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Thursday, February 19, 2009
Internet-run club in need of new signings

Soccernet staff

The future of the world's only football club owned by an online community, Ebbsfleet United, will be in serious doubt unless 3,000 people subscribe on Thursday.

On 19 February 2008 the English Conference club were purchased by MyFootballClub.co.uk but a year on the majority of the site's 32,000 annual memberships are up for renewal and numbers are dwindling.

The website's creator Will Brooks told The Guardian: "I would like to see 4-5,000. I would expect a couple of hundred every day for the next 10 days after that and then I think we're in a relatively strong position - we've got a foundation and some breathing space. But, if it's less than 3,000 today, we've got some decisions to make."

Brooks convinced 20,000 people to pay 35 for the prospect of football club ownership, and a say in the running of it, last year and bought Ebbsfleet for 635,000 after a majority of members voted to back to deal.

Membership peaked at 32,000 and success followed on the pitch after non-league club defeated Torquay United 1-0 in the final of the FA Trophy at Wembley.

Members had the opportunity to vote for everything but when the opportunity to decide whether they should be allowed to pick the team only 492 votes were cast, with a narrow majority deciding to leave team selection in the hands of the manager, Liam Daish.

Now Brooks is looking for new members or increase the price for committed fans who will continue their say in the running of the club.

"If the model doesn't fund the club going forward, then I wouldn't call it a success. It will be a one-off, something that won't be repeated," admits Brooks.




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