Being ambitious, being innovative and aiming high aren’t phrases I’d commonly associate with most Scottish football clubs. I’ve been critical of “the way it’s always been done” approach on numerous occasions over the past few years, and that’s why I’m excited to see what comes of Chris Ewing and Edusport Academy’s revolutionary approach to building a football club from scratch.
I’ve followed the Edusport story closely over the last couple of years and it’s been intriguing to say the least. Ewing took inspiration from studying in America, living in Paris, his UEFA coaching qualification and Masters in International Sports Management to form a residential football academy for French players to develop their skills both on and off the pitch. Edusport have been competing in the Lowland League this season after winning the South of Scotland League the season previous. Following this success, Ewing sought ideas to take the club on to the next level.
With the objective to inspire football fans to get involved in something unique to Scottish football, today sees the launch of Our Football Club. Similar attempts at something similar in the past have seen mixed results to say the least, Ebbsfleet and Real Oviedo being almost at opposite ends of the scale on that point. For £25, “Revolutionaries” can influence key club decisions, such as choosing a new name for the club, voting on new kits and suggesting new signings. Rebrands and new franchises appearing are commonplace in MLS, but they don’t tend to go down well with the more traditional of British football fans. Ewing isn’t worried about that aiming “to offer the best and most immersive supporter experience in world football.” The current make up of Edusport, you’d have to say, makes it a little easier for this transition to take place. The new club will effectively start from nothing. They have no town, city or stadium to call their own, with little or no current fanbase to annoy with this change. This won’t be another Leeds situation, with the new crest being pulled on the same day as their launch.
The lines between football, Football Manager and FIFA continue to blur. I’ve spoken in the past about how it’s high time our football clubs should be doing a little bit more to engage with the potential influencers who get thousands of views on their videos whilst playing both gaming titles. Derek Robertson also wrote for the site on how eSports should be part of the future that the Lowland League looks into. There’s no reason why, with a little bit of outreach to members of both the Football Manager and FIFA gaming communities, the initial goal of 10,000 members can’t be reached. When that goal is reached, £50,000 will be donated to grassroots football in Scotland. It’s innovation, but with a good cause too.
Ewing might have been inspired by a certain Parisian club when he set out the primary aim for this revolutionary club, reaching the Scottish Premiership by 2025. “Rêvons Plus Grand” indeed. There will be detractors and derision I’m sure. “I would counter that by saying it’s crazy to do the same thing year upon year and expect a different result”, Ewing states. If you don’t embrace the way football is going at some point, it’s highly possible you might be left behind. This is one to keep an eye on, for sure.