Myfootballclub.co.uk – a scheme to get 50,000 fans together to buy a football club and run it collectively – has attracted a lot of attention, and they already have 45,000 people pledged to support the venture.
An interview on Wired with the founder of the site, Fulham fan William Brooks, gets into the topic quite interestingly, including a suggestion that running the club would take advantage of the theory of crowdsourcing.
Q: As far as not using fans as a source of money, but also as deciders: Why do you think this will work?
A: This is something else I observed in my time going to football matches. When the home crowd has been demanding a change for three or four months, eventually the coach will agree. Often it will turn out to be the correct decision. I think people running professional football underestimate the knowledge of football fans. The “wisdom of crowds” theory suggests that many informed people can reach correct decisions, sometimes better than an individual can. The irony is, if the fans decide who plays and who is bought, the coach can blame failure on the fans!
I would particularly love it if there were competing groups of fans owning different teams: Bigsoccer adherents versus Francis Foer readers, Eurosnobs vs MLS fans, hooligans vs prawn sandwich munchers…
Seriously, would football fans do a good job of collectively running a team? Would you want your team to be the subject of this experiment?