soccer Club," Ekonomika a Management, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 2012(3), pages 23-43.
    3. Aurélien François & Nadine Dermit-Richard & Daniel Plumley & Robert Wilson, 2021. "Analyzing the effectiveness of UEFA's financial fair play regulations: A comparative study of the French Ligue 1 and the English Premier League [L'analyse du fair-play financier au prisme de son ef," Working Papers hal-03167685, HAL.
    4. Aurélien François & Nadine Dermit-Richard & Daniel Plumley & Robert Wilson, 2021. "Analyzing the effectiveness of UEFA's financial fair play regulations: A comparative study of the French Ligue 1 and the English Premier League [L'analyse du fair-play financier au prisme de son ef," Post-Print hal-03167685, HAL.
    5. Budzinski, Oliver, 2014. "The competition economics of financial fair play," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 85, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    6. Andrews, Matt & Harrington, Peter, 2016. "Off Pitch: Football's Financial Integrity Weaknesses, and How to Strengthen Them," Working Paper Series 16-009, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    7. Rudemarlyn Urdaneta-Camacho & Juan Carlos Guevara-Pérez & Emilio Martín Vallespín & Néstor Le Clech, 2022. "The Other Side of the “League of Stars”: Analysis of the Financial Situation of Spanish Football," IJFS, MDPI, vol. 11(1), pages 1-18, December.
    8. Ricardo Roseira Cayolla & Joana A. Quintela & Teresa Santos, 2022. "“If You Don’t Know Me by Now”—The Importance of Sustainability Initiative Awareness for Stakeholders of Professional Sports Organizations," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(9), pages 1-16, April.
    9. Thomas Peeters & Stefan Szymanski, 2014. "Financial fair play in European football [v. National Football League, 560 (The Supreme Court May 24, 2010)]," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 29(78), pages 343-390.
    10. Constandt, Bram & Parent, Milena M. & Willem, Annick, 2020. "Does it really matter? A study on soccer fans’ perceptions of ethical leadership and their role as “stakeowners”," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 374-386.
    11. Bastien Drut & Gaël Raballand, 2010. "The Impact of Governance on European Football Leagues’ Competitiveness," Working Papers hal-04140898, HAL.
    12. Ricardo Roseira Cayolla & Joana A. Quintela & Teresa Santos, 2023. "Analysis of Travel Behaviour of Professional Sports Organisation Members to the Stadium: Future Implications for Sustainability," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(9), pages 1-14, April.
    13. Tim Powlowski & Dennis Coates, 2013. "The habit for voting, “civic duty” and travel distance," UMBC Economics Department Working Papers 13-05, UMBC Department of Economics.
    14. Mohamed Toukabri & Maher Toukabri, 2023. "Football Industry Accounting as a Social and Organizational Practice: from the Implementation of the CSR Process to Integrated Reporting," Systemic Practice and Action Research, Springer, vol. 36(5), pages 725-753, October.
    15. Nicolas Scelles & Stefan Szymanski & Nadine Dermit-Richard, 2018. "Insolvency in French Soccer," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 19(5), pages 603-624, June.
    16. Pamela Wicker & John C. Whitehead & Bruce K. Johnson & Daniel S. Mason, 2017. "The effect of sporting success and management failure on attendance demand in the Bundesliga: a revealed and stated preference travel cost approach," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(52), pages 5287-5295, November.
    17. Dominik Schreyer & Sascha L. Schmidt & Benno Torgler, 2019. "Football Spectator No-Show Behavior," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 20(4), pages 580-602, May.
    18. Budzinski, Oliver & Kunz-Kaltenhäuser, Philipp, 2020. "Promoting or restricting competition? - The 50plus1-rule in German football," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 141, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    19. Vizcaíno, Marcos & Chousa, Juan P., 2016. "Analyzing the influence of the funds' support on Tobin's q using SEM and fsQCA," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 2118-2124.
    20. Ariela Caglio & Sebastien Laffitte & Donato Masciandaro & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2023. "Has financial fair play changed European football?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1952, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

    More about this item


    Scottish football; configuration analysis; boundary objects; supporter ownership.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • M49 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Other
    • Z21 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - Industry Studies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hwe:cfidps:1601. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Colin Miller (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.