* Edusport Academy to offer £25 annual memberships
* Members to choose new club name, colours and crest for 2018-19 season
* Members to play a key role in most decisions at the club
* Club owner reveals plans to secure Scottish Premiership status by 2025
* When 10,000 members sign up, £50,000 will be donated to grassroots projects across Scottish football
Football fans across the world are being given the chance to run their very own club thanks to a pioneering project launched by Scottish Lowland League club Edusport Academy.
Former professional footballer Chris Ewing currently owns Scotland’s youngest senior football club but is changing the structure to establish a new club separate from the academy.
For an annual membership of just £25, ‘Revolutionaries’ will gain unprecedented access to a senior club which has ambitions to reach the Scottish Premiership by 2025.
The ground-breaking ‘OurFootballClub.com’ initiative will allow supporters across the globe to:
* Choose the team name
* Recommend signings
* Vote on the strip
* Elect board members for season 2018/19
When the new club reaches 10,000 members, £50,000 will be donated to grassroots football in Scotland with the membership deciding where the money should be channelled.
Ex-Motherwell player Chris hopes to provide members with the world’s most innovating fan experience, while also giving something back to the game.
Chris Ewing, Managing Director at Edusport Academy and club owner comments:
“Having been promoted from the Lowland League, our business model is evolving. What started off in 2011 as a private football academy has evolved into a football club with full membership of the Scottish FA playing in the fifth tier of Scottish football, just one step away from professional football.
“The business model that was originally set up is now maybe not best placed to support the ambitions of the football club and that is what lead me to think of alternatives. I think the OurFootballClub.com model is a good alternative, something new and exciting and creates a football club for the modern generation of football fan.
“We want this to be the most innovative fan experience in the game. We aim to offer the best and most immersive supporter experience in world football, which is exactly what we feel the game needs.
“We are progressive, inclusive, and are looking to build and engage with an online community of passionate and knowledgeable football fans. Together, we can achieve great things, such as our primary aim of reaching the Premiership (and beyond) by 2025.
“Our Football Club is the name of the project which allows members of the public to buy a membership, then begin making decisions that affect the real Edusport Academy Football Club.
“It is essentially a supporters group with a real difference – it gives its members unprecedented control, including the ability to re-name the team, design the strips, scout new players, select the board and much more.
“Some people may say it is crazy to target promotion to the Premiership by 2025 but I would counter that by saying it’s crazy to do the same thing year upon year and expect a different result. That’s what a lot of the clubs are doing in leagues 1 and 2, going through the motions every year and getting the same outcome.
“We’re challenging the status quo and have the chance to do that as we are a new football club and not hindered by anything. What we are trying to do is provide a service and I feel now is as good a time as any to get involved. The national team has failed to deliver for a number of years, there is an apathy towards the Old Firm and across Scottish football as a whole. It’s about using people’s passion for football as a catalyst for positive change.”
Edusport Academy manager is Ricky Waddell. The former Partick Thistle and Hamilton star adds:
“We have grown quickly since entering the league structure. This is another massive step for the organisation and we hope as many people as possible join us in the adventure. Not only can members support the team, but they can play a big part in how the club is run from top to bottom.”
Ricky is assisted by former Hearts captain Colin Cameron. The 1998 Scottish Cup winner says:
“This is a very exciting stage in our development. Football fans around the world are passionate about the sport and this is their chance to play a unique part in the running of a football club.”
Part of Edusport Academy’s ambitious plans include securing a permanent home, likely to be in central Scotland, with the club hoping to make a further announcement in the months ahead.
Originally from Glasgow, as a player Chris was on the books of Motherwell and Stranraer. He moved to Paris in 2004 having previously studied at the University of Tampa in Florida and created the Edusport Academy in 2011.
His experiences as a professional footballer in Scotland, combined with his experience as a ‘student athlete’ in the USA, have strongly influenced his passion for development, combining football progress with education. Chris is also a UEFA Qualified coach and obtained a Masters Degree in International Sports Management from the Johan Cruyff Institute.
Edusport Academy is a residential football academy for young French footballers based in Scotland with the aim of helping talented youngsters develop their skills in football and the English language.
The Academy programme offers a one-year course which combines daily coaching by top UEFA-qualified staff and 10 hours per week of English language tuition. It was founded in 2011 by Chris Ewing and was initially based at the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility before relocating to Lesser Hampden in Glasgow in 2015 with educational classes at City of Glasgow College. A second centre based in Edinburgh opened in 2014 at Ainslie Park and education at Edinburgh College.
An Edusport Academy team competed in the senior South of Scotland Football League from the 2014-15 season onwards, the only private academy in the world to do so in a FIFA-recognised senior league.
Promotion to the Lowland League, the fifth tier of the Scottish league system, was achieved last season when Edusport Academy won the South of Scotland championship.
Edusport Academy currently groundshares with Annan Athletic at Galabank Stadium, but is seeking a permanent stadium of its own for the soon-to-be newly-named team.
What is the link between Our Football Club and Edusport Academy FC?
Our Football Club is the name of the project which allows members of the public to buy a membership, then begin making decisions that affect the real Edusport Academy Football Club. It is essentially a supporters’ group with a real difference – it gives its members unprecedented control, including the ability to re-name the team, design the strips, scout new players, select the board and much more.
Who can become a member?
Anyone over 18 can become a member and join the #FootballRevolution. Anyone under 18 must have permission from their parent or guardian.
I don’t live in Scotland, can I become a member?
Yes! Our Football Club is a worldwide project, and fans from every country are welcome to become members. You will received the same benefits as Scottish members, including live streaming matches so you can follow the action from wherever you are in the world.
What is a ‘Revolutionary’?
A ‘Revolutionary’ is the nickname we give our members. We think it suits the project because we aim to revolutionise the way fans can support, interact with and influence their club. Our members will be given unrivalled access to the decision making process, with the right to vote on the club name, strip designs, board members and much more. Our Football Club is a brave new concept, and like every effective revolution, we need dedicated Revolutionaries to succeed in our goal.
Why change the club’s name?
Renaming and re-branding is a crucial part of the project as it gives our Revolutionaries the chance to immediately make an impact and leave their legacy on the club. It’s an opportunity that no other club can offer their fans. The act of naming the team is intended to galvanise the community of Revolutionaries from the start. Together, we have a unique opportunity to create and mould a football club that we can all be proud of.
What is the objective of Our Football Club?
The objective is to inspire modern football fans to get involved in a unique and ambitious project. A project that gives them the opportunity to turn the Football Manager experience and FIFA Ultimate Team experience into a real-life one. This is a project which gives fans the opportunity to have a say in naming their club, designing the strips, picking the board, scouting players, allocating the budgets, and much more. But ultimately, the objective is to achieve real footballing success thanks to the backing of a community of like-minded football fans who share a common belief and vision; to take the club up through the Scottish league pyramid system and to the Premiership (and beyond) by 2025.
Is 2025 a realistic goal for reaching the Premiership?
Yes! If we have enough fans who believe in the project, who share the same ambition and who are motivated by change and an innovative new approach, then we will rise through the pyramid system. We cannot do it alone, though we can do it as a community. Across the globe, we can see a clear correlation between the most successful clubs and their resources. It is no different in Scotland and particularly in the lower leagues. The more revolutionaries join our community, the more chance we will have of achieving our goal by 2025. The future is ours!
How is this different to what Ebbsfleet United did?
We are starting from scratch, it will be a new club whose history begins today. We don’t have a ground to call our own home, we are the only club in the Scottish league pyramid structure with no fan base, but this all changes from today!