The masses have collaborated – to buy a football club

Back in June I briefly mentioned MyFootballClub, a site which was collecting pledges of £35 from UK football fans which it would use to buy a football club once it had secured sufficient commitment.

On Monday they got there and announced the acquisition of Ebbsfleet United – a club that plays in the Blue Square League – one level below the English Football League. They have acquired a controlling interest, with the option to go to 100% ownership later.

This is an example of mass collaboration in action. Not only were the funds provided for by a mass of small contributors, but the plan is to govern the club by democratic vote amongst the members, which each £35 investor given an equal say.

We will see how this works out to be in practice. Democracy is great in principle, but can make it difficult to take decisions. Already Jason Botley, the site organiser, has had to ignore parts of the vote on which club they should acquire, and I’m sure we will see more of  sort of thing
This is interesting because it is an example of the internet enabling mass collaboration in a way that simply hasn’t happened previously. I think we will see more and more examples of people using the internet to come together to achieve things that either weren’t possible at all before, or were the exclusive preserve of big institutions. In itself this isn’t new – ebay is old news now – but the MyFootballClub example shows just how far this might go.