Want to buy a piece of an English soccer team?

The Target

Here’s the basic idea: 50,000 members each pony up $70 to buy a share of a “purchase fund”. The resulting $2.7M fund will be used to buy a football club. (In case you’re doing the math and it doesn’t add up — part of the membership fee goes to administrative fees, of course.) Then each member has an equal vote in determining which club to purchase, player acquisitions, starting lineups, etc.

Having fans decide on starting lineups isn’t a completely novel idea. Last summer, the Schaumburg Flyers, a minor league baseball team in Illinois, teamed up with MSN for something called Fan Club: Reality Baseball that put the daily managerial decisions in the hands of the fans. Unsurprisingly, the decisions were less than stellar.

However, Myfootballclub is novel in that it lets the fans actually have an ownership interest. Well, sort of. You can never sell your share and you have to pony up a yearly membership fee. We wonder what happens if the club gets sold for a substantial profit. Shouldn’t the shares be distributed to the ownership trust? We doubt it — but we’ll keep an eye on this site.

It’s unfortunate that a million Cubs fans couldn’t pony up $800 each to buy the Cubs this year. The bitching and moaning of Cubs fans as they argued over players, trades and lineups would have been priceless. The Cubs would be a last place team with a bloated payroll… oh wait, they already are.

[My Football Club]: How it works
[Wikipedia]: Schaumburg Flyers

By Vin

Vin is a Philly boy who shouldn't be invited into your house because he'll judge you on your book and music collection. He owns Dawkins, Utley, Iverson, and Lindros jerseys, which is all you really need to know about him. He can be reached at [email protected].

4 replies on “Want to buy a piece of an English soccer team?”

Some questions answered… — The Supporters Trust can never sell the club, that’s the point of the Trust, to protect the club from a buyout. In England, there has been a long history of football clubs being asset stripped after takeovers.

Yes there’s an admin fee (this will be a very complex website), but $55 will be going directly into the club from every membership fee. For this, members enjoy the unique privelege in having a say in team selection, buying and selling players and the challenge of taking the club up the leagues. The other alternatives are to buy a simulation computer game for $80, or your own club for $2.5m! I hope that answers some of your questions.

ok so — let’s say the team becomes wildly successful… Arsenal is worth $800M right?  Let’s say you buy cambridge and you make it the best damn club in the world.  Well, what happens to all that money?  I realize this isn’t a stock purchase and you’re not really getting a piece of the club itself, just a vote in making decisions (which I think it’s really cool and would love to do it for a baseball team,) but what happens to the upside?

I think the early members/investors/owners should get to go along for the ride.

Good points — It would be possible to reward members if the club is successful. However, this will mean insuring against success (something that English clubs often do in case they are promoted and have to pay players bonuses). Ultimately, it will be the members who decide whether or not this happens. They may prefer to invest all the money in the club and players, rather than take out such as policy. As you suggest, getting so close to the action, closer than fans ever have, should be reward enough.

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