Program is here! Official heroes and contested guerrillas: The role models of football fans’ patriotism | Webinar, April 1, 2022.

Patriotism is displayed at the football stadiums in many different ways. It is expressed by fans through chants, flags and banners. Most of these contain national colours, national symbols, phrases from the national anthem or references to important historical events. Some supporter groups also use specific characters that they believe represent the nation, country and embody patriotic attitudes. These include mainly recognised historical figures – former rulers, liberators or famous warriors. However the persons from more recent history also appear – e.g. revolutionaries, popular leaders, politicians or armed resistance groups. At the same time, many supporters define their patriotism precisely by contesting these figures – by expressing opposition to them and to their vision of patriotism.

The concept of guerrilla patriotism (Nosal, Kossakowski & Woźniak, 2021) makes it possible to analyse not only the use of official national heroes by fans but also controversial figures who evoke strong reactions among others – support or rejection. This may be exemplified by the UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) in Ukraine, the Ustaša organisation in Croatia, Arkan’s Tigers (Serbian Volunteer Guard) in Serbia, Cursed Soldiers in Poland, the ETA in the Basque Country and the IRA in Scotland (among some Celtic Glasgow fans), or Che Guevara in some European countries (eg. among 1. FC Sankt Pauli or Livorno supporters). In some cases this football-related memory policy may be in line in the official narratives of the ruling political elite (on a national, regional or local level), most often it is a contestation of the dominant discourse or an alternative for contemporary politicians and leaders.

The webinar aims to identify the figures which are perceived as patriotic role-models or anti-role-models by football fans. We want to initiate the discussion to include examples from all over the world. Reflecting on them will allow us to analyse the role such figures play in the national discourse of football stadiums.

Webinar participation

The platform of the webinar is Microsoft Teams. Link is available here: WEBINAR. Time for the presentation is 15 minutes. The webinar is scheduled as one long meeting. We would be grateful if you would not disconnect during breaks, but only mute and switch off the cameras. Otherwise we will have to let you in from the waiting room each time. Participation is free.


The meeting is scheduled on April 1, 2022, from 9.00 to 15.45, UTC+2. Please check the time in your zone by using TIME ZONE CONVERTER.


09:00–09:15 Opening, with Jean-Michel de Waele
09:15–09:30 Introduction
“The role models of football fans’ patriotism” with Przemyław Nosal & Radosłav Kossakowski
09:30–11–00 Session I
“War heroes, role models, and controversies – the expression of patriotism among Bad Blue Boys” with Goran Pavel Šantek, Andrej Nuredinović & Dino Vukušić
“A tragic hero? An exploration of Diego Maradona’s stardom through national and local patriotism” with Steph Doeler
“From the stands to Parliament: the Politicisation of the Romanian Ultras and the Birth of a Political Movement” with Robert Adam
“Hero formation and the myth of national identity in Australian football” with Keith D. Parry
11:00–11:30 Coffee break
11:30–13:00 Session II
“Towards an anticolonial Critical Theory of football” with Luis Martínez Andrade
“Transfer me a Hero: the career paths in modern football viewed by scouts and players” with Katarzyna Herd
“Towards the reconstruction and Publicization of the Turkish-Azerbaijani Ethnicity and Identity” with Mehdi Hamidi Shafiq & Dorna Javan
“A model of an enlightened nationalist? Examining Zvonimir Boban, heroism, football and national identity in post-Yugoslav Croatia” with Dario Brentin
“The Republic of Ploiești – between a historical moment and the brand of a football gallery” with Gheorghe Andrei
13:00–14:00 Lunch break
14:00–15:30 Session III
“Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Hero and Anti-hero, and his personification of contradictions in Mexican Society” with Roger Magazine & Jorge Negroe
““Con el brazo guerrillero”. Images of Maradona on Argentinean and Italian supporters banners” with Antonio Donato, Eduardo Galak & Lorenzo Pedrini
“Difficult heroism in Mexico. The rejection of individuals as heroes in a football supporters’ groups” with Roger Magazine & Ricardo Duarte Bajaña
“From communist apparatchik to the hero of the anti-communist terraces. On the ambivalences of fandom’s collective memory” with Wojciech Woźniak
15h30-15.45 Closing
with Jean-Michel de Waele, Przemyław Nosal, Radosłav Kossakowski & Wojciech Woźniak



Please send any questions about the webinar to Przemysław Nosal (

Jean-Michel De Waele
Professeur de Science politique
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Tel : 00.32.650.44.81
Avenue Jeanne 44, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgique

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