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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 November 2007, 14:37 GMT
MyFootballClub big day out
MyFootballClub creator Will Brooks

Ebbsfleet United
Ebbsfleet are eight points off the play-offs

It was like a blind date.

TheFerret, Loosegooner, England1966 and around 75 others, each exchanging awkward but knowing glances, in a pub close to Oxford United's Kassam Stadium ground.

From Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham and Cirencester they had come, eager to get a glimpse of Ebbsfleet United, the team they had invested their 35 in, in action against Blue Square Premier league rivals Oxford.

After a little Dutch courage, this fraction of a community of more than 23,000 football fans worldwide began to mingle.

For several months, these MyFootballClub members had spent hours each day pondering whether a club owned and managed by thousands could really prosper.

The same conversation was repeated across the pub, that of re-kindling love for the game and a unique opportunity to get close and personal with a football club.

During this week after the website's proposed takeover of Ebbsfleet was announced, the world's media have also had their say.

In the main it has been positive, hopeful that it could work.

Even Ian Holloway, in his column on these pages, calling it an "absolute load of old poppycock" somehow felt like an endorsement.

At the ground, we sat with the Ebbsfleet supporters, with the club's directors dotted around.

Four long-lens cameras were trained, not on the action on the pitch, but at this unlikely rendezvous in the stand.

Reporters from all the major national newspapers were out in force as well.

Liam Daish
Daish revealed his wife has become a MyFootballClub member

Voyeurs perhaps, but they were not alone as a crowd of 4,655 people had turned up.

Presumably some MyFootballClub members felt it a bit too forward at this stage to sit with the Ebbsfleet fans.

It was quite a relief when the football started.

Reports from the club's training ground and treatment room during the week was of Ebbsfleet's players with a spring in their step.

It showed during the game, though the 0-0 scoreline betrayed what was an entertaining match and one which most agreed Ebbsfleet deserved to win.

By all accounts, Ebbsfleet manager Liam Daish was in jovial form during the post-match media conference.

He told the assembled hacks his wife has become a MyFootballClub member, and that she's looking forward to giving him advice online.

If anyone can make this planned union between fans, players and coaching staff work, it is Liam Daish. He is both bright and brave.

606: DEBATE

The feeling of goodwill appears to be spreading. A Texan has phoned up and sponsored a player for 500.

This week, film crews from Russia, China, Sweden, Holland and the United States plan to visit the training ground.

At this stage, everyone must remember it is a deal in principle.

But should everything go to plan, myself, 23,000 new owners and the club's staff will be doing our utmost to ensure there are no broken hearts.

For our second date, we are invited back next Saturday to Ebbsfleet's place at Stonebridge Road.

SEE ALSO
Oxford Utd 0-0 Ebbsfleet
17 Nov 07 |  Non League
Fan website agrees club takeover
13 Nov 07 |  Ebbsfleet United
Fans given club takeover chance
01 May 07 |  Football
Gravesend announce change of name
02 May 07 |  Ebbsfleet United
Takeover website brings in Fiddy
30 May 07 |  Football
Fans close in on club takeover
02 Aug 07 |  Football
Travel problems affect Ebbsfleet
30 Sep 07 |  Ebbsfleet United
Long upset as Fleet bow out again
28 Oct 07 |  Ebbsfleet United
Fans' website could save Halifax
03 Sep 07 |  Halifax Town
Sullivan wary of website takeover
13 Nov 07 |  Birmingham City


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