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Soccer Club of the People Eyes Takeover Targets
Independent, August 20th, 2007 5PM

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A Web site called MyFootballClub.com, which aims to put its members in charge of club ownership and administration, may be close to buying its first club, having raised more than $1 million, according to the Independent. The concept, created by soccer journalist Will Brooks, is to create a democratic system of ownership that essentially makes its members interactive shareholders. "My starting point is a firm belief in the wisdom of crowds," Brooks says. "It's the fans who have the club's best interests at heart: so why shouldn't they run it?"

What separates MyFootballClub from other publicly owned soccer teams is that members will vote on nearly every decision, from the starting 11 to new signings, sponsors, etc. Only those decisions that need to be made throughout the course of the 90 minutes will be left to the club's coaches. The Independent's Amol Rajan calls the concept "a heady mix of sport, entrepreneurship, and democracy." Shareholders pay annual dues of $70 per year, $55 of which goes into the company's so-called takeover fund, while the remaining $15 goes into administrative costs. In all, the Independent says there are 53,000 members, which means there will be $2.8 million to spend if everyone pays their dues.

The Independent says MyFootballClub is looking at some 40 possible clubs to buy; the current leader is Leeds United. In the end though, everyone supports different clubs, so what's to stop some members from deserting if they don't like the club the site ends up purchasing? Or worse, what happens if rivals decide to buy a stake in the new club and sabotage the votes? Also, what coach would want to work under these conditions?

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