Professor to tackle 'social construction' of the football manager
The lecture, which will get underway at 6pm on Wednesday 26 February in the Rose Bowl, will see Professor Wagg offer a brief historical and analytical narrative of the football manager, drawing on past writing and current conjecture.
Professor Wagg, who will also be looking at the role the press has played in shaping football managers' personae, commented: "Crucially, although they often appear to be victims of fate, football managers will always be thought, and must believe themselves to be, the arbiters of it. People are always firing football managers - in fact their hold on a particular job becomes more tenuous by the season: seven League managers were sacked in the eight days that spanned November 25 - December 2, 2013. But nobody questions the need for them or the notion that, in principle, they can ordain the results of football matches - in Herbert Chapman's phrase, 'organise victory'.
"The football manager is a comparatively recent invention - a social construction - and the last 50 years has seen a growing gallery of great team-makers. Indeed, contemporary football managers now serve as all-purpose celebrities and repositories of cultural myth."
In a 30-year career Professor Wagg has written on a number of subjects. The football manager was one of his first research interests and he has returned to this topic periodically ever since.
He joined the Carnegie Faculty at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2006. Previously he taught in further education and at Leicester and Roehampton Universities.
His first foray into academic writing was called 'Whatever He said to Them at Half-Time, It Certainly Did the Trick: A Social History of the Football Manager'. It was published in 1983 and was based on a talk he'd given at what was then Sheffield Polytechnic the year before. Professor Wagg's inaugural lecture is a re-visitation of this theme.
In the intervening thirty years, Professor Wagg has written regularly on the politics of sport, of childhood, of comedy, of leisure and of popular music - his five chief interests. This year he plans to write a short book on the politics of London 2012.
At Leeds Met he has taught classes on the mass media, on sport history and on the politics of international sport. He has also collaborated on research projects and publications with a number of colleagues in the Carnegie Faculty, notably Dr Peter Bramham, Professor Karl Spracklen and Dr Brett Lashua. His work on sport and the Cold War - with Professor David Andrews on the University of Maryland - has brought invitations for him to speak in Germany and Russia.
If you would like to tweet during the lecture, you can do so using the hashtag #profstephenwagg