What is the biggest football club in the world? It is a difficult one to judge as you need to define the criteria. Is the biggest club the richest or the one with the biggest global support? Or perhaps the most successful, which opens up all sorts of debate (I once received hate mail for suggesting that Rangers weren’t the most successful team because Real Madrid had won more “meaningful” honours). What about the one who gets the most column inches written about them? All such subjective measures wouldn’t you agree?
But the ownership model means that no one person can every own the club, and every single Socios has an equal say in who manages the football club (in terms of off the field) as well as being able to stand for election themselves. Democracy rules right?
As regular readers of this website will know, I have a soft spot for Lewes. It is in my opinion the finest place in Britain to watch football, nestled in the shadow of the South Downs, with the best pint of Harveys beer known to man being served in the Rook Inn. However, things had not been going strictly to plan, with the club finding themselves back in Blue Square Bet South after a disastrous venture into the Blue Square Premier. Things off the field were bleak, with the tipping point the issue of a winding up order over an unpaid tax bill in early 2010.
What your one share will look like
However, thanks to the efforts of a small group of fans who wanted to re-establish the club at the heart of the community and well as the community at the heart of the club, Lewes Football Club became Lewes Community Football Club in July 2010. Things off the field started to improve thanks in no part to the introduction of a “Pioneer Ownership Scheme” which gave anyone who invested a one off £1,000 into the club a share in the club. The rules of the community benefit scheme state that no one person can own more than one share in the club and thus a real say in the future of the club. People came from far and wide to sign up for this unique scheme, thus forming the first group of Sussex Socios.
The dream of the Directors was to widen the ownership opportunities for the club, and so last week the new owners scheme was launched, offering people a share in the club for just £30 per season. It should be noted that this is not a “my Football Club” scheme. For the £30 fee people will get a physical share in the club, and one vote in the election of a new board as well as other membership benefits. Of course people can pay more if they want, but this is an annual process with the idea of building Lewes CFC into the “Barcelona of the Non Leagues” (in terms of ownership anyway).
So do something good today. Go to http://lewesfc.com/owners and join the evolution!