Fieldwork was conducted in six of these countries — Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Spain — involving observation, recordings of heart rates at matches, interviews and in-depth discussions with fans.
In the remaining 11 countries, online and telephone interviews were conducted with fans.
In our discussions with fans there was a defiant stance against 'fair-weather supporters' — those who only attend matches occasionally or when their team is doing well.
Such fans lack dedication and resilience and the detailed knowledge of team statistics, standings, players and history that is characteristic of 'true' fans.
The role that football plays in this context is very important given fears about the break down of the traditional family unit and its values across Europe.
There is a strong commonality among all fans across Europe — football unites rather than divides in this sense.
Attending away games is an important ritual for fans involving a number of psychological and logistical challenges.
Away supporters are always out-numbered and mostly out-sung.
Football fandom is seen as a rite of passage involving a process akin to apprenticeship.
It involves years of instruction, of 'practice', of dedication and of demonstrating your own knowledge in the presence of others before being accepted by 'real' fans.