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Fan Debates on English National Identity Surrounding the Almunia Case

English national identity has undergone significant challenges post-1945 which means this national construct has reached a point where its very nature is uncertain. The aim of this paper is to discuss debates between football fans regarding the possibility that the Spanish goalkeeper, Manuel Almunia, might have been chosen to represent the English national team due to becoming a naturalized British citizen in 2009. This is argued to be evidence that debates between football fans can be used to highlight contemporary ‘anxieties’ surrounding English national identity. The paper is based upon a qualitative discourse analysis of findings from a participant observation study conducted between June 2008 and September 2009 with members (n = 93) of a large online football fan community. It is concluded that the Almunia debate illustrates the impacts of globalization, European integration and United Kingdom devolution processes on the fragile concept of English national identity in the early twenty-first century.