As part of the promotion of Ours BT Sport gave us the opportunity to have a brief chat with Maggie Murphy, General Manager at Lewes FC and contributor to the film. You can see an interview Maggie above in which she gives an insight into her vision and passion.
In 2010 Lewes FC converted to a 100% fan owned, democratic, not-for-profit football club. Fans can buy a share and thereby have a say in the running of their club. Lewes now have 1600 owners spread across the world through 34 countries a wonderful success for a community football club.
In 2017 they took a step further and Lewes FC made history by becoming the first professional football club to pay male and female footballers equally. They have the same facilities, play on the same pitches and the marketing budget is the same.
At the time of the announcement lots of people were quick to proclaim that this was too soon, destined to failure and so on. Instead Lewes have gone from strength to strength and (before the pandemic) crowd sizes had levelled up.
The pandemic has forced a re-think on communication with owners and the move from the club house meetings to on-line which means that owners abroad can now take part.
In 2020 Lewes joined the Coalition against Gambling ads in order to try and rid UK football of all the advertising and sponsorship by betting companies that is normalising gambling, particularly to young people.
The pandemic has also seen players and club members delivering food parcels and prescriptions, the club contributing to the local food bank and participation in the free school meals programme, the club must be a huge asset to the community.
This brings us to ‘Ours’, the latest instalment of the award-winning BT Sport Film series, which premieres on Tuesday 2nd March at 10:30pm on BT Sport 1
Ours is a film that speaks to, and speaks up for, football supporters. They have been conspicuous by their absence during the Covid-19 pandemic, when they have been missed in silent stadia. How will they help to shape the future of a game undergoing an existential crisis?
Written and narrated by award-winning journalist Michael Calvin, Ours offers a unique insight into modern football, away from the glitz, glamour and financial strength of the Premier League. It asks searching questions about identity and belonging, and finds hope in clubs that are run by, or heavily influenced by, their fans.
Ours provides an in-depth examination of a variety of ownership models, and outlines the emotional bond between supporters and a variety of clubs, including:
- Bury AFC: the most recent example of how fans rebuilt a club from the ground up.
- AFC Wimbledon: the quintessential fan-run model and of what can be achieved by a group of determined fans.
- Portsmouth: run into the ground by a series of questionable owners, the fans stepped in and saved the club from the brink of extinction.
- AFC Rushden and Diamonds: how does a phoenix club deal with the constraints of the current pandemic?
- Ebbsfleet: how can a club survive when it is the victim of an ill-fated experiment with fan ownership?
- Lewes FC: a look at how community-run football can serve as a force for social change and unite a local community.
- Hashtag United and The Sidemen: what does the next generation of football fan look like?
Featuring contributions from fans, players and owners from up and down the footballing pyramid, the film marks the third collaboration between BT Sport Films and Calvin, with each film looking at the broader, more human impacts of the sport. It follows No Hunger in Paradise, which explored the perils and pitfalls of football’s academies and youth development, and State of Play, an examination of the footballing zeitgeist of the 21st century.
Sally Brown, Executive Producer of BT Sport Films, said: “The last 12 months have brought the importance of fans to the fore, the pandemic re-emphasising the role that their passion plays both in and away from the stadium. A strikingly relevant piece of work, Ours confronts the flaws of the modern game and celebrates those that help make it a reality.”
This BT Sport production, directed by Tom Boswell, is the latest in the award-winning BT Sport Films series:
- Proud To Be Town: the story of Harrogate Town fighting their way through a global pandemic, battling for survival and promotion to the football league for the first time.
- Greavsie: the tale of the rise, fall and rise again of Jimmy Greaves one of the finest footballers in British history.
- Bosman – The Player Who Changed Football: looks into the story of Jean-Marc Bosman and how the Belgian footballer took on European football’s governing bodies to redefine the game.
- Too Good To Go Down: rarely told story of how relegation in the mid-1970s enabled the modern-day Manchester United to emerge
Customers can watch Ours in more ways than ever before, on TV, online or via the BT Sport App, with customers also able to sign up contract free with the BT Sport Monthly Pass. For more information on BT Sport visit www.bt.com/sport