Fan vote to make final history

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The Independent Online

Ebbsfleet United will make Wembley history in May when they face Torquay United in the FA Trophy final with a team picked via the internet by the thousands of members of the MyFootballClub group that now owns the club.

Ebbsfleet progressed to the final on Saturday by drawing away 1-1 in the second leg of their semi-final against Aldershot, the runaway leaders in the Blue Square Premier. They won the first leg 3-1. The 4-2 aggregate win sends them to Wembley for the first time in their history.

Formerly known as Gravesend and Northfleet, Ebbsfleet are the first club in the world to be owned by a website collective. MyFC, which now has more than 29,000 members in more than 70 countries, secured a 75 per cent controlling stake in the club in January. Members pay an annual £35 fee to be part of the venture, and vote on many aspects of running the club, including team selection.

That is the most controversial aspect of the project, and members, after an "acclimatisation period", will take over selection duties in the next few weeks. Ebbsfleet's manager, Liam Daish, accepts it as part of a takeover that effectively saved a cash-strapped club. The irony is that Ebbsfleet's superb form and march to Wembley in recent months has been down to him.

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