There's only four teams involved in football's top honours these days, so what's it like to win silverware every season? This is the blog of one football fan who decided to, fully and unconditionally, do the unthinkable and change the football team he supported to spend one season at the top... AND NOW HE'S DOING A SIMILAR THING FOR EURO 2008 WITH A MATE BECAUSE THE SEASON'S FINISHED AND THEY'RE BOTH BORED

Championship Manager: Ebbsfleet Edition

Championship Manager: Ebbsfleet Edition

20/11/07

THE TUESDAY SILLY SEASON FEATURE

The Silly Season is proud to announce that it has secured an exclusive interview with one of Ebbsfleet United’s new ’shareholders’…

Footie fans may remember him as the long-serving goalkeeper for Long Eaton Oasis FC… No? Well, he’s called Adam, and he’s one of the 20,000 people who’ve signed up to take control of Ebbsfleet Utd FC, as part of the My Football Club (www.myfootballclub.co.uk) project, which was dreamt up by a bloke called Miles Brookes.


Adam wears a shirt by New York Metrostars

Most of you will almost certainly know what the crack is with this… In a groundbreaking move fans look set (I think they’re still finalising some stuff) to take a 51% majority stake in a football club, enabling them to makes decsions, ranging from team selection to ground redevelopment, by way of voting.

Anyway, I thought it’d be interesting to ask Adam a bit about it because the idea for My Football Club comes from a similar disillusionment with the game that inspired The Silly Season

“I mean I’d love to be a shareholder in Liverpool, but even if I had billions of pounds, I still wouldn’t have as much say as I would with Ebbsfleet. It’s a way of invigorating people’s passion in football again. It’s easy to be disenfranchised with the bigger clubs these days. You begin to feel like you’re watching the stock market really.”

Adam’s a Liverpool fan, (because his old man is, and, er, Kenny Dalglish opened the sports shop in his local town back when he was six). It appears that it’s not just fans of the other 88 clubs that begin to wander what football’s all about these days. So, is this real-life Championship Manager a new lease of life for the footall obsessive?

“Hopefully it will shake things up a bit. Most exciting thing for me? Possibly the team selection. I’m already researching about all the players at the club, and reading up on their history, etc. It’s the perfect club for it to take place. Young club, young team - no history to weigh it down. They’ve also just signed a three-year sponsoreship deal with Eurostar, and the website is one of the best that I’ve seen for a club this size - really good content.”

Twenty thousand people have paid £35 to be a ’shareholder’ (or member or whatever), but there’s no limit to it. They’re still taking applications now.

“You’ll vote on team selections. The manager might tell you how the players have done and then provide you with information on form for selection, and then you’ll vote. One of the inital concerns was that people would interfere, but basically the head coach will prompt vote-based decisions.”

Are people not going to get bored, or do silly things like buy Jeff Horsefield and play him in goal?

“No, you idiot. People have signed up from all over the world. A Texan guy has spend about £1,000 on player sponsorship. [Birmingham Chairman] David Gold has criticised it, saying people will have their own agendas. But we want to win things. We all want the team to do well. Most of the people who have signed up are intelligent football fans, who’re interested in doing things in a new way.”

Do you think it could have an affect on your already unhealthy obsession with Liverpool?

“I might end up seeing more Ebbsfleet games than Liverpool games, you never know, but it won’t takeover my passion for Liverpool. The whole thing with Ebbsfleet is that it’ll be more involved - people will have a real interest in the club. It might not feel as detached as I can do supporting a club like Liverpool.”

You’re going to become obsessed with this…

“I don’t think I’ll become obsessed with it. I’ll look out for results each week. Whether I look for them before Liverpool or after remains to be seen… Honestly, I’m not going to become obsessed. I don’t think I will anyway.”

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