Louis Tomlinson is milking One Direction's fans to finance his football hobby

Think of all the charities that could have been helped with the money being 'crowdfunded' for Doncaster Rovers

Share

A millionaire has bought a mid-league football team. So far, so incredibly boring. But this is no ordinary millionaire – the new owner of Doncaster Rovers is One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson. If you don’t know who the floppy haired 22 year-old is, ask the nearest 14 year-old girl, and then cover your ears.

The deal was finalised earlier today, and was swiftly followed by the Tomlinson-fronted launch of the largest ever UK Crowdfunder campaign, which the aim of raising a cool £2million for the failing club, and a hashtag #FansUnited, that within minutes was the most trending topic on Twitter worldwide. 

As ‘Donny’ fans go, there’s no doubting that Tomlinson is the real deal; earlier this year he even played for the team’s reserve side. "For me, this is all about the football, the community and restoring the excitement and desire to making Doncaster Rovers the most exciting club to play for in Yorkshire" he writes on the Crowdfunder website.

Of course, it’s rather admirable and sweet that Tomlinson is spending his royalties helping out his fading hometown team, rather than on the more predictable rounds of drugs and strippers. What fan doesn't dream of owning their chosen side? And frankly, what a ludicrously wealthy young pop star chooses to fritter his money on doesn’t really bother me - although it is worth considering whether there may have been causes more deserving of his millions.

But it’s not his spending habits I have a problem with. What I can’t get to grips with is the obvious manipulation of his vast – and I mean absolutely, mind-bogglingly vast – young fan base to help financially prop up a failing club. This is a football team, remember, that is now languishing in the dizzy heights of League One. 

The One Direction phenomenon is hard to get your head around. Harry Styles, another  1D member, has said that his band is 'even bigger' than The Beatles, and he may well be right. They’re set to have the first ever $1 billion tour this year. They can sell out 80,000 capacity venues in hours. If one of the boys is spotted talking to a woman, she is inundated with death threats. How long do you think it will take to squeeze £2million out of the seething mass of impressionable young Directioners?

And let’s not forget that Tomlinson is part of the richest boy band in history. Alone, he is worth an estimated £14 million, and rising. If he was so eager to help the club, it wouldn’t have been much of a stretch to cough up the money himself, rather than ask love-struck teenagers, desperate for the attention of their idol, to donate their pocket money. 

But of course it’s far easy to just plaster his grinning face all over a campaign page instead. A face that is, incidentally, strictly controlled by his management company. Tomlinson had actually tried to buy the football team on two separate occasions, but the deals had fallen through because of failed negotiations with his management over ownership of his image rights. Don’t think that this is just a story of a plucky young lad following an entrepreneurial dream – the higher echelons know exactly what they are doing: cynically mining his fans for cash. And who can blame them? The Doncaster Rovers usually expect around 100 supporters at a Keepmoat Stadium match. When Tomlinson was on the bench, 4,000 turned up.

Crowdfunder pages work by offering incentives for financial pledges. For £10 a thank-you video of Tomlinson is delivered straight to your inbox. For £200 you get the chance to be a mascot at a game, and meet Louis, ‘if he is there’. £12,000 buys you a dazzling ten minutes in his company. I wonder how many parents will be hiding their wallets tonight.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Tony Abbott: A man most Australian women would like to pat on the back...iron in hand

Caroline Garnar
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea performs in California  

Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting

Yomi Adegoke
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there