Ebbsfleet taking on the status quo

By Paul Casey Gotham

American sports has a few tales of woe as owners have taken their teams and moved on to greener pastures leaving behind a trail of broken hearts.

The Irsay family decided they had had enough of 33rd Street and decided to make a midnight passage to Indianapolis with their Colts. Memories of Roger Carr and Lydell Mitchell scampering along the infield of Memorial Stadium became all that was left for the citizens of Baltimore.

A few years later Art Modell used the adage – “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” and opted to take his Browns south to Baltimore. Thus leaving the “mistake by lake.”

We shouldn’t forget how Al Davis moved the Raiders from Oakland to LA in 1982 only to return north 13 years later. Maybe Al has been insane for a while; it’s just taken us this long to catch on to the fact.

The people of NYC know a thing or two about perfidy. Once was a time when the Dodgers and baseball Giants played home games on Eastern Standard Time.

Some don’t uproot their teams.

Like Jeff Loria who loads up his squad, hijacks a chan’ship, and then proceeds to sell off all his players. Gotta be tough for Marlins’ fans. On one hand, folks get to celebrate a title. On the other hand, how do you sustain any allegiance with the threat of upheaval?

It’s hard to blame some of the small-market teams for their inability to compete.

Anyone under the age of 20 must find it hard to imagine that at one time the KC Royals were regulars of the October baseball circuit. Since George Brett retired the Royals have become sewer scum of the American League.

The American sports landscape has also known of public ownership. The fine people of Green Bay have their Packers. Of course, owning stock means nothing more than having a piece of paper to frame and put on the wall.

Edmonton has its Oilers – Vancouver its Canucks.

I am proud to say that Rochester owns its Red Wings courtesy of Morrie Silver and his 8,222 investors.

images20The people of Ebbsfleet United have taken public ownership to another level. After watching his local team wallow in the depths of English soccer, Will Brooks came up with an idea. The man behind the plan bought the lower-level team shackled with financial difficulties, and Brooks offered fans a piece of the team.

For 35 pounds or $70 people bought a piece of Ebbsfleet. Using MyFootballClub.co.uk as a base, the team raised over 500,000 pounds in ten days.

The club currently boasts 31,000 owners. All of whom reached a peak of delirium when the team

Ebbsfleet captain Paul McCarthy celebrates with the FA Trophy
Ebbsfleet captain Paul McCarthy celebrates with the FA Trophy

advanced and won the FA Cup (equivalent of a minor league championship for all of English soccer) at Wembley Stadium last May.

For their money each owner gets one vote. These could include votes on player moves such as acquisitions and trades. Owners can even vote on game-by-game lineups.

According to Brooks the owners have left the personnel moves to the professionals, but the option is still there.

Ebbsfleet will face a crossroads later this year when owners need to renew their subscriptions.

Will the publicly-owned organization forge ahead or drift off into the abyss of nice little sports stories?

One Response to "Ebbsfleet taking on the status quo"

  1. Smitty   November 10, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Unfortunately I don’t think it will ever catch foot – especially here in the US.

    Sports are seen way too much as a chance to make a $$ and fans are often left by the wayside. Owners talk about their “dream” to own a sports team, get their team and then threaten to move the team unless it gets a publicly funded stadium that has all the bells and whistles. Those bells and whistles are luxury boxes that end up go to the fortunate and end up get their rights to the Miller High Life taken away.. “Clean up on aisle common sense”.

    As a Pats fan I hold Robert Kraft in this category since he pulled his stunt to get to Gillette Stadium. It is what makes Jerry Jones unique and still crazy.

    Teams like the Seattle SuperSonics..

    Can you imagine if the Phoenix Suns had 31,000 owners? Considering the window of opportunity for a potential championship is closing as Nash and Co. get older – Do you think they would have revolted when Suns owner traded away draft picks and refused to pick up the missing piece because it would put them over the luxury cap?

    What is even sadder is that these new stadiums are making it almost impossible for the average family to go to a game. And then once they own the network that the games are being shown on and forces the average family to pay for that extra tier on the cable – it gets ridiculous. But that is another story..

    Would love to see more publicly -owned teams. Just don’t think it is going to happen…

    On another note – back from North Carolina and it is freakin’ cold here…

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