Crowdsourcing Football

Open source has come of age, or broken free depending on your point of view. What was once the province of the software community (Linux, Apache etc) has made it’s way into all manner of unexpected places in recent times such as in films, books, toys, cars and now football.

News this week that MyFootballClub has taken a controlling stake in Ebbsfleet Utd will be an interesting experiment in crowdsourcing. "Own the club and pick the team" is their motto but can this really work? Can a football team operate without direct leadership of a manager? Football managers have always taken on board the fans opinions but then ultimately made their decision based on their own more detailed information. Certain managers such as Sven in charge of England were often criticised for pandering too often to fans in team selection. However, regardless of the dissappointing performance at the last World Cup, he did have a compartitively good record as England manager.  Perhaps the fans knew a thing or two after all.

I suspect the injection of cash and the extra fans and profile generated by this experiment should boost Ebbsfleets chances of promotion to the football league anyway, but I’ll be interested to see how it pans out. I am increasingly aware of people arguing that the militaristic ‘command and control’ school of leadership that is still prevalent in most organisations, is not the best way to encourage the creativity that is often the hallmark of great teams, and innovative organisations. But whether MyFootballClub ends up demonstrating the wisdom of crowds or the dumbness of crowds remains to be seen.

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