Bedford businessman, Peter McCormack is a well-known name in the world of Bitcoin, hosting the podcast, ‘What Bitcoin Did’ with 1.3 million monthly downloads and a personal following of almost half a million on Twitter.
However, his latest challenge has just begun as the home grown operator has taken over Bedford FC, who play in the 10th tier of English football.
This purchase has come after Peter confirmed that a “substantial cash offer” to buy Bedford FC’s bigger brother, Bedford Town was turned down by the club ownership.
Division One of the Spartans South Midlands League is probably not the ideal resting place of a man with his sights set on the big time, but McCormack is not fazed by the challenges that lay ahead.
Speaking to Bedford Independent, Peter outlined the immediate tasks in front of his team.
“We have a lot of work to do. We want to sign some new players and we want to improve the facilities as much as we can. The town deserves better facilities than what we have at the moment.
“We’re keen to push for the playoffs this season and we still think that’s a possibility and hopefully we can press on from there.”
McCormack announced his purchase via a fourteen-tweet thread last week, promising to build a club with “Bitcoin at its heart”, while outlining the highly ambitious plans he and his team have for the club.
His thread began with a very simple message:
“This acquisition is part of a childhood dream to own a local Bedford club. We don’t have a big club where I live and I’ve always wanted to bring league football to the town.
“I am a Bitcoiner, we aim big. If we can separate money and state, we can get a football club into the Premier League.”
The thread continues to say that McCormack “expects to be laughed at and told we can’t”, but Bedford FC’s new Chairman explained exactly why he can.
“The state of football finance is interesting, to say the least, and something is obviously broken with a lot of clubs in debt, and many going out of business altogether.
“So why not try something different, that really can work? I want to create a new club that keeps its soul in Bedford but has true international appeal.
“I’m also very interested in improving the state of grassroots football, for example, by installing a new 4G pitch in Bedford.”
The sponsorship potential is certainly one huge arm that stands out from acquisitions of a similar nature; with McCormack already confirming £250,000 of sponsorship in a potential total of £1.5 million in the first year.
For a club in the tenth tier of English football, the sums are staggering and match those of a team in League One, but this backing is what McCormack argues will propel Bedford FC to new heights.
“There is no requirement for fans to purchase things in Bitcoin, no requirement for players to be paid in Bitcoin and so on. The club is simply backed up by the Bitcoin standard,” explains Peter.
“We have already secured £250,000 in sponsorship and there have been 133 enquiries about investing in the club already, and those are from people I do not personally know.”
“We already have the backing”
Indeed, the thread of tweets goes into detail about how reaching an international audience can help sustain the club, especially if and when the club reaches the Football League.
In the last few hours, the club has confirmed that the first two international supporters’ groups have been established in Boston and Cleveland in the United States.
This international support, argues McCormack, from a potential army of 150 million owners of Bitcoin across the planet, hold the key to the commercial success of Bedford FC that can translate to on the pitch success.
There are other strands of the club, such as the planned name change from Bedford FC to Real Bedford that can help attract an audience from locals in Bedford to the international arena.
Also, the potential of a social media audience that boasts numbers into the hundreds of thousands, a lot of whom are natural investors, also have a large part to play.
“Of course, I already have a platform to build on with the podcast and the Bitcoin community, but hopefully we can build something really special here in my hometown,” said Peter.
“Some are natural sceptics, and some are just jealous”
However, critics of the purchase have already made their voices heard; Nick Harris of sportingintelligence.com already expressing his considerable concerns to his 123,000 Twitter followers.
“You absolutely will fail in getting Bedford FC to the PL [Premier League]. For many regulatory, geographical and not least financial reasons,” he said directly to McCormack.
“Your first 3, 4, 5 promotions: easy peasy. Lob enough money and simple. Then you haemorrhage cash, stall and falter. But, good luck.”
Harris goes on to describe the “bitcoin standard” as “diversionary gobbledegook”, that “anyone who knows anything about football finance sees through immediately.”
Peter McCormack’s response to the critics is firm but magnanimous, simply stating: “There are always sceptics. Some are natural sceptics and some are just jealous.”
On the pitch, Bedford FC sit in seventh in Division One of the Spartans South Midlands League and after a 6-1 thrashing at Northampton Sileby at the weekend; the Bitcoin analogies were made clear:
“We lost 6-1. Short-term volatility.”
Away from Bedford, Peter is a Liverpool fan and with speculation abound over the contract status of star man, Mohamed Salah, Peter’s response to my suggestion of attracting him to Meadow Lane is treated with characteristic zeal:
“We have approached Liverpool and we’ll see what they come back with!”
McCormack’s ultimate aim however is to reignite the town’s pride in its local football team, and in a town where rugby dominates the sporting landscape, the Bitcoin revolution may well hold the key to football success.