By Little Jimmy
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A non-Boro story caught my eye the other week, and I couldn’t help thinking about how it might work if it was instigated at the Boro. The Independent reported on an Internet venture called MyFootballClub which has blurred the line between Fantasy Football and the real game.
Ebbsfleet (formerly known as Gravesend & Northfleet), who play in the Blue Square Premier League, are just about to be bought out by MyFootballClub. MyFC are essentially a group of subscribers from around the world who have bought an equal stake in the club. For 35 quid a year they get to vote on team selection, transfers and other key decisions. The manager has to make do with the team that is picked for him, only being able to pick his substitutes. How tactics and training work is not really touched on, but it is surely going to be difficult for the manager to work on this basis. Only he knows which players are on form. Some Joe Public bloke at a PC in Kuala Lumpur isn’t likely to see the players training, and even if he did, would he even know what was going on? Presumably the manager will be required to keep the subscribers up to speed with how the squad are performing via the internet, and then laugh like a hyena on nitrous oxide when he sees the team selected by the subscribers. It’s one thing to play Fantasy Football with a virtual budget on a computer; it’s another world entirely to pick a real team that is actually going to play together on a real pitch.
Even so, the management of the club say they are in favour of the whole thing. Liam Daish, Ebbsfleet’s manager, admits to being of an old-school mentality, having played for managers in the mould of Jack Charlton and Ron Atkinson. On the face of things he is positive, and was quoted in the papers as saying: “I’m looking forward to where it can take us, hopefully in the right direction.” What the Big boys Jack and Ron would have made of this is anyone’s guess.
What Boro fans would make of this is even more intriguing. Boro fans see themselves as knowledgeable, football-loving, salt-of-the-earth types and would probably jump at the chance to take control of team affairs. The internet messageboards are bursting at the seams with wannabe managers who think they know better than people who have been in the game since childhood. The thing is with these kinds of people is that even if you put half a dozen of them in a room, they wouldn’t be able to decide on the best team. You just have to read the stuff they post to see that they all have their opinions, and won’t be budged, however bizarre they might seem to the residents of St. Luke’s. I mean, look at the stuff above about playing ugly. Crazy.