Scottish football club to give fans Football Manager-esque control with new app

Caledonian Braves, who began life as Edusport Academy, are putting the big club decisions in the palm of their fans’ hands.

Fans of Caledonian Braves will be able to influence major decisions at the club via an app.
Fans of Caledonian Braves will be able to influence major decisions at the club via an app.

For football fans, taking control of their beloved football club in the computer game Football Manager and dragging them to virtual glory through savvy player purchases and boardroom decisions is a fantasy.

However, for fans of Caledonian Braves, a fifth tier side based in Motherwell which only began life as Edusport Academy giving young french footballers a Scottish footballing education in 2011, that fantasy is to become a reality.

The owner of the club, Chris Ewing, has announced the launch of the ‘Braves App’, a way for fans of the club to have their say over player recruitment, the pre-match coin toss, and be given the power to challenge players to complete monthly challenges.

Fans will be able to have their say on recruitment decisions

They will also be given the ability to provide scouting reports from across Europe, to nominating official charities as well as setting board agenda items and taking a virtual seat at the boardroom table.

In the future, the club is also looking at the possibility of the fans influencing the manager’s choice on formation and player selection, the full Football Manager experience.

Fans have already chosen the name, the crest, strips and the key values of the club which is intent on joining the Scottish Professional Football League by 2025 with an ultimate aim of entering the Scottish Premiership.

The app, which costs £19.99 for a fan to be given access to the club, will also give fans the ability to watch every Braves game live as matches continue to be played behind closed doors.

Owner Chris Ewing said it was about putting the big decisions in the palm of fans' hands.

Chris Ewing, Caledonian Braves owner: “This is a hugely exciting time for all of us at Braves. From the outset, we have been motivated to do things differently and to make our club as accessible as possible in a modern, inclusive and innovative way.

“Ultimately, we are about putting the big decisions in the palm of fans’ hands. Fan engagement is at the heart of what we do and the Braves App enables us to put the online audience at the heart of everything we do from the boardroom, to the dressing room, to the front office.”

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on sport as a live event for clubs at all levels but in a way, Braves is not as reliant on matchday attendance as others. We understand that the viewing habits of the younger generation have changed dramatically, and the old traditions of a pie and Bovril are anathema to Gen Zs who want to have more control of the environment around them.

“The Braves App will evolve based on the needs and wishes of our fans. We want to create something that is exciting while at the same time preserves the integrity of a football club with ambitions to reach the top echelon of Scottish football.”

To help reach the SPFL, Mr Ewing is also recruiting four independent non-executive directors to help steer the strategy of the club and reflect the values of the “modern and inclusive” club.

In another move away from traditional football governance, the four positions will be recruited from the creative and digital sectors as well as technology and communications experts.

Mr Ewing said: “This for us was a no-brainer. In all honesty, in order to make the vision we have a reality at Braves I need help at boardroom level because I cannot do it on my own. The four boardroom positions will arguably be the most important appointments I will make because it will validate our mission to be open to all.

“Also, we want to break the mould by ensuring we have the best candidates but also benefit from expertise in areas that might not figure in traditional boardrooms up and down the country. We want creative, innovative minds to help us and the best way I can describe the candidate spec is that blazers need not apply.”

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