The Potential of the 12th Man

19 Nov


Picture this: it’s 80 minutes into the game, you’re 2-1 down and the opposition are all over you. It seems the only hope left is a bright young spark who’s just bursting to get on the pitch, but the manager’s acting like he’s not even there! As a Portsmouth supporter it’s an all too familiar state: 20,000 fans are all thinking the same thing but one man, and unfortunately the most important man, isn’t.

Well, Coventry City F.C. are seeking to change this. They’re set to revolutionise the game by offering fans the chance to text in and influence substitution decisions.

The idea comes from the mind of Leonard Brody, a Canadian business tycoon, who dreamed it up to relieve the Sky Blues’ money woes. Fans will have to pay for their influence and text a premium rate number, thus making it a rather selective democracy. There’s also the issue of opposition fans exploiting the system and sticking the goalkeeper upfront, but all that aside it’s actually a very interesting concept.

A handful of clubs in England are already owned by fans – in particular Ebbsfleet United, coined “The world’s first web community owned club” – so this could very well be the next step for grassroots involvement.

So the question is: Will this be an exciting sphere of interaction, or a fundraising gimmick? We’ll just have to wait and see.



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