Last month I received an email from ‘myfootballclub’ asking me to renew my membership to help continue the good work that the ‘world’s first and only web based football community’ is doing in taking Ebbsfleet United to the next level.
Before I continue I should explain the ‘myfootballclub’ (all one word) concept to those who are unaware of it, the slogan reads, ‘Own the club, pick the team.’ For an annual membership fee of £35 you got to suggest team line ups, choose the kit, agree sponsorship deals, verify transfers and contribute ideas to make the club a success.
I’m not going to lie the press machine behind the idea had me totally seduced, £35. Bargain. I could be the magician that helps transform a team into Football League stalwarts, me and a group of, what turned out to be 32,000 other magicians. However as I looked at the email asking for me to continue my support, I felt hollow.
What had I actually achieved?
What had I actually done?
Was I really part of this?
I came up with three answers nothing, not a lot and no.
For £35 I got to shout about the kudos of being a Co-owner of a football club, put it on a social networking site and see my friends go, ‘Really??’ And respond smugly, ‘Yes, Yes I am’. When in reality I was one of the tens of thousands people who had plied a minimum of £35 for one non-profiteering share in a club exactly (as verified on Google maps) 439 miles away from my base in East Kilbride, Scotland. It made it all feel so distant.
The scores would come in, and I would smile if we had won and be sad if we lost, I got excited when we won the FA Trophy at Wembley, if we could do that in 3 months we’ll be in the Premiership in no time, and was biting my nails as the playoffs drifted away at the end of last season but soon, the novelty wore off.
And that was the problem for me, because of the distance it was a novelty not a hobby. I couldn’t decide to pop to the match on Saturday to see how my team were getting on, there was no chance to interact face to face with fellow ‘trustees’ about where the team is going wrong and where its going right. And there was no way for me as a fan to vent at the manager for making a bad call or applaud a player for showing a bit of effort.
That is football to me. Without experiencing the emotion of a live game, you can never really feel part of it. That was my problem, that’s what was stopping me hit that button that said ‘Renew Your Membership’. It was not my dislike for the concept or the thought that I could be wasting £35 on a luxury few can ill afford at present, it had just lost its sheen.
I am actually a fan of this idea, I want to see if it can be successful and if it isn’t successful, which no true football fan would desire, what happens to the club, you could say that’s the sporting sadist in me.
In the end I decided I could feel hollow for £35 other ways, in reality I could feel hollow, hung over and slightly embarrassed most Saturday nights for about £35, and so as much as I liked the dream, for me it was over. Or was it?
I still checked the scores and I felt a pang of guilt when I saw that the Ebbsfleet board were struggling to renew they’re membership fees, but I was getting nothing out of it, apart from my slight amusement when verifying the signing of a player called Michael Gash for £20,000 from Cambridge City, but that was never going to be enough.
Newmains United Community Football Club, five words that made me feel that same twitch of excitement when Ebbsfleet United came into my life. At first, I was appalled at my naivety, an idea as innovative as owning your own football club was surely ripe for copy. What made this better that Newmains was (as also verified on Google maps) only 17.7 miles away from my base in East Kilbride, Scotland, I could probably jog that in a day!!
Before I continue follow this link and form an opinion.
Were you a bit disappointed? Me too. I applaud the 28 paying members but at the moment it seems a bit of a lost cause. Newmains United CFC was christened after interest from mySCOTfc in taking over the now defunct Coltness United.
I’m not going to go on about how Coltness is a weird choice to try and build a successful football team from almost scratch where there are already five senior and multiple junior teams within spitting distance. Personally I would have gone for one of the Ayrshire District teams where a whole town can get behind them, but as I was discussing with a friend the politics of junior football are still to this day a bit murky.
A quick search on the internet and I can find no mention of the Scottish version of the project other than through the Newmains United and mySCOTfc website its quite sad. Well I present to you now five reasons why you should get involved if, and I mean if, you live in the area, because if you don’t you will feel the same pangs of disappointment that I did as I followed Ebbsfleet United.
1. This team are pretty poor, at present they are bottom of Central District League Two, the only way is up.
2. You could actually go to the games.
3. You could stand face to face with a player and tell them exactly what you think.
4. Imagine how good you fell when the club wins something.
5. Make a difference, ditch the turgid fare at Ibrox, Celtic Park and Motherwell Beach, and get ‘right in about it’ at the entertaining end of Scottish football.
If all those that invested in Ebbsfleet United from Scotland put there £35 into Newmains United CFC then there is a real chance a club could grow, and how good would you feel about that.