We've previously discussed the Ebbsfleet United experiment on here, due in part to the fact that several of us are owners in the club. Ebbsfleet have been struggling a bit off the pitch lately, so let's take the time to revisit things.
Although the club had 30,000 owners in Year 1, allowing them to make some significant progress, eventually winning the F.A. Trophy, things are not as rosy now. So far only 3,000 members have renewed for Year 2 and the club may begin to experience some financial difficulties. Recently the club made a move to secure some future financing, selling John Akinde to Bristol City for £150,000. At the close of the transfer season Ebbsfleet also signed Darius Charles for £25,000 from Brentford, in a historic moment for fan-driven football.
While those two moves represent a good influx of money, it is clear that for this experiment to be successful more fans will need to sign up for Year 2 membership. The club was recently spotlighted on CNN, and they have done quite a bit lately to attract more members. This past weekend the club provided free admission to all club members for their F.A. Trophy match against Swindon Supermarine (which is an absolutely awesome name). They also streamed the match online for their international members, which meant that I was able to watch my club in their 2-0 victory (although I didn't watch live, since the Arsenal match was on at that time). That win means that they are in the quarterfinals of the F.A. Trophy competition, and the dream of defending their championship is still alive.
The only question is whether the dream of survival as a club is also still viable.