Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Another recruit for community-owned football

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Non-league Lewes has joined the ranks of community-owned football clubs, along with the likes of giant Barcelona and most Bundesliga clubs in Germany.

In their 125th year, the Rooks fended off bankruptcy to become Lewes Community Football Club, so joining AFC Wimbledon, FC United of Manchester and Exeter City as collective entities. The government-backed Supporters Direct lead the way in encouraging mutual ownership and the pioneers assist fellow clubs in the transfer of power from business people to fans.

All this was assisted in no small way by playwright and actor Patrick Marber, writer of Closer, who hit the big time working with Steve Coogan.

Between trips to Staines to other small clubs, Marber is working on screenplays of his own; Don Juan in Soho and Zoë Heller’s The Believers. But his lunge into club management is not background for a prospective drama. “There’s a fabulous play to be written about this takeover. I could write it tomorrow.

“It’s not research but there’s been fantastic material, as you can imagine when there are six blokes who don’t really know each other at the beginning, get together to take over a football club and have to negotiate with the owners. It’s very rich. But I’m not going to write about it. It’s too good.”

Guardian.co.uk asked Marber whether running a football club might consume his life. He says: “It sort of has for the time being, but I’m still writing. I’m really fund-raising and talking to press, generating interest. I’m ambassadorial.

“We need plumbers, we need electricians – we certainly need more supporters – and we need people to come and make sandwiches, we need sponsorship, we need more stewards: the whole club is a volunteer club. This could be a disastrous experiment and go tits up, and just be a silly dream, or it could work fabulously, and become a model for other clubs to follow, just as we’ve followed AFC Wimbledon and FC United of Manchester.”

Source: Guardian.co.uk

The Wales Co-operative Centre offers support for new and existing co-operatives in Wales – for more information visit Co-operative and Social Enterprise Support.

Written by C Kenzie

August 26, 2010 at 10:59 am

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