A new app is helping members of the public realise their dreams of owning and managing football clubs in the UK. OWNAFC is a new app that is looking to take over non-league clubs in this exciting new model that puts Joe Public in charge of all major decisions. bonusbets.com takes up the story that has ignited a passion among thousands of people.
Owner and founder Stuart Harvey has developed an app and is selling shares for £49 per share. Over 3500 people have signed up to the concept, and the aim is to own a club. Speaking to BBC Sport, he explained “This is all about people with a dream of owning a football club. To turn football on its head and take it back to the people. This is a live, real-time boardroom in their hands. It’s the ultimate experience of a being chairman with a big board of directors – each day dealing with monumental decisions of running a club. It replaces the boardroom nonsense we see at many clubs with the people that matter.”
The idea is that using the app the new ‘managers’ can vote, in much the same way as a board do, making decisions on the new signings, hiring and firing staff and much more. Effectively they become the day to day management of the club. At this stage which club, or clubs will be signing up to this form of governance is not known. Initially, 50 non-league clubs were approached, and there is now a short list of 4 teams, but due to non-disclosure agreements at this stage, these clubs cannot be named. Harvey has said that the sides are in tier six or seven of the English football pyramid.
This is not a brand new concept, in France, Avant Garde Caennaise operates on a similar model where fans are able to make in-game decisions using the app, things like substitutions etc. In 2008 the scheme was piloted by MyFootballClub, and initially, 27,000 people signed up, and the consortium took over Ebbsfleet FC. However, interest waned, and in 2013 the shares were relinquished due to lack of interest and the club returned to conventional management.
Despite some criticism Harvey is convinced that the idea will work this time, citing the lack of technological development back then as the reason it failed. He said “The difference is theirs was ten years too early. It was before iPhones became popular, before apps, and they were not using the technology we have today.” It is a contentious decision with others in the industry calling it embarrassing and degrading. The editor of the Non-League Paper, Alex Narey has said that the project will fail and be a total disaster. He said: “Too many people underestimate what these football clubs mean to their communities. This will alienate that communal spirit. It will alienate the club in the non-league community. Just wait until things unravel; it will become a laughing stock.”