Friday, November 14, 2008

How Fare the Minnows?

You remember Ebbsfleet United, don't you? It's the Blue Square Premier (Conference National) club that some of us here at UF own. Since November 2007, Ebbsfleet (formerly known as Gravesend and Northfleet) has been owned by its fans through MyFootballClub (similar to the way those crazies in Wisconsin own the Green Bay Packers). When last we spoke of them, our boys had just beaten Torquay United 1-0 to take home the FA Trophy at Wembley.

What has been going on with the 'Fleet since then?

The NY Times recently explored the fate of the 'Fleet, and writer Kabir Chibber (who is an Ebbsfleet owner)was a little pessimistic. Regarding the rematch against Torquay that occurred in the league this season, he noted:

Torquay ended the game atoning for its loss at Wembley with a 2-0 victory. It was Ebbsfleet’s fourth defeat in a row, its worst streak in three and a half years. The club sits in 17th place in the 24-team league.

17th place after 17 games on 20 points, a full 14 points out of first (Southern League, here we come?) while Torquay sit in 3rd. In addition, the club was knocked out of the FA Cup earlier this month in a 1-0 loss to Crewe Alexandra, although they did win the Setanta Shield with a 3-1 victory over Eastbourne Borough.

So, things have been a little less pleasant during this second season of the 'Fleet experiment. Perhaps more importantly:

Ebbsfleet also faces the prospect of 26,000 memberships coming up for renewal at the same time in February. If MyFootballClub can’t persuade enough people to sign in a tough worldwide economic climate, the experiment in fan ownership will end.

I certainly don't foresee any dictators, oligarchs, or royal families stepping in to save Ebbsfleet United, but it seems that those already involved with the club are in it for the enjoyment (there are no profits derived or dividends distributed) and will likely stick it out at least a little while longer. Heck, I even bought the home kit!


Spectator said...

Put me in the category of the 26,000 whose membership is about to expire.... Not sure what it is that makes me say "eh," other than running a football sure is a lot of hard work and I find the site redesign to be really confusing.

Steve said...

i too doubt i will be renewing...for basically the same reasons. that, and i'm a poor graduate student who could use the $70.

Bigus Dickus said...

I'm out too. No time to watch the highlights or give any votes attention.

jjf3 said...

Being a contrarian who is not cash-strapped as of this moment (subject to change in 30 seconds), I'll invest. WTF not? It's cash I'd spend on some cute waitress otherwise...