I'm guessing slightly. But I would imagine that come five o'clock on Saturday, there were probably 22,000 wannabee Norwich City managers who, having stumbled out of Carrow Road in silent disbelief, would have been muttering darkly about what they would have done if they were in charge…
Would they have thrown Lee Croft into the fray ahead of Chris Martin? Would they have kept Dion Dublin up-front and given Michael Spillane his big chance at centre-half? And what, exactly, would they have done as the clock ticked down to the midnight hour on Friday and this summer's transfer window slammed shut….
In theory, 53,000 football supporters are about to be given the chance to manage a professional football team as www.myfootballclub.com begins to gather both pace and subscribers.
Founded by former football journalist Will Brooks, the myfootballclub.co.uk 'trust' is now reported to have a war chest of ?500,000 as it looks to buy a professional club – all funded by a ?35 annual fee, ?27.50 of which goes into the takeover fund. The rest covers administration costs.
Apparently, if the level of interest in the concept was followed through in terms of further members, that war chest would swell to ?1.4 million. Cambridge United are reported to be one of those clubs that have caught myfootballclub.com's eye.
Once a club is bought, thereafter it is a case of the 'wisdom of the crowds' taking over – a 53,000-strong Internet democracy let loose on running a football club; in their power – in theory – everything from player selection to the choice of beers at the bar.
For those who doubt 'the wisdom of the crowds' – the theory that the knowledge and experience of the masses can outweight and outshine the intellectual might of the one – then you need look no further than the global success of Wikipedia to see it in startling action.
Within ten minutes of City announcing late yesterday afternoon that they were offering Lucien Mettomo a trial, so someone, somewhere in the world had dived in to Mettomo's own individual entry on Wikipedia and updated his biography.
The Internet's very own DIY encyclopedia was busily updating itself; one little person among the masses, tweaking one little piece of information for the immediate benefit of the whole. It is that theory that myfootballclub.co.uk seeks to tap into.
In practice, that theory is going to make for fascinating viewing.
OK. Question – if you were one of those 53,000-plus members of myfootballcub.com, where would the best fun be had? In what aspect of controlling your very own football club, would you think: 'Yep, this is ?30 very well spent…'
I suspect it wouldn't be in voting for whether to stock Wherry or Boddington's behind the members bar; nor in deciding upon the colour of the team strip.
The real fun – the real value for money – will come in the access that it would, presumeably, grant the 53,000 members to the dark intricacies of a particular player's transfer. That's the good stuff. Get-out clause, anyone? At what level? That low… you sure? Let's vote…
Don't get me wrong. There are certain aspects of myfootballclub.co.uk which are genius. At a stroke you have 53,000 uniques for your website. Guaranteed – certainly as far as any potential advertiser is concerned.
That's big daily traffic – particularly if that then encompasses some kind of inter-active precinct where members can meet online and chew the cud over potential transfer targets for the forthcoming season, who played well the previous weekend, who deserves to keep their place for this weekend… In other words, a message-board community.
Great. Very Web 2.0.
But at some stage, someone from the masses is going to have to physically sit in a room and do a deal.
Somewhere from within their ranks, a 'volunteer' has to come forward to sit in a room with Willie Mackay or whoever and pin Johnny X to a contract.
And I can't for the life of me see how you can bring 'the wisdom of the crowd' to bear on such a level; at that stage you need a scalpel, not a sledgehammer. Mackay wants ?12,000 a week and a four-year deal for his boy. Or we're off…
So what happens next? Is that position relayed back to the masses, they vote and decide: 'No, offer him ?8,000 and three years…'
And Mackay says: 'No, we want ?11,000… and ?1,000 per appearance, ?500 a goal…'
And then it goes back to the popular vote… And this is three o'clock in the afternoon on August 31, 2008. You have six hours to turn around a medical – if you can ever get Mackay to stick to a deal otherwise, that's it… transfer window slams shut.
For me, the answer would have to lie in devolving power down to one or two indivudals to go and sort that deal; power and responsibility – and let's face it, the fun of the whole exercise – is devolved to an executive. One of whom would even be called the chief executive.
So one 'executive committee' might get to decide whether it's cheese and onion Pringles or barbecue flavoured Hoola-Hoops in the bar; another one gets down and dirty with a player and his agent. Which one would you fancy?
Look at it another way. If you're sat there in a room with Mackay, a player – or whatever other agent you'd like to throw into the mix – are they going to be perfectly happy for the discussions that go on in that room to be shared with 53,000 other people? Because clearly, it'll go no further.
The Daily Telegraph, not unreasonably, are fascinated by the whole concept. So, in fairness, are a lot of people.
'MyFootballClub will be an intriguing experiment in football, business and online democracy,” the paper wrote last month as it discussed the concept. “So intriguing that The Daily Telegraph has bought a share. We intend to follow developments closely as MyFootballClub looks to finish raising the cash and move toward taking over a club in the next few months.”
So those same player negotiations will be shared by no-one else apart from the 53,000 members and the readers of the Daily Telegraph… and clearly The Sun, The Mirror, The Mail, etc, won't already have had their man, or woman, in place already…
If team selections go to a popular vote, is the manager just given a list of 11 names to play every Saturday? But what happens if our Johnny X is carrying a knock going into a game and – on that particular day – under-performs?
Do you let the 'crowd' know beforehand so their can mark him accordingly? Clearly the opposition manager will have no interest whatsoever in knowing what the team is, who is injured, who is not… And who makes the decision if a player is only 50/50 going into a game? Does that go to the vote?
As for the manager, is his job subject to a monthly vote? If it is, you'd have the employment lawyers rubbing their hands in glee and the League Managers' Association throwing every toy out of the pram – and who would actually take the job in the first place, if your family's livelihood depended on the whim of the masses?
Maybe, the wisdom of the crowd will sort such issues out. And I do wish the project every success; it's bold; it's brave; it's different. And, above all, it recognises the depth to which the Internet has empowered everyone; that we can all have a voice and have a say. Indeed, a louder voice and a bigger say.
But at some stage all that power and passion has to be applied to reality; it has to work on the ground – as well as on the web. It has to respect the kind of basic rules that come with managing and meeting individual human beings on a daily basis.
That's the challenge; that's the test. The power of the masses and the wisd
om of the crowd is wonderf
ul, but it has to have a human face. An individual human face. Someone, somewhere, has to put all that wisdom into practice.