This work is based on a field study among Norwegian supporters of Liverpool FC - an English football club. Nearly 20000 fans were members of a Supporter's Club that published a magazine, ran a website and, crucially, organised trips to football games in Liverpool. Apart from this context, fan identity was made relevant when the reds watched televised transmissions of the football games, both in private homes and in pubs. I use the case of the reds (so named after the colour of the Liverpool shirts) to discuss some aspects of modernity, especially the dis-embeddment from a link between locality and lifestyle that their fandom represents.
Their identity challenges previous sociological understandings of football fandom, which stress the importance of spatially defined units in fan identities, sometimes even to the extent of seeing football fandom as an embodiment of a local habitus. The long distance fandom of Norwegian reds is mediated and hence more of an invented tradition or imagined community with a potential for creative hybridisation. I argue that the reds exemplify the way modern identity could be constructed, by actors reflexively narrating a story about who they are. But, this reflexivity does not make them into the "shallow players", "hybrid fans" or consumer oriented "post-fans" that they look like within the dominant paradigm of British football sociology. For example, the native term ekte (true, pure, authentic) was crucial in this fan identity - which shows that football indeed was firmly embedded in a Norwegian setting, as a way of reflecting on morality.
Moreover, locality still mattered to the reds. First, Liverpool in general and the football ground in particular meant something to them. Reds travelled there in thousands, in a ritual that can be compared to a Christian pilgrimage. The travellers were looking for stemning in Liverpool, another key concept that is analysed in the thesis. To some of them, locality took on yet another level of significance. These fans transformed to what I call Liverpudlianists, which meant building up extensive local knowledge following a credo of doing things the way they do there. I therefore argue that some Norwegian fans belonged to a truly transnational field of communication. But, their relation to locality was complex and I discuss the limits of their transformation by exploring some notions on a hierarchy of ekte that placed locals on the top. As we have seen, there was not just one way of being a red. I therefore compare various positions among the Norwegian reds to classic analyses of local fandom throughout the thesis. This comparative approach also leads me to bring in studies from various ethnographic settings outside football.