The concept, stripped lower back to its very primary precept, has some advantages. The network version of football membership possession could recollect Darlington, AFC Wimbledon, Hereford, and Portsmouth amongst its splendid success testimonies. Allowing supporters to say within the going-for walks of their membership is broadly positive in a climate where football clubs have too frequently veered from their role as
social establishments. The use of the era should include paintings, also. Using a cellular app to canvas opinions from supporters makes some feel when being found in person at shareholder conferences isn’t feasible. The age of those on forums at soccer golf equipment (each league and non-league) is skewed toward an older technology; the cliché ‘guys in fits’ represents fact. Getting younger human beings concerned is an ahead step.
OWNA FC was (and perhaps nonetheless is) a wildly bold task; Football Manager added to lifestyles. Laypersons had been invited to make investments of £49 to buy a share in a football membership publish-takeover and feature the possibility to play a position in both the daily going for walks of the club and its lengthy-time period destiny. The online brochure indexed making new signings, hiring and firing the group of workers, negotiating contracts, placing admission prices, selecting the squad, and planning schooling classes, among the responsibilities customers of the app might have. “Making records” was the closing on that long-lasting, and it is clear that OWNA FC did not scrimp on motivational messages. This became sold as the “largest revolution in football since the dawn of the Sky Sports era in 1992”. OWN turned into “constructing the future of football,” supplying “gilt-edged risk to be part of wearing history.” You get the photo.
CONTROVERSIAL CONCEPT The concept itself changed into debatable because it becomes based upon the notion of the takeover. Unsurprisingly, OWNA – the brainchild of 39-year-old Stuart Harvey, gained media traction; blend soccer, technology, and innovation collectively, and you’ve got online characteristic gold. Harvey talked up the scheme in portions published with the aid of BBC Sport and The Sun. All noted that there could be a few competitions to the inspiration but presented little scrutiny of its ability for success. A variety of clients privately say that such mainstream coverage legitimized the concept for them. Forming a brand new membership
from scratch under the corresponding method would permit the slow build; the ones investing within the undertaking immediately created a virtual network and supporters of this nascent membership. This changed into not that. A present non-league club would effectively benefit a corroborative possession that had no connection to the nearby network, and for that reason, be surpassed a wonderful deal of uncertainty. Non-league clubs would possibly have 500 ordinary fanatics in a bumper home crowd, but it’s nonetheless their membership rather than a plaything. If that notion of uncertainty turned into rejected using Harvey (his Twitter
direct message communication in this point changed into posted by using blog AgainstLeague3, as agreed via each party), it is a hard factor to argue. You can’t “build the destiny” and encourage a “revolution” without uncertainty. As proof, the initial declaration that traders might be managing a budget of “up to £8.5m” become sooner or later eliminated from the OWNA FC Twitter bio. Nor can that declaration for revolution be taken significantly, given English non-league football’s previous reviews of similar initiatives. In 2008, Ebbsfleet United was taken over through MyFootballClub, an internet community that at its height had 32,000 paying contributors.
MyFootballClub owned 75% of the membership, did an address EA Sports, and consulted on more than a few membership selections, now not diverse to OWNA’s version. Consultation on decisions promptly decreased, and everyday participation in votes dropped to 20% of the original membership within years. The club becomes subsequently offered in 2013 amid supporter protest and with management a reasonable prospect.
BACK TO BASICS: CAN IT BE SUCCESSFUL? But does the idea work? Football membership ownership (frequently with the aid of non-experts) succeeds via delegation to human beings with authority and knowledge. Harvey’s notion of “casting off stuffy chairpeople” isn’t always without benefit, and nor is “changing the boardroom nonsense we see at many golf equipment with the human beings that matter.” Still, in the one’s instances, the fault lies with the people themselves rather than their roles. Handing that decision-making to a crowd of laypersons is truly no longer the solution – one cautiously selected worker is. The information of the group precept falls.
In that discussion with AgainstLeague3, Harvey protected that retort: “We might be putting main human beings in all positions – advertising supervisor, sports reporter, emblem director, manufacturing manager, video manufacturer, a sports physiologist, monetary guide, commercial director and activities supervisor to call a few.” Fair enough. However, a) the initial budget might war to stretch that ways, and b) in that case, what were the app customers going to be voting on? That sounds more like assisting a man in funding a takeover rather than playing a crucial function. A proposed takeover of Hednesford Town fell thru on the day that OWNA
traders were presupposed to vote on the issue. Both OWA and Hednesford Town introduced that a deal could no longer be useful and went their separate approaches. Other capacity clubs had been rumored – Harvey himself said that the BBC article had provoked some interested parties – however, none were confirmed. SHUTDOWN MODE Behind the scenes, matters had been beginning to unravel for folks who had invested their £ forty-nine (early traders had surely paid £ ninety-nine earlier than a discount to £ forty-nine turned into agreed –
they might receive stocks). Several people contacted this creator to inform them that they hadn’t acquired any paperwork, merely an electronic mail receipt of charge and admission to the app. One purchaser, David, started asking questions publicly on social media, changed into blocked from the cell app, and know that he would not be getting a refund for making derogatory comments on social media. At a few points, the terms and situations were altered on OWNA’s website to get rid of a clause indicating that customers who invested before
January 6, 2019, had been entitled to money back if a takeover hadn’t been finished through March 1. By Sunday evening, OWNA had gone into shutdown mode. All social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube channel) had been deleted, and the website was taken down. Before the Twitter account disappeared, tweets were sent accusing a concerted smear marketing campaign: “Sabotage will continually lose to people who take at the elite. #OWNAFC is permitting the working elegance to take at the elite and win.” Confusion regarding the precise
product additionally fashioned. When speaking to The Sun, Harvey stated: “We sell them the concept for £49, which incorporates license expenses to use the era and a shareholding in the soccer membership.” But inside the brochure on OWNA’s website, it tells customers they “could have the choice of purchasing one percentage inside the membership on the nominal value.” That indicates until a takeover is completed, they don’t have any proportion and therefore no actual product apart from access to the app. LIQUIDATION AND SILENCE