Adam Bird


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Tuesday, 13 November 2007

My Footbal Club - My Arse

I am a Gillingham Fan, first and foremost. But I am a massive follower of football, and so take note of all the goings on around the footballing globe, from non-league to more recently MSL (and yes, because of Mr Beckham's influence).

I had therefore, obviously heard about the idea of a group of people putting a website together and coming up with the idea of getting enough "supporters" together to buy a club and run it.

Being a web thing, you would have thought that would have been right up my street being a bit of a geek (according to most). However, reading various articles around the footballing blogosphere, it became clearer in my own mind what a crazy idea this really was.

I shall not go into depth here, but you can read more from the horses mouth by visiting

However crazy I thought the idea was, I was never for it, or particularly against it, as it was always in my mind that some random team would be the eventual guineas pigs and I could watch the ensuing chaos from afar.

Imagine my surprise then, when I read today that myfootballclub had brought a controlling share in Ebbsfleet United!

Having already in 2007 made one bizarre decision by changing their traditional name of 100 years from Gravesend and Northfleet to Ebbsfleet United (after an unfinished train station), today's news brings another chapter of change in an attempt to finally break into the football league.

Admittedly I am a fuddy duddy when it comes to football tradition, but still, I agree with change when change is due, the current team and management restructuring at Gillingham at the moment is refreshing and welcoming. But this idea is, in my eyes, unsavoury and unwelcome.

Ebbsfleet United will for the foreseeable future be spurred on by the publicity that this "innovation" will no doubt bring, but whether any success is gained from it we will always have to wait and see.

The longer that it takes for any success to materialise the quicker that the members of myfootballclub will lose interest. Without any interest of the 'supporters' what happens then? The true and traditional supporters of Ebbsfleet are then left with a shell of an experiment gone wrong.

Ebbsfleet and prior to that Gravesend and Northfleet have been a slowly progressive club, nothing was ever built in a day, and the model that Ebbsfleet had been working too had bit by bit made inroads, into what is their ultimate aim, league football for the first time at Stonebridge Road.

I hope that this isn't just a whim based around a fashionable internet fad and that there is some longeivity in the idea. Maybe Ebbsfleet United's goal in bringing League football will materialise quicker than the anticipated, but how far realistically can they go? Like Gillingham the fan base will be fickle and all the time that the Fleet are in ascendancey the attendance fiqures will grow, but just as soon as the momentum stops and the rot sets in, those people dissapear pretty quickly, as again will the interest of the myfootballclub members.

I was an occasional visitor to Stonebridge Road from time to time, as Ebbsfleet United are my local club, but I won't be going there again unless Gillingham have the misfortune to be playing them for whatever reason. I would rather visit a proper football club, like Dartford or Dover, whom have their own ambitions, but are willing to work hard and seek the rewards of their investments by traditional (and more honest) methods.

Kent football needs another club to be within the football league, it would be great for the county, but it doesn't need a club like Ebbsfleet United who appear to be motivated by greed, and "getting rich quick". I am not aiming anything at the supporters and they will support eleven players on the pitch whether they are in the Premier League or the Blue Square South. They have been there for long enough and that is exactly the reason why I hope that this idea has a relevancy of success, or if it is destined to fail, doesn't fail spectacularly.


weenie said...

I understand many of your points but don't understand what you mean by Ebbsfleet not being a proper football team?

They are on course to receive £700,000 to spend - how is that any different from say Liverpool receiving the huge stash of cash from their US owners?

Oh, the difference is that Liverpool's owners (and you can add Chelsea's, Man City's, other Prem League clubs' owners) will at some point want that investment to pay off.

The members of Myfootballclub will receive zero, the only thing they will get out of this will be to (hopefully) see Ebbsfleet United FC succeed.

What is so wrong about that?

Adam Bird said...

Hi Weenie,

Thank you for your comments!

In referring to Darford and Dover as "proper" football clubs, I was attempting to differentiate between their opposing efforts in achieving the same goal. Which will apply to any non-league club, which is achieving league status.

The Ebbsfleet model, apparent in 2007 is to undergo an unnecessary rebranding exercise, and signing up to the MyFootballClub gimmick, both of which I believe to be negative moves.

I completely understand your comparison, but it's all relative isn't it? Is Abramovic's finance injection that pushed Chelsea up a rung on the footballing ladder fair on the likes of Bolton whom had spent years of hard work in getting nearly just as far?

I hope that it is a success for the true fans of the club, and that if it fails they won't be left with a mess.

Robert Tilling said...

There are more similarities between say, Roman Abramovich and the MyFootballClub venture than might first be asssumed. Both are sticking incredle sums of money (for their respective divisions) into clubs they have no attachment to.

The claims that you want to put football back into 'the hands of fans' is thus fatally undermined. What you actually want is to steal a club from its fans, for your own ego and self interest.

You want to play at being a manager - well you know what, it's not your club. So you should leave it alone.

If it is just about managing a club I'm sure there are many leagues nearby that would accept you starting one up. I'm sure the £700,000 (minus admin fees) would go a long way to getting that of the ground.

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