A few of you have noticed I’ve been trailing an upcoming football game called CLUB on my Twitter feed so I thought it was time I came clean and told you a bit more about it – and where I fit into it all…
Anything football gaming-related piques my interest. I’m a keen Sorare manager and dabble in plenty of other online platforms as well like FanTeam and UltimateFan. I’ve also sunk hours of my time into things like Football Manager and Top Eleven (and, if you’re really curious, the first football game I can remember playing was Tracksuit Manager, in the 80s).
CLUB is a free-to-play football management game due to launch next year. Build your football club, compete against friends and others around the world, earn prizes, and develop your club into an asset that you can sell onto someone else, if you wish.
Over 10,000 football fans have already pre-registered for the game. That’s a lot of interest for something that hasn’t even launched yet!
CLUB will offer:
- A game based on the real world, with licensed players from the top leagues in Europe.
- A simple scoring matrix, based on real-life performances.
- The ability to compete against friends and the wider community – it’s a social game!
- A mobile app from the very start – available on iOS and Android.
- An NFT aspect for those who want to play and earn – but this is optional.
The real-world stuff is super important to me. I love games like Football Manager but I quickly lose interest when my players age and the random youth players start to generate. There’s something about playing at the pace of real life that really appeals, and also the fun of trying to find ‘the next wonderkid’ before someone else discovers him. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy Sorare and why I sunk so much time into things like Football Index in the past too (and why 8 million people play FPL each year).
The social side of things is huge for me too. Football is all about (mostly) friendly banter between friends, it’s not something that anyone really enjoys in isolation. So when the CLUB team asked me if I’d like to be part of their team, to help build the community around the game, I said yes without hesitation!
Many of us have been left scarred by failed platforms this year so what makes me so bullish about CLUB?
It’s not gambling. No need to worry about the Gambling Commission sniffing around and no risk of getting drawn into something based on a model of impossible financial returns. Yes, there will be the possibility of turning your achievements into real-world earnings but it’s definitely more of a ‘play and earn’ rather than a ‘play to earn’ – a subtle but important difference. The focus is firmly on fun first, not turning this into a second job.
The team has the skills and experience to make this a success. If you’re backing a product, you’re backing the team first. Just take a look at this line up:
- Club Chairman: Alex Horne – Former Chairman of the English Football Association.
- Joint CEO: Guy Rogers – Former CEO of Fitzdares, Director at Squawka and Consultant at 21st Club, valuing and predicting football player performance.
- Joint CEO: Chris Cragg – Fantasy League Advisor, Squawka FD and CEO/Co-Founder of Immersive Album (acquired by Melody VR).
- Head of Product: Adam – Sorare Academy Founder, Fantasy Football Scout contributor, Gaming Fanatic and Former MOD Project Manager.
- Head of Brand & Marketing: Tom Russell – Head of Brand at Footbolé and Brand/Advertising for Heineken, Adidas, Mars and more.
- Head of Football: Mike Burrows – Sports Lecturer, Author and National Governing Body of Sport background.
- And me!
Some of you might have realised that there’s a bit of a link to a previous platform I was supportive of: FiveYards.
FiveYards made the decision to close after Football Index and Footstock went under. They gave a complete refund to everyone who was on the platform at that point and so were one of the few products that came out of that mess with their reputation intact (in my eyes). CLUB builds on some of the learning from that platform – like the dynamic transfer market and the focus on scouting – but takes it in a different direction, which seems a sensible move given how much the environment has changed since then.
NFTs may end up being part of this – but they aren’t the focus. I’m a firm believer in the power of NFTs and I really think they are here to stay but we’re very early on this journey and I understand that they’re not for everyone. For now, the barrier to entry into NFT projects remains high, both in terms of cost and also understanding.
We’re still a good few years away from NFTs going mainstream so I think it’s important that any new platforms are able to offer a traditional/non-crypto model alongside future-proofing themselves with an element of NFTs for those who are already confident in this space. CLUB aims to develop a way for people to be able to sell their clubs and its assets to others, potentially turning a profit but without directly affecting the gameplay. Essentially allowing people a way to really back themselves (and their club), if they want to.
NFTs are likely to play a part in this in the future but that’s some way off while the important stuff is sorted out first (building a great free-to-play game).
When is CLUB released?
It takes time to build a mobile game so things are still in development at this point. The aim is to launch a beta version in April 2022 to catch the end of this football season, with the full game released for the start of next season. This means you’ve got plenty of chance to help shape the game in the meantime.
We’ve just opened the Discord so head over there to talk to us about what you’d like to see: https://discord.gg/vTdKxtDCTF
So that’s a bit of a teaser for you but watch this space… more news coming soon and plenty to get excited about!