The Wisdom of Crowds and Football Management

Here are reports from the BBC and the Wall Street Journal on the sale of Ebbsfleet United to 20,000 members from the website. There are now more than 30,000 members. The members pick the team each week. The "lame duck" manager is former Republic of Ireland international (5 caps) Liam Daish. This is the blurb from the club website

As a MyFootballClub member, you will be part of a unique website community, the first in the world to purchase a football club. You will join over 30,000 members living in 130 different countries, all of whom get to vote on key decisions, from team selection to financial budgets. Before every match, MyFootballClub members have a say in team selection. They can back the coaching staff's judgement, or choose to pick the team and formation themselves. Members also get to vote on other fundamental decisions, from setting a weekly playing budget (£10,000 this season) to deciding on season ticket prices to approving Nike as the club’s supplier and its designs. MyFootballClub members communicate on its thriving forums, which have around 25,000 forum posts from members each month. Members can also set up special interest groups as well as talk in its chatroom.
This truly is the wisdom of crowds in practice - and it seems to be working! Last season the club won the FA trophy for the first time. This September the club became the first to have a publicly voted transfer. 82% of members voted in favour of Ebbsfleet selling John Akinde to Bristol City for £150,000 (plus add-ons). This was a world's first, where the fans had the final say in a transfer deal. Over 7,000 members voted in 48 hours.

You can read more about this and other similar schemes on Wikipedia here. The actual website of MyFootballClub can be accessed here and the official website of the club they currently own Ebbsfleet is here. Ebbsfleet United are currently 23th or second last (as of the 19th November) in the Blue Square Premier League table.

This will be a real test for the Wisdom of Crowds and it is clear that not everyone thinks it will be a success, see here.

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