Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at
Social & Cultural Geography
ISSN: (Print) (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rscg20
‘To us it’s still Boundary Park’: fan discourses on
the corporate (re)naming of football stadia
Leah Gillooly, Dominic Medway, Gary Warnaby & Stuart Roper
To cite this article: Leah Gillooly, Dominic Medway, Gary Warnaby & Stuart Roper (2021): ‘To
us it’s still Boundary Park’: fan discourses on the corporate (re)naming of football stadia, Social &
Cultural Geography, DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2021.1910990
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2021.1910990
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa
UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis
Published online: 04 Apr 2021.
Submit your article to this journal
View related articles
View Crossmark data
‘To us it’s still Boundary Park’: fan discourses on the corporate
(re)naming of football stadia
, Dominic Medway
, Gary Warnaby
and Stuart Roper
Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK;
Institute of Place Management, Manchester
Metropolitan University, Manchester;
Huddersﬁeld Business School, University of Huddersﬁeld,
This paper explores how the corporate (re)naming of football stadia
and their urban environs is negotiated through fans’ toponymic
discourses and associated commemoration. Critical toponymy
research emphasises oppositional toponymic tensions between
sovereign authorities and citizens, which can result in competing
inscriptions of space. Adopting a quasi-ethnographic approach, we
reveal a more complex picture by exploring the variegated topony-
mic discourses of football fans. The ndings demonstrate intricate
entanglements in how fans reluctantly accept a corporate stadium
name, yet also actively resist it through counter-performative utter-
ances, often imbued with commemorative intent. Alternatively, fans
passively ignore a corporate stadium name, using a former toponym
in quotidian and habitual speech. We conclude by considering the
implications of these ndings for the inuence of corporate power in
urban toponymic inscription.
“Para nosotros sigue siendo Boundary Park”:
discursos de los acionados sobre la (re)
denominación corporativa de los estadios de fútbol
Este artículo explora cómo la (re) denominación corporativa de los
estadios de fútbol y sus entornos urbanos se negocia a través de los
discursos toponímicos de los acionados y la conmemoración aso-
ciada. La investigación de la toponimia crítica enfatiza las tensiones
toponímicas de oposición entre las autoridades soberanas y los ciuda-
danos, que pueden resultar en inscripciones en competencia del
espacio. Adoptando un enfoque cuasi-etnográco, revelamos una
imagen más compleja al explorar los variados discursos toponímicos
de los fanáticos del fútbol. Los hallazgos demuestran intrincados
enredos en la forma en que los fanáticos aceptan a regañadientes el
nombre de un estadio corporativo, pero también lo resisten activa-
mente a través de contra-declaraciones performativas, a menudo
imbuidas de una intención conmemorativa. Alternativamente, los
fanáticos ignoran pasivamente el nombre de un estadio corporativo,
Received 30 July 2019
Accepted 9 February 2021
CONTACT Leah Gillooly email@example.com Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK
Due to ethical conduct guidelines from the authors’ institutions, supporting data cannot be made openly available. To
comply with ethical approval requirements, all transcripts from message boards and group discussions will be destroyed
upon completion of the research project detailed in this article.
SOCIAL & CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any med-
ium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
utilizando un topónimo anterior en el habla cotidiana y habitual.
Concluimos considerando las implicaciones de estos hallazgos para
la inuencia del poder corporativo en la inscripción toponímica
« Pour nous, c’est toujours Boundary Park »:
commentaires de supporters sur le naming des
stades de football
Cet article étudie comment la pratique de parrainage qui consiste à
donner des noms de marque aux stades de football et à leur
environnement urbain est négociée à travers les commentaires
toponymiques des supporters et les commémorations associées.
La recherche toponymique critique met l’accent sur les tensions
toponymiques d’opposition entre les autorités souveraines et les
citoyens, qui peuvent avoir pour résultat des inscriptions spatiales
conictuelles. En adoptant une approche quasi-ethnographique,
nous révélons une réalité plus complexe avec un examen de divers
commentaires toponymiques des supporters. Les résultats
présentent des enchevêtrements compliqués dans la façon dont
les supporters acceptent à contrecœur le naming commercial du
stade, mais lui résistent aussi de manière active avec des propos
contre-performatifs, souvent imprégnés d’intentions
commémoratives. Les supporters ignorent aussi passivement le
nom de marque attribué au stade et utilisent un ancien toponyme
dans leurs conversations quotidiennes. Nous concluons en exami-
nant les implications de nos constatations pour l’inuence du par-
tenariat dans l’inscription toponymique urbaine.
Football stadia and their environs have meaning within society: as meeting points for
locally embedded fan communities and sites for fans’ collective celebration and disap-
pointment over team progress (Edensor & Millington, 2010); as tourist destinations
(Ramshaw & Gammon, 2005); and potentially as a nexus for wider urban regeneration
and economic development (Bulley, 2002). Football stadia names are also toponyms
(Light & Young, 2015); and selling their naming rights to corporate sponsors renders
stadia, and the places they represent, as spatialised artefacts.
In 2019, 34 out of 92 English football league stadia bore an ocial corporate toponym
(Football Ground Guide, 2019), reecting Vuolteenaho and Kolamo's (2012) observation
that ‘English soccerscapes have been lately (re-)textualised as “landscape advertise-
ments”’ (p. 145). Such toponymic sponsorship has been articulated as ‘selling home’
(Boyd, 2000), and a form of ‘symbolic violence’ that can disenfranchise fans by ‘reprodu-
cing social inequalities and the exclusion of particular groups and stakeholders’, as well as
presenting ‘a growing threat to [the] public memory of places of many kinds’ (Light &
Young, 2015, pp. 440–441). This reects wider concerns over toponymic privatisation
within urban space (Berg, 2011; Medway & Warnaby, 2014; Rose-Redwood, 2011),
2L. GILLOOLY ET AL.
signaling an erosion of more ‘democratic’ place values, as bets the ‘corporate seduction’
(Peck & Tickell, 2002, p. 393) of neoliberal agendas.
Despite extensive research on the geographies of sport (for a multi-sport overview see
Koch, 2017; for specic US sports, see Alderman et al., 2003; Wise & Kirby, 2020), and
specically football (Baker, 2018; Conner, 2014; Lawrence, 2016), there is only limited
examination of the names of the venues in which these activities are, quite literally, played
out. In relation to football stadia naming, such work (see Church & Penny, 2013;
Vuolteenaho & Kolamo, 2012; and Medway et al., 2019, on which this paper builds) is
grounded in critical toponymy (Rose-Redwood et al., 2010). Other work within the market-
ing discipline has addressed the corporate (re)naming of sporting venues, but typically
focuses on sponsorship eectiveness (Chen & Zhang, 2011; Eddy, 2014; Haan & Shank, 2004;
Woisetschläger et al., 2014).
We move beyond this previous research by seeking to understand how the corporate
(re)naming of three English football stadia is negotiated through fan discourses. A key
question concerns the extent to which this represents a neoliberalisation of urban space
that threatens the coherence and topophilic embeddedness of football communities. Our
focus on fans is important: for them the ‘homes associated with football teams such as
stadia can be seen as spiritual... [and] signicant space[s]’ (Baker, 2018, p. 189), and as Light
and Young (2015) note, little is known about how these (re)naming practices ‘are absorbed,
consumed or resisted by fans’ (p. 440). Such enquiry also relates to ongoing debates in
critical geographies of sport – specically how ‘grassroots’ developments may ‘resist various
elements of the neoliberal, globalized sporting world’ (Jansson & Koch, 2017, p. 242).
We begin by outlining relevant critical toponymy debates, before detailing our study
context and method. Empirical ndings, relating to fan discourses of toponymic accep-
tance, resistance and persistence, and toponymic commemoration, are presented. This
reveals a complex and variable picture of toponymic utterances, which aects fan
perceptions and understandings of stadia spaces and urban environs. We conclude by
discussing implications relating to the neoliberalisation of urban space through topony-
2. Relevant debates in critical toponymy
Since the early 1990s, toponymic inquiry has taken a critical turn (Berg & Vuolteenaho, 2009;
Rose-Redwood, 2011; Rose-Redwood et al., 2010). Within this work, there are three inter-
connected strands of analysis that are salient to our study: toponyms as (i) political practice,
(ii) commemorative devices, and (iii) commodied entities.
2.1 Toponyms as political practice
Critical toponymy literature suggests hegemonic actors/institutions assign toponyms to
promote ‘political legitimacy’ (Cardoso & Meijers, 2017), and/or inscribe space with socio-
political or historical values that typically support ruling elites (Azaryahu, 1996; Rose-
Redwood, 2011; Wideman & Masuda, 2018; Yeoh, 2009). For football clubs and stadia,
those elites typically comprise club owners and directors. Where corporate names are
used as toponyms, the dissemination of brand values can also be a factor motivating
SOCIAL & CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY 3
However, individuals and groups can resist (or seemingly resist) toponymic imposition.
This process can be relatively passive, either by ignoring a newly imposed toponym and/
or continuing to use one assigned previously out of habit and the ‘everyday relationships’
people have with place names (Light & Young, 2014, p. 672). By contrast, resistance might
be more active, with alternative, unauthorised toponyms, or dierent pronunciations,
purposely employed and/or campaigned for (Alderman, 2002a; Azaryahu, 1996; Kearns &
Berg, 2002; Yeoh, 2009).
Alderman (2008) presents active toponymic resistance as evidence that place names
can ‘be appropriated by marginalised stakeholders who wish to have a greater voice in
determining what vision of the past is inscribed into the landscape’ (p. 197). Similarly,
Rose-Redwood (2008) argues this indicates the ‘limits of sovereign authority over regimes
of spatial inscription’ (p. 875). Thus, if toponymic inscription is a performative act by
political institutions, then active, conscious resistance constitutes an example of counter-
performativity, which ‘can also have liberating eects’ (Wideman & Masuda, 2018, p. 1).
2.2 Toponyms as commemorative devices
Toponyms can also be used as commemorative devices, involving their semantic anchoring to
the memory of a person, historical event(s), or even a previous toponym. This commemorative
functionality draws strongly on autobiographical place memories (Medway & Warnaby, 2014;
see also, Hoelscher & Alderman, 2004), which can be used by sovereign authorities to
capitalise on certain historical associations that may help embed a particular socio-political
worldview into a cityscape (Azaryahu, 1996; Yeoh, 2009). Sovereign authorities can also exert
power by deciding on the spatial extent of commemorative toponyms, ‘thereby enacting
narrow social and spatial denitions of citizenship that restructure the scale and conditions
under which one’s voice matters in place naming’ (Alderman & Inwood, 2013, p. 228).
Additionally, toponyms can be decommemorated, in an attempt to expunge events/
individuals from collective civic/national memory. For example, street names in Bucharest
commemorating a socialist past were changed by city authorities (Light & Young, 2014).
Similarly, the Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium in Moscow, was renamed Luzhniki
Stadium in 1992 following the collapse of communism (Lisi, 2018). However, such acts of
toponymic decommemoration relating to football stadia, or sporting venues more gen-
erally, have not attracted focused academic attention. Ocially decommemorated topo-
nyms can often remain part of everyday speech and citizens’ lexicon of place signication.
In Bucharest, therefore, socialist era street names are still used by some citizens, though
this is largely through habit rather than conscious (re)commemorative intent (Light &
Young, 2014). Clearly, toponymic commemoration is a complex issue, reecting an innate
polysemy in place naming practices and individual and societal responses to these
2.3 Toponyms as commodied entities
Existing research has examined toponymic commodication by governments to boost
tourism spend (Shoval, 2013), and the transaction of toponymic opportunities as trade-
able commodities (Karimi, 2016; Rose-Redwood et al., 2019). Another trend is the renam-
ing of urban space for attempted economic gain; for example, by property developers
4L. GILLOOLY ET AL.
attempting to rename districts to boost land/property values (Medway & Warnaby, 2014),
or by prioritising capital accumulation over social justice in the re-naming of streets
(Brasher et al., 2020). A critical aspect of such ‘top-down’, politically formulated acts is
how they aect people’s geographical understandings and perceptions by undermining
notions of a sense of place and ‘home’. Unsurprisingly, therefore, attempts at toponymic
commodication are sometimes successfully resisted by local communities, emphasising
the limits of neoliberalism (Kearns & Lewis, 2019).
What makes toponymic commodication dierent for sporting stadia is the often
direct use of a commercial name. As indicated above, existing work in the marketing
literature has examined this phenomenon, but is largely concerned with investigating the
success of sponsorship strategies, rather than analysing fans’ reactions to corporate
stadium (re)naming in detail. Yet there is evidence that football fans can strongly resist
a new corporate toponym being applied to their club’s stadium (Crompton & Howard,
2003; Edwards, 2012). Part of this resistance may be explained by Bale’s (2003, p. 14)
contention that ‘sport is one of the few things that binds people to place simply through
ascription’. Thus, changing the name of a sporting venue could be seen as an attack on
citizens’ place ties, highlighting the complex socio-political and spatial entanglements to
be uncovered around the practice of corporate (re)naming for sports stadia.
3. Context and method
We examine three contrasting cases of English football clubs that have adopted
a corporate stadium name within the last two decades. These are Manchester City,
which plays in the Premier League (tier one of professional football), and Bolton
Wanderers and Oldham Athletic from League Two
(tier four). Manchester City played
at Maine Road from 1923–2003, before moving to a new stadium, originally built for the
2002 Commonwealth Games. When construction began in 1999 this stadium was referred
to as ‘Eastlands’ after the area of the city in which it is located, but as the Commonwealth
Games venue it ocially became the ‘City of Manchester Stadium’ (notwithstanding
Manchester City’s move there in 2003). In 2011, the club agreed a deal with stadium
owner Manchester City Council for control over the naming rights, leading to a ten-year
sponsorship from airline operator Etihad (Taylor, 2011).
In 1997, Bolton Wanderers moved to the newly built ‘Reebok Stadium’, having pre-
viously played at Burnden Park since 1895. The Reebok Stadium was renamed ‘Macron
Stadium’ in 2014, after an Italian sportswear brand; and in 2018 it became the ‘University
of Bolton Stadium’. Oldham Athletic’s Boundary Park stadium dates from 1899, but in
2014 was renamed ‘SportsDirect.com Park’, following the signing of a ve-year naming
rights agreement with this retail company. However, in March 2018 the club announced
a renegotiated deal with Sports Direct to reinstate the former stadium name of Boundary
Park (Keay, 2018). Although this latter development occurred after our empirical data
collection, it is considered in the ndings below.
The three clubs are located within the relatively small geographic area of northwest
England, yet capture dierent contextual nuances. Manchester City represents a renaming
shortly after a stadium relocation; Bolton underwent a naming of a new stadium (which has
subsequently undergone two further renamings); while Oldham represents a renaming of
SOCIAL & CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY 5
an existing and long-established stadium. The clubs were purposively sampled to explore
these dierent manifestations of (re)naming within a dened region.
Our research adopted a quasi-ethnographic approach, incorporating substantive pri-
mary data collection. This aligns with other recent critical toponymy studies that have
engaged directly with citizens to examine how they use, or do not use, local place names
within everyday speech (e.g. Light & Young, 2014; Rose-Redwood et al., 2019). First, over
several weeks we initiated and participated in (overtly as researchers) threads relating to
stadium (re)naming within online fan message boards for both Bolton Wanderers and
Manchester City (after seeking permission from moderators). We were unable to obtain
entrée to any message boards for Oldham fans. Relevant discussions and threads were
saved as Word documents. Second, matches at all three clubs were attended, with
observations recorded in eld notes. This proved useful for examining the role of stadium
names in collective forms of fan celebration such as chants and songs. Third, recognising
the power of walking as a means of seeing space dierently, and beyond the framing
‘aesthetic control’ of regulated urban design agendas (Edensor, 2008), the immediate
locales around the three stadia were walked. Here, we used eldnotes to capture any
toponymic connections or rifts between current and former stadia names, and those of
proximate streets/buildings. Fourth, group discussions (comprising four to six individuals)
were held with self-identied loyal fans, incorporating broad-based question/topic
prompts about corporate stadia (re)naming. An extra group discussion occurred with
Oldham fans to compensate for a lack of message board insights. Discussions lasted
approximately one hour and took place at mutually agreed venues. Recruitment was
through supporters’ association representatives and advertisements posted on fan mes-
sage boards and social media, and researchers’ personal contacts. Participants were
predominantly male (14 males and four females), reecting this gender bias amongst
English football fans (Caudwell, 2011; EFL, 2015), and ranged from 20–69 years in age. All
fans dened the team they supported as being ‘local’, typically clarifying this by the fact
they, or their parents, were born in – and/or that they lived in, or near – the area
surrounding their club’s location. Discussions were recorded and transcribed.
Analysis began from the position of viewing all data as forms of text, which were
subjected to an iterative form of thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). This involved
building up preliminary themes after coding the message board data and then reorganis-
ing, revising and modifying these following the coding of group discussion data and eld
notes. The process was rst undertaken independently by each researcher. Subsequently,
acknowledging the importance of conrmability in qualitative research (Lincoln & Guba,
1982), the authors collectively reviewed, negotiated and, where appropriate, merged their
independent interpretations, thereby allowing for further thematic modication. We
initially avoided engaging with ocial club representatives to ensure that it was primarily
fan discourses that surfaced. However, following analysis of fan-related data, three semi-
structured interviews were conducted with senior executives from each club to contex-
tualise our identied themes in terms of club policies and priorities.
4. Fan discourses of toponymic acceptance
For newly built stadia, where no previous name exists, fans appear willing to adopt
a corporate stadium name as they have minimal connection with the venue itself (Chen
6L. GILLOOLY ET AL.
& Zhang, 2011), and no memories attached to its physical space. This supports wider
evidence showing how European sporting venues built since 1990 are more likely to be
named after a corporate sponsor than those that are longer established (Vuolteenaho
et al., 2019). As one Manchester City fan explained, ‘I have no issues with the naming of
the stadium after a sponsor as there is very little history here’ (Manchester City fan e).
Similarly, a Bolton fan noted: ‘To be honest, I didn’t mind because it was a totally new
stadium, we had no feelings about it’ (Bolton fan a).
This toponymic acceptance, or perhaps even indierence, appears fueled by money.
The same Bolton fan continued:
It’s money for the club, it’s as simple as that . . . At the end of the day Macron will pay good
money to have their name up in lights like Reebok did, up on the stadium, so it helps the club
(Bolton fan a).
Another Manchester City fan suggested, ‘You can call it [the stadium] what you want’
(Manchester City fan c), provided this came with a signicant inux of sponsorship funds.
Even for Oldham fans, whose club had occupied Boundary Park since 1899, the promise of
corporate investment elicited a degree of acceptance of the new SportsDirect.com Park
The way I see it, it’s two players a season. Two young players a season it pays for (Oldham fan f).
Others suggested that where stadium (re)naming deals are concerned, clubs should ‘take
the money and run’ (Oldham fan b), noting that: ‘It doesn’t matter what the ocial name
is . . . If someone oers me a million pounds, they can call it what they want’ (Oldham fan
d). Here, notions of the exchange-value of a stadium name (Rose-Redwood et al., 2010), in
terms of what fans are willing to trade it for, are prominent.
By contrast, accepting sponsorship money for stadium naming rights was sometimes
presented in an alternative light, as a concession made by fans in the face of over-
whelming and inevitable market forces within the game:
People moan about it, but we’re powerless aren’t we? We need the money that much. We
would have let anybody come in and give us money to sponsor the ground . . . And that’s
unfortunately what football’s come to (Oldham fan i).
In this choice between ‘reality and ideality’ (Chen & Zhang, 2011, p. 107), fans rationalise
any displeasure in accepting corporate money with an attitude of reluctant pragmatism:
It’s almost sad that we’re not as angry about it . . . It’s a sad indictment of what the game’s
become; it’s all about the money (Oldham fan h).
This evidences two distinctive and countervailing perspectives. On the one hand, fans
construct discourses of toponymic acceptance in which they project themselves and their
club as opportunistic and canny recipients of corporate ‘free cash’ (Oldham fan b).
Alternatively, they portray themselves as victims of corporate power; drawn into accepting
sponsorship money and associated toponyms in order to remain competitive in football,
and thus becoming ‘a pawn of this Borg-like moneyed monolith’ (Boyd, 2000, p. 334). These
discourses resonate with two broader analyses connected to the contemporary game. The
former relates to fan power and resilience in the face of adversity (Parker & Stuart, 1997), and
a deeply ingrained optimism connected to team performance. The latter considers the
SOCIAL & CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY 7
damaging inuence of big business in football and the fact that the game has changed
irrevocably, and potentially for the worse, through the ‘corporate destruction of football
communities’ (Brown, 2007, p. 624). In this regard, fans have little inuence over the choice
of a corporate stadium name. Indeed, there was no contextual evidence from our interviews
with club executives that fans were genuinely consulted on such matters:
If we felt that the sponsor was a good t for the club . . . we wouldn’t go out and consult
fans . . . because we would take a view on whether it was suitable or not. That’s our job to
make that decision (Football club executive, identity anonymised).
This absence of fan involvement conveys a message that they are just paying customers
(Boyd, 2000), with their degree of acceptance of a corporate stadium name a mere
reactive response to a decision over which they have little control. Despite this, we later
propose how fans may, paradoxically, maintain a signicant stake in the toponymic
utterances and accompanying discourses that help dene the production of space in
relation to their club and stadium.
5. Resistance and persistence
When toponyms are commodied their incorporation, or lack thereof, into everyday
speech becomes a critical point of focus. Thus, Rose-Redwood et al. (2010, after Rose-
Redwood, 2008) note that, ‘if enough people refuse to recognize a commodied name,
the ocial toponym itself may actually lose some of its own performative force’ (p. 466).
This identies toponymic resistance as a conscious, purposeful act with counter-
performative intent. Oldham fans, for example, recounted how they knowingly avoided
using the name SportsDirect.com Park. One described it as a ‘media name’ (Oldham fan f)
that is ‘not recognised’ by fans and local residents who continue to use the Boundary Park
toponym. This discourse of overt resistance was repeatedly articulated:
A million pounds is not a little amount of money . . . We accept it to a degree, but we’re still
never going to change that name. To us it’s still Boundary Park and will always be Boundary
Park (Oldham fan c).
Other Oldham fans framed this toponymic resistance as a power struggle between
themselves and the ‘they’ of club and corporate authorities:
They can call it what they want. Nobody here acknowledges the [SportsDirect.com Park]
name (Oldham fan f; our emphasis).
However, the extent to which such resistance is down to conscious counter-
performativity, as opposed to the persistence of deeply ingrained habits of speech,
echoing the work of Light and Young (2014), is not always clear. As one fan explained:
I think to the hard-core fans that go there every week, it’s going to be Boundary Park (Oldham
fan d; our emphasis).
Building on notions of toponymic persistence, as opposed to actively formed resistance,
the Boundary Park name appears so woven into quotidian patterns of discourse within
the locale, that the new stadium name is a weak and ineective currency of place
8L. GILLOOLY ET AL.
I got a taxi to the game last week . . . I said, ‘Can you take me to SportsDirect.com Park?’ And
he went, ‘What? Boundary Park mate? Yeah, no worries my friend’ . . . Nobody acknowledges it
(Oldham fan f).
These persistent habitual utterances of the Boundary Park toponym are, perhaps, unsur-
prising considering the sponsor’s lack of leverage of the corporate name. At the time of
research (two years since the renaming deal), the stadium bore only one small sign
referencing the SportsDirect.com brand over the stadium shop. No further eorts were
made by Sports Direct to activate their naming rights prior to the club announcing the
reinstatement of the Boundary Park name in 2018. Fans’ lack of engagement with the
SportsDirect.com Park stadium name was clearly important in arriving at this decision.
Indeed, the new (early 2018) owner of the club is reported as saying:
After speaking to Trust Oldham
and supporters, it was a priority for me to look at the options
surrounding the stadium name and how we could go back to our traditions and heritage
Fans from Manchester City and Bolton demonstrated little evidence of conscious, coun-
ter-performative resistance to existing corporate naming rights deals.
any use of former stadium names was largely due to the persistence of habits in everyday
speech, which were typically governed by the surrounding social context. Thus,
Manchester City fans identied situations when they would refer to a matchday visit to
the Etihad as ‘going to Maine Road,’ usually when talking to family and friends who would
know what they mean. Bolton fans, by contrast, acknowleged the continued use of the
former Reebok corporate name, but this was because Macron had failed to register with
non-fans from the Bolton area as a toponym:
It’s for everyone else . . . isn’t it? We [Bolton fans] go week in week out, so you get used to
saying, ‘Oh we’re going to the Macron’. But obviously people don’t go to the stadium very
often so they don’t know it’s a change (Bolton fan a).
In fact, the Reebok toponym is now so embedded in the everyday discourse of Bolton
citizens that it has become a shorthand for an area surrounding the Bolton Wanderers
It’s surprising how many people when they’re going shopping in the Middlebrook [the retail
park adjoining the stadium] say, ‘We’re going shopping at the Reebok’ (Bolton fan c).
In summary, whilst evidence exists of counter-performative resistance by Oldham fans
against a corporate stadium name, habit and inertia in discourse has also contributed to
the continued use of the original Boundary Park toponym amongst fans and non-fans alike.
Furthermore, this toponymic persistence may play an even greater role in explaining any
ongoing utterances of former stadium toponyms amongst both Bolton and Manchester City
fans and non-fans. Woisetschläger et al. (2014) appear to label any use of a previous stadium
name as a resistant act, but we would suggest this is an oversimplication. Rather, the
persistence of former toponyms emphasises that there may simply be a lack of interest,
concern or even knowledge about a stadium’s current name. This emulates Light and
Young's (2014) critique of academic scholarship’s assumed importance of the signicance
invested in street names by citizens, acknowledging that reactions to place names can be
‘rooted in more ambivalent and personal emotional geographies’ (p. 672). Such a view
SOCIAL & CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY 9
resonates with our ndings regarding the limited ability of new corporate stadium names to
be fully adopted within, and beyond, a club’s fan base; in turn, raising questions over the
performative limits of corporate power in football.
The evidence of Oldham fans’ stronger resistance to the corporate renaming of their
stadium also suggests that this kind of opposition escalates signicantly when it involves
a long-established venue. This may reect a spatial sedimentation of fans’ longstanding
individual and collective practices in and around older football grounds, and the consequent
development of a deeply-rooted sense of place that becomes intertwined with a given
stadium toponym. In this manner, ‘[t]he collective expressions performed in the historical,
cultural setting of the stadium . . . sustain the relations between people, and between people
and place’ (Edensor, 2015, p. 83). Supporting this contention, both Bolton and Manchester City
fans were vocal in their imagined resistance to the renaming of the original grounds from
which they had moved, and identied that had this happened their reactions ‘would have
been a dierent story’ (Manchester City fan i). Clearly, there is a strong interplay here between
time and space, and the fact that the passing of the former can help anchor fans’ perceptions
and understandings of the latter. As one Manchester City fan noted: ‘I wouldn’t have been
happy at all had it been Maine Road that would have been changed . . . because we were there
so long’ (Manchester City fan a). Similarly, for Oldham Athletic, where an ocial corporate
renaming of an existing stadium has occurred, justication of the continued use of the
Boundary Park toponym was framed as relating to its temporal tenacity as a signier of
a xed point on the earth: ‘We’ve not moved, so Boundary Park will always be Boundary Park’
(Oldham fan b).
6. Practices of (and perspectives on) toponymic commemoration
Edensor (2015) emphasises how the accretion and layering of fans’ spatially-rooted
memories within their stadium form an important part of their identication with
a football club. Accordingly, the removal of a former stadium name could be perceived
by fans as an act of ocial toponymic decommemoration, and a disruption of the place-
specic memories they associate with their club. This is arguably a case where the lure of
sponsorship money is prioritised over a club’s distinctiveness (Reysen et al., 2012) and
fans’ identity (Woisetschläger et al., 2014). It is a situation that may be further exacerbated
when corporate stadia names are short-lived, or exhibit banal interchangeability as
sponsorship deals come and go.
Aware of fans’ potentially negative views of corporate (re)naming, club authorities
(working with developers) can make eorts to mitigate these by invoking the deliberate
commemoration of former toponyms. For example, a road running adjacent to the current
University of Bolton Stadium is named ‘Burnden Way’, after the former Burnden Park
ground (Medway et al., 2019). This adds another strand to extensive work examining the
use of commemorative street naming in writing and reinforcing narratives of identity within
urban space (e.g. Alderman, 2000; Azaryahu, 1996; Rose-Redwood, 2008; Yeoh, 2009). The
Burnden Way road name can therefore be interpreted as a performative act of spatial
inscription by sovereign authorities (Rose-Redwood et al., 2010); it serves as an intertextual
bridge for fans, facilitating recall and celebration of former club glories, and supporting
notions of a ‘memory place’ (Boyd, 2000, p. 330). As one Bolton fan elaborated in relation to
Burnden Way: ‘It’s keeping the history, bringing the history with it’ (Bolton fan a).
10 L. GILLOOLY ET AL.
Ocially sanctioned toponymic commemoration is also evidenced in club-
approved souvenirs. For example, in Oldham Athletic’s shop we purchased
a nostalgic keyring depicting the original Boundary Park name. Ironically, this item
was being sold (at the time of eldwork) by the stadium naming rights holder (and
operator of the club shop) SportsDirect.com. However, the Oldham Athletic executive
interviewed emphasised that the keyring was less about the club wishing to com-
memorate a former toponym, and more a case of the corporate sponsor capitalising
on fans’ nostalgia by merchandising what it perceived to be commercially viable
This focus on commercial motivations underpinning the toponymic commemoration
invoked by organisations was also witnessed during eldwork, notably when we queued
for pies at ‘Maine Road Chippy’ before a Manchester City home match. The premises were
outside the curtilage of the stadium in an old Victorian building. From here we looked
directly across at Manchester City’s current ground, illuminated with one-metre high blue
lettering declaring ‘ETIHAD STADIUM’ – historic and new toponyms directly juxtaposed.
Here was a business keen to leverage fans’ valorisation of the former stadium name to
help attract match-day custom.
In other instances, organisational commemoration of former stadia names is more
altruistic. For example, on the site of Bolton Wanderers’ former Burnden Park ground
is an ASDA supermarket. The grocery store reects the footballing history of its
location through its name, ‘ASDA Burnden Park’, along with large photographs inside
showing scenes from the old stadium and a plaque remembering a crush of fans
there in 1946 that claimed 33 lives. This helps position the former ground as
a memory place within the realm of everyday life (Azaryahu, 1996; Dickinson, 1997),
and highlights the importance of locational authenticity in toponymic commemora-
tion. Critically, fans do not perceive the ‘ASDA Burnden Park’ name as being commer-
cially oriented. Rather, it appears to be viewed as a sensitive acknowledgement of the
interplay between the surrounding community and the heritage of the local team,
and the way both are woven into the fabric of the place on which a supermarket now
stands. As one fan states: ‘You go to the ASDA there, you’re back at Burnden Park
aren’t you?’ (Bolton fan c). This echoes the work of Hague and Mercer (1998), who
demonstrate how a football club can act as important source material for the con-
struction and maintenance of a locally-rooted and shared ‘geographical memory’.
At the matches we attended, visual manifestation of toponymic commemoration by
fans within stadia was lacking. An exception was a Bolton match, where we witnessed
a fan’s banner declaring ‘Farewell Burnden Park’. Conversely, we regularly heard refer-
ences to former stadia names in songs and chants. At Bolton matches fans sang the song
Burnden Aces, which references the club’s original home and its location on Manchester
(Manny) Road with the lines:
. . . All the lads and lasses, smiles upon their faces,
Walking down the Manny Road to see the Burnden Aces.
In examining this song’s continued popularity, some fans were keen to emphasise its
commemorative purpose, positioning it as a cultural artefact that has emerged over time
and is imbued with meaning and memories:
SOCIAL & CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY 11
Burnden Aces are a dierent time . . . When they’re singing about the Burnden Aces they’ll be
thinking about a specic era, specic players, and it’s not yet associated with the players that
were at the Reebok (Bolton fan a).
Other Bolton fans presented the singing of Burnden Aces as being less about commem-
oration, and more of a consciously performed act of toponymic resistance that knowingly
foregrounds the memories associated with Burnden Park against the lack of meaning in
more recent stadium names:
History started a long time before the Premier League and a very long time before the
Reebok. The aliation of the song isn’t to a footwear/clothing company, so you’re not going
to change Burnden to Reebok/Macron/QuickQuid or whoever – that’d be plain stupid (Bolton
In the Etihad Stadium, the rst verse of the popular We are City chant of Manchester City
fans identied their former Maine Road ground as home. There were suggestions that its
persistence since the club’s move from the former stadium was less a reection of
commemorative value, and more a result of habits in speech, and the fact that the We
are City chant was too deeply rooted within the collective psyche of the fan base to be
It’s historical. That was sung when we were at Maine Road, and so you just continue it . . .
there’s no Etihad song (Manchester City fan a).
The absence of an Etihad song also highlights the temporary nature of corporate stadium
names (Boyd, 2000), suppressing the impetus for fans to devise chants and songs that
incorporate them. As one fan noted: ‘Stadiums now are changing their name so readily
that . . . you start singing a song and the next thing it’s gone’ (Bolton fan c).
A further layer of complexity is added by the fact that our attendance at Bolton’s home
matches was always accompanied by the Burnden Aces song being broadcast over the
public address system immediately pre-match, along with projected images of past
players and former club glories. Similarly, at Manchester City’s home matches we wit-
nessed the playing of Boys in Blue – a song referencing the Maine Road name – in the
match build-up, accompanied by footage of historic games (some at the Maine Road
stadium) on a giant screen. In both instances most of the home crowd joined in. These
broadcasts appear to deliver ocially sanctioned versions of toponymic history and
commemoration that are willingly repeated by fans, either with counter-performative
intent, or through the habit of match-day rituals. We propose that these potential
subversions of the current stadium name are acceptable to club authorities because
they are controllable within stadium space, and for a time-bounded period. For Bolton
fans, making the Burnden toponym a focus for commemoration in song also circumvents
use of the stadium name associated with the sponsor prior to Macron, and any ‘corporate
awkwardness’ that might arise from this – in eect, a tacit decomemmoration of the
Reebok toponym. The purposeful playing of Burnden Aces at the start of matches there-
fore delivers an institutional steer to fans’ toponymic and commemorative utterances, yet
in so doing perversely encourages the use of counter-speech in the form of the non-
corporate, original stadium name.
The above discussion demonstrates that the strength of emotional ties between fans
and club creates ideal conditions for the persistence of intertextual meaning embedded in
12 L. GILLOOLY ET AL.
the commemoration of past stadium names. As well as being evident in ocial and
institutionally dened spatial ordering devices such as street names, or the names of
independent business premises, we have shown that there is also potential for toponymic
commemoration to emerge from fan sources in the form of culturally grounded, fan-
based artefacts such as songs and chants. All of these acts simultaneously draw upon and
reinforce fans’ collective sense of club history, which itself may be linked to the particular
geography of English football. Specically, clubs and their fans often have strong con-
nections to a given locale and the unique built environment of a stadium and its environs
(Edensor, 2015; Edensor & Millington, 2010). Thus, spatially-rooted memories are both
products of toponymic commemoration and essential resources for it, demonstrating the
importance of the intergenerational transfer of knowledge and understanding about club
histories between supporters. This was illustrated in our group discussion with Bolton
fans, who talked about how younger supporters will ask older family and friends about
the Burnden Aces song, thereby facilitating the endurance of this historical point of
reference. Such ndings echo work on music fans, who have been shown to preserve,
pass on and co-create memories through grati (Alderman, 2002b) and the naming of
businesses (Gunderman & Harty, 2017). Whatever the focus, it is evident that fans can be
active co-creators of particular cultural geographies; inscribing memories of clubs, stadia,
bands or artists into their everyday cultural landscapes and the places they visit.
Conversely, because fans’ toponymic commemoration is so evidently reliant on inter-
textual memory and interpretation, the commemorative power of older stadium names
may weaken over time. This will occur as new generations of fans emerge without personal
or inherited recall of former stadia and/or previous toponyms – a semiotic decoupling of the
textual signier from its historical and locationally-signied referent (Azaryahu, 1996).
Moreover, such a reading frames toponymic commemoration as a consciously performed
act, reliant on the intertextual cognisance of those undertaking and receiving this perfor-
mance, without which any spoken, sung or written use of a former toponym arguably
moves from an act of commemoration to a mere free-oating signier, embedded in the
routines of everyday discourse. This echoes Light and Young's (2014) suggestions that what
might pass as the societal contestation of new toponyms may be as much down to habit/
inertia in using older toponymic forms as it is to active toponymic resistance. Equally, we
suggest that what might pass as commemoration of former toponyms may also result from
similar habitual inuences. Furthermore, distinguishing between toponymic resistance,
toponymic habit/inertia or persistence, and toponymic commemoration becomes challen-
ging, and largely down to a subjective evaluation of the contextualising discourses in which
toponymic utterances are embedded.
7. Discussion and conclusion
Critical toponymy literature has emphasised some broad binary tensions in toponymic
practices and how these inscribe space. On the one hand, signicant work acknowledges
performative limits to regimes of toponymic spatial inscription enacted by sovereign
authorities. This suggests that ocial toponyms are constantly open to unocial versions
and ‘myriad counter performances’ (Rose-Redwood, 2008, p. 891), aligning with Thrift’s
(2003) assertion that the ‘fabric of space is so multifarious that there are always holes and
tears in which new forms of expression can come into being’ (p. 2023). Such arguments
SOCIAL & CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY 13
are rooted in notions of counter-memory (Foucault, 1977) and associated practices of
counter-speech (Butler, 1997). These provide the basis for consciously invoked perlocu-
tionary toponymic utterances that (re)signify space, and which may be intentionally
repeated or copied by multiple individuals. On the other hand, Light and Young (2014)
imply that toponymic counter-performance as an act of intentional contestation/deance
against ocial place naming practices might be overstated. Drawing on Edensor (2009)
and Du (2010), they identify how passive, unreexive and precognitive habits, routines
and inertia are important in the persistence of longstanding toponymic practices. In these
instances, everyday toponymic utterances might be misconstrued as purposeful and
active resistance to newly sanctioned place names.
Our investigation suggests that the interplay between ocial toponymic practices and
social actors is more multi-dimensional and inconsistent than previous work has indi-
cated. We surface intricate entanglements in how football fans accept, actively shun, or
passively ignore corporate stadium names; demonstrating that such actions can present
very dierent interpretations and understandings of stadium space, and its surrounding
and associated areas, across various time-space contexts.
At one level, fans’ acceptance of corporate stadium names is governed by whether
a stadium is newly built or long-established; and whether forfeiting the previous stadium
name is perceived as a good nancial deal for their club. Yet dig below the surface and
a more complex picture is revealed. Manchester City fans vacillate between public
acceptance of the Etihad name as a nancially pragmatic media reality, but revert to
more habitual naming practices in everyday speech with family and friends. However, this
is not, arguably, active resistance in which the old Maine Road name is consciously
counter-performed, rather it reects a situation in which the Etihad name appears unable
to dislodge the semiotic dominance of longstanding toponymic practices.
For Oldham fans, it was dicult to draw a clear line between their active resistance to
a new corporate stadium name and the persistence of ingrained routines of semantic
memory relating to the original toponym. This is reective of fans' continued attendance
at the same stadium, which has acquired little visible evidence of the SportsDirect.com
naming rights sponsor. Here, toponymic resignication is realised primarily as a form of
corporate rhetoric, rather than a lived spatial reality – a view reinforced by the fact that the
club shop still sells memorabilia referencing Boundary Park, and outside the stadium the
street name ‘Boundary Park Road’ remains unchanged. These circumstances make it
easier for Oldham fans to appear deantly resistant towards the new corporate toponym,
whilst also accepting any money it brings. Furthermore, the fact that fans have not had to
signicantly alter their match-day geographies and mobilities to adjust to a new ground
may have helped maintain stability in their toponymic discourse.
Many Bolton fans continue to refer to their current stadium as ‘the Reebok’. This appears
to be driven by habit, coupled with the fact that the Macron name failed to gain signicant
traction amongst the wider community. Yet although the Reebok toponym is still regularly
uttered by Bolton fans when referring to their current stadium, it is not the name of the
club’s original home, but a corporate name used for 17 years between 1997 and 2014 –
a period when the club experienced some success in the Premier League. This suggests that
habit and inertia in toponymic utterances can also apply to former corporate stadia names,
particularly if they were around for long enough and during a period when a club performed
well on the pitch.
14 L. GILLOOLY ET AL.
Fans’ sense of club history and the importance attached to former stadium names
clearly plays a key role in toponymic commemoration, and it is easy to imagine how such
commemoration could be misconstrued as toponymic resistance. However, the fact that
the clubs studied also invoke historic toponymic commemoration (e.g. by renaming roads
or broadcasting matchday songs that reference former stadium names), without appear-
ing to jeopardise current naming rights sponsorship arrangements, indicates that such
commemorative activity has minimal bearing on whether the fan base nds a new
corporate name acceptable, or is resistant to it.
In conclusion, whilst corporate power in football may seem like an unstoppable force, it
does not necessarily follow that it will always reach into the spaces of fan communities, at
least where stadium names are concerned. Whilst fans sometimes use a corporate sta-
dium name, it is usually when it suits them to do so, highlighting that toponymic
geographies can be subtler than the imposition of top-down regimes of performative
spatial inscription, and a subsequent acquiescence or counter-performative resistance to
these. Consequently, the corporate appropriation of football space(s) occurs more on
fans’ terms than might initially be realised. Certainly, our analysis suggests that any
overtures of corporate involvement in football via toponymic inscription are potentially
undermined by fans’ unconscious, routinised and everyday acts of speech. Furthermore, if
these corporate spatial interventions move beyond an acceptable threshold, as witnessed
with Oldham Athletic and the change of the Boundary Park stadium name, then fans
appear to demonstrate a more conscious form of counter-performative, toponymic
resistance. A question remains as to where that acceptable threshold lies, and whether
it can be circumvented by the promise of corporate largesse.
In sum, we contend that concerns over the commodication of community space and
‘selling home’ (Boyd, 2000) via the corporate (re)naming of football stadia may be an
unwarranted panic over neoliberal creep. This does not deny that corporate involvement
in football can aect social geographies of the game in negative ways by, for example,
signicantly increasing ticket prices, or acting as a nancial catalyst for new stadia
developments, which can unsettle fans’ long-established match-day spatial routines
(Edensor & Millington, 2010). Nevertheless, we suggest a more optimistic outlook, and
that fans’ resilience may be underestimated. Certainly, the fans in our study have main-
tained a signicant and potentially controlling stake in the toponymic utterances and
accompanying discourses that help dene the political production of space in and around
their clubs. Personal, emotional and quotidian understandings of stadium spaces and
their environs cannot, it seems, be easily erased or usurped by corporate power.
Going forward, future work could consider the social and spatial implications of such
naming practices in relation to other sporting and entertainment venues, public buildings and
spaces, suggesting a rich eld of intersection between sports geographies, critical toponymy
and urban geography. In addition, our study has examined the variegated toponymic
discourses of self-dened loyal fans who see their team as being ‘local’. Further research
could therefore examine the potentially contrasting reactions to corporate stadium (re)nam-
ing amongst the increasingly globalised, non-local fan base of elite clubs like Manchester City.
Beyond sport, public reaction to commercially-driven name changes is being played out in
various urban contexts, including streets (Brasher et al., 2020; Karimi, 2016) and the buildings
of public institutions like schools and universities (Blocher, 2007; Drennan, 2012). The physical
and infrastructural fabric of cities should, therefore, be a key focus for ongoing research into
SOCIAL & CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY 15
the toponymic commodication of space and associated place identity. Such enquiries would
undoubtedly widen our understanding of the geosemiotic and political traction of corporate
toponyms in spatial inscription, delineation and wider placemaking activities.
1. Bolton Wanderers and Oldham Athletic have both been relegated from higher tiers since
eldwork took place.
2. The Oldham Athletic Supporters’ Trust.
3. An exception from the wider fan community is Manchester City supporter Ken Hursteld,
who campaigns for the Etihad Stadium to be called ‘Eastlands’ (www.eastlandsblue.co.uk).
This demonstrates that toponymic resistance can be an individual as well as a collective
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.
Dominic Medway http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6102-1716
Gary Warnaby http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6696-6671
Alderman, D. H. (2000). A street t for a king: Naming places and commemoration in the American
South. The Professional Geographer, 52(4), 672–684. https://doi.org/10.1111/0033-0124.00256
Alderman, D. H. (2002a). Street names as memorial arenas: The reputational politics of commem-
orating Martin Luther King Jr. in a Georgia county. Historical Geography, 30, 99–120.
Alderman, D. H. (2002b). Writing on the Graceland wall: On the importance of authorship in
pilgrimage landscapes. Tourism Recreation Research, 27(2), 27–33. https://doi.org/10.1080/
Alderman, D. H. (2008). Place, naming, and the interpretation of cultural landscapes. In B. Graham &
P. Howard (Eds.), The Ashgate research companion to heritage and identity (pp. 195–213).
Alderman, D. H., & Inwood, J. (2013). Street naming and the politics of belonging: Spatial injustices in
the toponymic commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Social & Cultural Geography, 14(2),
Alderman, D. H., Mitchell, P. W., Webb, J. T., & Hanak, D. (2003). Carolina thunder revisited: Toward
a transcultural view of Winston Cup racing. The Professional Geographer, 55(2), 238–249. https://
Azaryahu, M. (1996). The power of commemorative street names. Environment and Planning D:
Society and Space, 14(3), 311–330. https://doi.org/10.1068/d140311
Azaryahu, M. (2011). The critical turn and beyond: The case of commemorative street naming. ACME:
An International E-journal for Critical Geographies, 10(1), 28–33.
Baker, T. A. (2021). Long-distance football fandom: Emotional mobilities and uid geographies of
home. Social & Cultural Geography, 22(2), 189–205. https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2018.
Bale, J. (2003). Sports Geography (2nd ed.). Routledge.
Berg, L. (2011). Banal naming, neoliberalism, and landscapes of dispossession. ACME: An
International Journal for Critical Geographies, 10(1), 13–22.
16 L. GILLOOLY ET AL.
Berg, L. D., & Vuolteenaho, J. (2009). Critical toponymies: The contested politics of place naming.
Blocher, J. (2007). School naming rights and the First Amendment’s perfect storm. The Georgetown
Law Journal, 96(1), 1–57.
Boyd, J. (2000). Selling home: Corporate stadium names and the destruction of commemoration.
Journal of Applied Communication Research, 28(4), 330–346. https://doi.org/10.1080/
Brasher, J. P., Alderman, D. H., & Subanthore, A. (2020). Was Tulsa’s Brady Street really renamed?
Racial (in) justice, memory-work and the neoliberal politics of practicality. Social & Cultural
Geography, 20(9), 1223–1244. https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2018.1550580
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in
Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa
Brown, A. (2007). “Not For Sale”? The destruction and reformation of football communities in the
Glazer Takeover of Manchester United. Soccer & Society, 8(4), 614–635. https://doi.org/10.1080/
Bulley, J. (2002). Stadia development as a catalyst for regeneration. Journal of Retail & Leisure
Property, 2(4), 305–316. https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.rlp.5090152
Butler, J. (1997). Excitable speech: A politics of the performative. Routledge.
Cardoso, R. V., & Meijers, E. J. (2017). The metropolitan name game: The pathways to place naming
shaping metropolitan regions. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 49(3), 703–721.
Caudwell, J. (2011). Reviewing UK football cultures: Continuing with gender analyses. Soccer &
Society, 12(3), 323–329. https://doi.org/10.1080/14660970.2011.568097
Chen, K. K., & Zhang, J. J. (2011). Examining consumer attributes associated with collegiate athletic
facility naming rights sponsorship: Development of a theoretical framework. Sport Management
Review, 14(2), 103–116. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smr.2010.10.001
Church, A., & Penny, S. (2013). Power, space and the new stadium: The example of Arsenal Football
Club. Sport in Society, 16(6), 819–834. https://doi.org/10.1080/17430437.2013.790888
Conner, N. (2014). Global cultural ows and the routes of identity: The imagined worlds of Celtic FC.
Social & Cultural Geography, 15(5), 525–546. https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2014.908233
Crompton, J. L., & Howard, D. R. (2003). The American experience with facility naming rights:
Opportunities for English professional football teams. Managing Leisure, 8(4), 212–226. https://
Dickinson, G. (1997). Memories for sale: Nostalgia and the construction of identity in Old Pasadena.
Quarterly Journal of Speech, 83(1), 1–27. https://doi.org/10.1080/00335639709384169
Drennan, W. (2012). Where generosity and pride abide: Charitable naming rights. University of
Cincinnati Law Review, 80(1), 52–111.
Du, C. (2010). On the role of aect and practice in the production of place. Environment and Planning
D: Society and Space, 28(5), 881–895. https://doi.org/10.1068/d16209
Eddy, T. (2014). Measuring eects of naming-rights sponsorships on college football fans’ purchasing
intentions. Sport Management Review, 17(3), 362–375. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smr.2013.08.001
Edensor, T. (2008). Walking through ruins. In T. Ingold & J. L. Vergunst (Eds.), Ways of walking.
Ethnography and practice on foot (pp. 123–141). Ashgate.
Edensor, T. (2009). Tourism and performance. In T. Jamal & M. Robinson (Eds.), The Sage handbook of
tourism studies (pp. 543–557). Sage.
Edensor, T., & Millington, S. (2010). Going to the match: The transformation of the match-day routine
at Manchester City FC. In S. Frank & S. Steets (Eds.), Stadiumworlds: Football, space and the built
environment (pp. 146–162). Routledge.
Edensor, T. (2015). Producing atmospheres at the match: Fan cultures, commercialisation and mood
management in English football. Emotion, Space and Society, 15, 82–89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.
Edwards, L. (2012, October 9). Newcastle United sponsorship deal with Wonga will see St James’ Park
reinstated as stadium name. The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/
SOCIAL & CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY 17
EFL. (2015). Infographic: 2015 fan survey. Retrieved from http://www.e.com/news/article/2015/
Football Ground Guide. (2019). Football ground guide. Retrieved from https://www.footballground
Foucault, M. (1977). Language, counter-memory, practice. Cornell University Press.
Gunderman, H. C., & Harty, J. P. (2017). “The music never stopped”: Naming businesses as a method
for remembering the Grateful Dead. Journal of Cultural Geography, 34(3), 373–395. https://doi.
Haan, P., & Shank, M. (2004). Consumers’ Perceptions of NFL Stadium Naming Rights. International
Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship, 5(4), 269–281. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSMS-05-04-
Hague, E., & Mercer, J. (1998). Geographical memory and urban identity in Scotland: Raith Rovers FC
and Kirkcaldy. Geography: Journal of the Geographical Association, 83(2), 105–116.
Hoelscher, S., & Alderman, D. H. (2004). Memory and place: Geographies of a critical relationship.
Social & Cultural Geography, 5(3), 347–355. https://doi.org/10.1080/1464936042000252769
Jansson, D., & Koch, N. (2017). Critical geographies of sport. In N. Koch (Ed.), Toward a critical
geography of sport (pp. 237–252). Routledge.
Karimi, A. (2016). Street ghts: The commodication of place names in post-Taliban Kabul city.
Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 106(3), 738–753. https://doi.org/10.1080/
Kearns, R. A., & Berg, L. D. (2002). Proclaiming place: Towards a geography of place name
pronunciation. Social & Cultural Geography, 3(3), 283–302. https://doi.org/10.1080/
Kearns, R. A., & Lewis, N. (2019). City renaming as brand promotion: Exploring neoliberal projects
and community resistance in New Zealand. Urban Geography, 40(6), 870–887. https://doi.org/10.
Keay, S. (2018, March 16). Oldham Athletic’s stadium to be renamed Boundary Park with immediate
eect. Manchester Evening News. https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/old
Koch, N. (Ed.). (2017). Critical geographies of sport. Routledge.
Lawrence, S. (2016). “We are the boys from the Black Country”! (Re) Imagining local, regional and
spectator identities through fandom at Walsall Football Club. Social & Cultural Geography, 17(2),
Light, D., & Young, C. (2014). Habit, memory, and the persistence of socialist-era street names in
Postsocialist Bucharest, Romania. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104(3),
Light, D., & Young, C. (2015). Toponymy as commodity: Exploring the economic dimensions of urban
place names. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 39(3), 435–450. https://doi.
Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1982, March). Establishing Dependability and Conrmability in Naturalistic
Inquiry Through an Audit [Paper presentation]. Annual Meeting of the American Educations
Research Association, New York, NY.
Lisi, C. (2018). How the Luzhniki Stadium became a monument through 60 years of triumph and
tragedy. These Football Times. https://thesefootballtimes.co/2018/07/11/how-the-luzhniki-
Medway, D., & Warnaby, G. (2014). What’s in a name? Place branding and toponymic commodica-
tion. Environment and Planning A, 46(1), 153–167. https://doi.org/10.1068/a45571
Medway, D., Warnaby, G., Gillooly, L., & Millington, S. (2019). Scalar tensions in urban toponymic
inscription: The corporate (re) naming of football stadia. Urban Geography, 40(6), 784–804.
Parker, K., & Stuart, T. (1997). The West Ham syndrome. International Journal of Market Research, 39
(3), 509–517. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F147078539703900306
18 L. GILLOOLY ET AL.
Peck, J., & Tickell, A. (2002). Neoliberalizing space. Antipode, 34(3), 380–404. https://doi.org/10.1111/
Ramshaw, G., & Gammon, S. (2005). More than just nostalgia? Exploring the heritage/sport tourism
nexus. Journal of Sport Tourism, 10(4), 229–241. https://doi.org/10.1080/14775080600805416
Reysen, S., Snider, J. S., & Branscombe, N. R. (2012). Corporate renaming of stadiums, team
identication, and threat to distinctiveness. Journal of Sport Management, 26(4), 350–357.
Rose-Redwood, R., Alderman, D., & Azaryahu, M. (2010). Geographies of toponymic inscription: New
directions in critical place-name studies. Progress in Human Geography, 34(4), 453–470. https://
Rose-Redwood, R., Sotoudehnia, M., & Tretter, E. (2019). “Turn your brand into a destination”:
Toponymic commodication and the branding of place in Dubai and Winnipeg. Urban
Geography, 40(6), 846–869. https://doi.org/10.1080/02723638.2018.1511191
Rose-Redwood, R. S. (2008). “Sixth Avenue is now a memory”: Regimes of spatial inscription and the
performative limits of the ocial city-text. Political Geography, 27(8), 875–894. https://doi.org/10.
Rose-Redwood, R. S. (2011). Rethinking the agenda of political toponymy. ACME: An International
E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 10(1), 34–41.
Shoval, N. (2013). Street-naming, tourism development and cultural conict: The case of the Old City
of Acre/Akko/Akka. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 38(4), 612–626. https://doi.
Taylor, D. (2011, July 8). Manchester City bank record £400m sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways. The
Thrift, N. (2003). Performance and . . .. Environment and Planning A, 35(11), 2019–2024. https://doi.
Vuolteenaho, J., & Kolamo, S. (2012). Textually produced landscape spectacles? A Debordian reading of
Finnish namescapes and English soccerscapes. COLLeGIUM: Studies across Disciplines in the
Humanities and Social Sciences 13. Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. http://hdl.handle.
Vuolteenaho, J., Wolny, M., & Puzey, G. (2019). “This venue is brought to you by . . . ”: The diusion of
sports and entertainment facility name sponsorship in urban Europe. Urban Geography, 40(6),
Wideman, T. J., & Masuda, J. R. (2018). Toponymic assemblages, resistance, and the politics of
planning in Vancouver, Canada. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 36(3), 383–402.
Wise, N., & Kirby, S. I. (2020). A ‘home away from home’: The (London) Jaguars and the NFL’s
established international presence—a semi-deterritorialization approach. Sport in Society, 23(1),
Woisetschläger, D. M., Haselho, V. J., & Backhaus, C. (2014). Fans’ resistance to naming right
sponsorships: Why stadium names remain the same for fans. European Journal of Marketing, 48
(7/8), 1487–1510. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-03-2012-0140
Yeoh, B. (2009). Street-naming and nation-building: Toponymic inscriptions of nationhood in
Singapore. In L. Berg & J. Vuolteenaho (Eds.), Critical toponymies: The contested politics of place
naming (pp. 71–84). Ashgate.
SOCIAL & CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY 19