Community-baseret ejer af fodboldklub kaster håndklædet i ringen

Den engelske fodboldklub Ebbsfleet United var den helt store succeshistorie tilbage i 2007-08, da klubben blev overtaget af et community. Det var sammenslutningen MyFootballClub, der repræsenterede de dengang 26.000 ejere.

Dengang skortede det ikke på fascinationshistorier om, hvor fantastisk det var, at et community af helt almindelige mennesker overtog en fodboldklub og sammen skulle styre alt i klubben – sågar også om, hvem der skulle spille.

Men siden de gyldne heydays for lidt over fem år siden, er det kun gået én vej; nedad. Det har Joe Glidewell, der er Ebbsfleet-fan, skrevet om i sit indlæg ‘My Football Club – A failed project’ fra januar i år:

This week some disturbing news was released by the Club. Due to lack of home games, crowds being low, and probably a whole host of other reasons, the Club needs the fans to dip into their pockets once again to save us. I’ve lost count how many times the fans are asked to give money because it’s needed.

It’s evident, from this, that My Football Club cannot fund the Club on their ridiculously low numbers of just over 1,000. In fact, they’ve not been funding the Club for a while now but it’s getting worse – a lot worse. An owner should be able to fund what they own.

If you cannot fund something then why continue dragging it down? My Football Club are producing a ridiculous amount of money a few times a year. Recently over £3,000 was raised for the club. Straight to the point, it is not enough.

Den 23. april, altså for lidt over en uge siden, gav MyFootballClub så op: ‘Ebbsfleet United: MyFootballClub votes to offer shareholding’, skrev BBC Sport:

MyFootballClub have decided to relinquish their shareholding in Ebbsfleet United.

The website, which has a 75% stake in the club, have voted to hand two-thirds of their shares to the Fleet Trust, the club’s supporters’ trust.

One of the club’s major shareholders, believed to be former chairman Phil Sonsara, is to be offered the final third of their shareholding.

Selvsamme Fleet Trust udtrykte i november måned sidste år bekymring overfor MyFootballClub-ejerskabet.

Eventyret med den community-ejede fodboldklub er dermed slut. Støtten var størst, da nyhedens interesse var der, men efterhånden som det blev hverdag, og fokus skiftede til drift af en fodboldklub som så mange andre, faldt folk fra. Dette må være en vigtig lektie for andre, der vil starte og køre communities – det er med fællesskaber, som med forhold og ægteskab: Det er når hverdagen indtræder, fårene bliver skilt fra bukkene.

Ebbsfleet United bliver i øvrigt også nævnt som eksempel i James Harkins bog ‘Cyburbia’, som du kan læse min anmeldelse af (fra 2009).

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