Paul wants fan power to Yank Fort up. (Sport)
Published Date: 28 June 2008 By Anthony Haggerty
BUSINESSMAN Paul McDonald yesterday revealed why he believes little Fort William can succeed where David Beck-
ham failed - by selling football to the Americans.
The Cincinatti-based tycoon believes he can transform the Highland League whipping boys into a powerful force
which will capture the imagination Stateside. And he intends to produce a TV series documenting their efforts to
turn them into an internet fan-controlled club by calling them America's Team.
McDonald said: quot;I watched the David Beckham move to LA Galaxy and predicted that interest would soon wane and
that has been the case. To grab the public's attention in America you need a story, a team they can follow from the
worst to best and root for along the journey. Fort William gives us all that drama and of course you have the added
dimension of the Scottish heritage.quot;
McDonald has other reasons for selecting the Lochaber club to
become America's new Dream Team. He said: quot;I have a long love of
Scottish football. It began when I listened to matches on the radio
before the internet was freely available.
quot;I was first attracted to the Rangers nine-in-a-row side with players
like Ally McCoist and Brian Laudrup. Baseball was on strike at the
time so my interest grew from there.quot;
McDonald then kept up to speed with the best teams in Scotland
but wanted to know more about the sides at the bottom end - and
that's where Fort William came into it. Their record last season of
played 28, won one, lost 27 and a goal difference of minus 142 made
them a ripe target for his plan for an American dream team of losers
going from the bottom to the top which would be a must-watch for American audience.
McDonald wants to get fans in the states involved via the internet, paying to take part in the running of the club.
This will include selection of players similar to the recent MyFootballClub.com takeover of English Blue Square
Premier side Ebbsfleet United.
The second phase is to create a market for Fort William merchandise among the small but passionate group of
football fans in the US. Then he hopes to recruit American players, some with international experience, to drive the
club forward. Finally, he wants to make a TV reality programme that will film the journey of the club. McDonald
added: quot;Fort William is the obvious place for the America's Team.quot;
The Claggan Park committee were receptive to McDonald's initial advances when the entertainment media execu-
tive started speaking to them about what he was aiming to do. He admits he was jealous of the takeover of
Ebbsfleet by 21,000 internet fans by MyfootballClub.com and that they had stolen a bit of a march on his plans. He
said: quot;I had created the vision of an American-backed team struggling against all the odds in a foreign land and I had
created the model for fans involvement to take the team forward about 18 months ago.
quot;I am jealous that they were faster than me in getting their plan implemented but in a way it helped as it convinced
my backers in America that it can happen.quot;
By Stuart Taylor
Publish: 26 June, 2008
FORT William Football Club's Claggan Park could be centre In an exclusive interview with the Lochaber News, the American
stage in a 21st century American Revolution. The Highland businessman behind the proposal, Paul McDonald, outlines the
League club has signed a historic sponsorship deal with a US thinking behind the tie up which he believes will leave a legacy
entertainment company which, in time, could lead to the side of improved facilities, a flourishing youth set-up and a success-
becoming a star of a reality television series in America. ful football team which its town can be proud to follow.
A number of American semi-professional players are set to
join the Fort William squad in June 2009. PMAC Tonight Enter-
tainment LLC specialises in sports and reality interactive
media. The firm is in the process of developing a
membership-based website that will generate additional
revenue for reinvestment back into the football club.
The website will be ready for the team's first match of the
season in Aug, 2008. The website AmericasTeamFC.com will be
featured on the kits for the upcoming 2008– 2009 season. The
sponsorship is for one year with the possibility of an additional
three-year option. Yesterday (Wednesday), Fort William FC chairman Jimmy Camp-
bell told the LN: quot;We're delighted to have the shirt sponsorship
A source from PMAC Tonight Entertainment confirmed that deal concluded and we should have our new kit within the next
the company is in negotiations for a potential reality-based two to three weeks.
television series based upon the players and that the
AmericasTeamFC.com sponsorship will allow American quot;At the moment it would not be appropriate to be comment too
players and viewers to participate in the performance and much about the future plans as there is still a lot of discussion
success of Fort William FC. and negotiation to take place. It is exciting, thought, and we're
looking forward to meeting Mr McDonald in the near future to
“Recruiting efforts will focus on American players that are visa take things further.
and league-eligible to complement the currently understaffed
Scottish team,quot; said the source. quot;This partnership could be a great thing for Fort William, not just
the football club, but for the wider community and particularly
quot;Scouts will be contacting coaches at American universities for youth development in this area. I must emphasise there is
and other semi-amateur teams to identify qualified and much work still to be done and the council, the Highland
eligible team candidates. League and other club chairmen will be included in our future
quot;One person who has been asked to join the scouting efforts is
legendary Scottish winger Charlie Cooke, who currently runs a Colin Neilson, the club's life president said: quot;If the American
successful football academy in the US.quot; dream comes off I will be absolutely delighted. I'm pretty
excited about it but I know there is a lot of work to be done and
The AmericasTeamFC.com website will be heavily promoted our representatives are busy working on contractual matters.
within the US with the hopes that Fort William will attract a
large American fan base. quot;The Americans have even been in touch with John McGinlay,
the former Scotland international who comes from Caol, to act
Jennifer Wolfe, a spokeswoman for PMAC Entertainment said: as a potential scout in America.
quot;The website will follow the players and the club on their quot;This can only brighten up the place. The club has had a hard
journey from worst to first.quot; time in recent years and I know a lot of people might sneer at
what's happening but I can only see it as positive.quot;
Between seven and 10 American footballers are expected to
arrive next June in time for training for the 2009–2010. firstname.lastname@example.org
Reality is they're rubbish – but can Fort William
FC now be global TV superstars?
Published Date: 28 June 2008
By BRIAN FERGUSON
DESPITE living on the other side of the Atlantic, he is a diehard Scottish football fan – though his team languishes at
the foot of the Highland League.
But if Paul McDonald's plan comes off, Fort William FC will not only rocket up the league with the help of a string of
aspiring American players, they will also become TV stars.
The American media executive yesterday unveiled his proposals toADVERTISEMENTturn Fort William into a fan-
controlled club, whose followers will decide its fate via an internet site.
The website of Mr McDonald's TV company, PMAC Tonight, describes the project as a quot;high-concept reality
(television] show that involves replacing the current players of a Scottish soccer team with American players and
putting America in total control of the team's destiny … (which] will transform the world of fantasy sports by turning
the fantasy into realityquot;.
If successful, he plans to roll out the concept to English football, and into the rest of Europe.
But one thing is holding his ambitions in check: the club has yet to sign up to his plans.
Bemused Fort William FC officials say all they have agreed with Mr McDonald is a kit sponsorship deal for the forth-
coming season, which will see their shirts boasting the logo of quot;America's Teamquot;.
James Campbell, the club's chairman, said: quot;All we've decided is to agree a kit sponsorship deal. We've certainly not
agreed to sell the club or allow it to be run over the internet.quot;
However, that has not prevented the 43-year-old – who admits his previous television experience has been limited to
producing commercials for spectacle and contact-lens manufacturers – announcing details of his scheme to the
His website proudly states: quot;Members who pay a fee will be entitled to 'manage' a diverse group of young, dynamic
Americans to go and represent our country in one of the world's most beautiful but difficult locations for Americans
to play – the Highlands of Scotland. Millions will be glued to the competition and rally around the team that is against
Mr McDonald claims to have roots in the Lochaber area, with his ancestors being said to have left Scotland around
150 years ago for a new life in County Mayo in the Republic of Ireland, before heading across the Atlantic.
He told The Scotsman: quot;I'm deadly serious about this. It may sound like a huge wind-up but I came over to meet
various officials at the club in May.
quot;I've been a big fan of Scottish football since the mid-1990s when there was a big baseball strike on in the US. I started
to follow Glasgow Rangers, when they had great players like McCoist and Laudrup. I came to Scotland on holiday in
1997 and toured around but I just fell in love with Fort William, and have followed the team ever since.quot;
June 24, 2008
Tycoon plots reality TV deal for club
SCOTLAND’S FOOTBALL NO-HOPERS MAY FIELD
AMERICAN PLAYERS AFTER AGREEING SHIRT
BY KEN JONES
A Highland football team, widely regarded as the worst side in Scottish senior football, could be in line for an
American invasion and massive television following. Fort William Football Club has attracted the interest of an
American tycoon whose entertainment company has promised a shirt sponsorship deal and is negotiating a TV
reality show centred on the Highland League outfit.
There is also the prospect of up to 10 semi-professional American college soccer players joining the beleaguered
club next June. Club chairman James Campbell is cautiously optimistic about the proposals, describing them as
“revolutionary” for a team which ended last season with one solitary victory.
Behind the project is millionaire Paul MacDonald, whose forebears left the Lochaber area for the US in 1850, and
who runs a TV show called Tonight Entertainment.
He said: “I have been a Scottish football fan for most of my adult life and as much as I enjoy a great Old Firm
match, I love the energy and passions of the smaller teams as well.”
A deal has been agreed for the kit sponsorship which will see jerseys bearing the “AmericasTeamFC.com” logo.
The deal is for a year with the possibility of an additional three-year option. The US firm is also in the process of
developing a membership-based website that will generate revenue to reinvest in the football club.
Tonight Entertainment has also confirmed that it is in negotiations for a potential reality-based television series
based on the players.American players could also complement the currently understaffed Scottish team. Among
those being asked to join the scouting efforts is former Scottish international winger Charlie Cooke, who runs a
successful football academy in the US.
Former Fort William star “Super” John McGinlay has also been contacted for a possible role. Both men, along with
the Tonight organisation, are based near Cincinnati.
Jennifer Wolfe, a spokes-woman for pmac Entertainment, said: “The website will follow the players and the club
on their journey from worst to first.”
Claggan Park directors are said to be enthusiastic and behind the partnership and the potential for bringing in
players to boost the club’s Highland League fortunes.
Mr Campbell said: “The strips should be with us in the next few weeks. We will be the best-dressed team in the
By Stuart Taylor
Publish: 14 August, 2008
Stars and Strips
IT is game on for Fort William Football Club's American He said: quot;We're excited to be here for the first home match of
revolution. the season. We certainly would have hoped for a better result
than losing 5-0 to Shetland, but congratulations to them. As far
Fantasy football will become a reality from next August when as the strips go, we're as excited as can be to arrive at the field
up to a dozen players from the United States will join the and look out and see the players in the strips.
Claggan Park squad as part of a unique plan to turn the
Highland League basement boys into championship quot;They look fabulous and we're excited to be part of the football
contenders. club, to be part of the town, part of the franchise and part of
the community now. Hopefully we can join forces together and
American businessman Paul McDonald, owner of Cincinnati- together build a great result in the end.
based PMAC Tonight Entertainment, a company which
produces sports and entertainment shows, has told the quot;The strip sponsorship is the first step and we're hoping to use
Lochaber News that it is all systems go for his America's Team the sponsorship to gain notoriety across Scotland and the UK.
FC project. We were proud to bring three different strips to Fort William, a
yellow kit, black kit and white kit. Hopefully they'll dust out the
Mr McDonald's plan, reported in the LN in June, is to create an white kit from time to time.
interactive, fan-controlled franchise via the internet. Between
now and August 2009, he aims to attract up to 25,000 mem-
bers who will be entitled to quot;managequot; the American players
who will come to play for Fort William.
Members who sign up to the scheme will be able to pick the
players who make the starting line-up and quot;create strategies
and formationsquot;. Overall control would, however, remain in
the hands of the team manager.
Negotiations are ongoing in the US to create a reality televi-
sion series which will focus on the American players as they
attempt to bring Fort William FC quot;from worst to firstquot;. The
series would follow the players' exploits both on and off the
The first stage of the American deal has been concluded and quot;We're excited to be able to do the first step of the sponsorship.
has seen the Claggan Park team presented with three new Of course we're going to use that to spread the word that
sets of strips emblazoned with the TeamAmericasFC.com AmericasteamFC is going to be involved with the Fort William
logo. This website has now gone live. project. The next step is to spread the word, through the strips,
and through web advertising doing a lot of what we call viral
Mr McDonald (43), whose ancestors are from Lochaber, marketing, targeting of lots of soccer websites in the UK,
returned to Claggan at the weekend to present the new Europe and the US.
strips and take in the North of Scotland Challenge Cup match
against Shetland. Unfortunately Fort crashed to a 5-0 defeat. quot;We have launched the website –
Mr McDonald also took in Tuesday evening's home match [http://www.americasteamfc.com] – and basically the idea is
against Rothes in the North Cup, with Fort succumbing to a for people to get personally involved with the team, the
3-0 loss. chance to be very interactive with the club.quot;
He was accompanied on his trip by Aaron Woesner, director quot;You can sign up from now but we don't officially start until
of e-commerce and web design with PMAC Entertainment. next season but you'll get the benefit of a reduced rate if you
After Saturday's match, Mr McDonald took time out to speak sign up between now and the start of next season.
to the Lochaber News.
quot;What we want to do is encourage folks to sign up early and giving members the chance to help pick the starting eleven, to
participate into the club and the funds that we generate from choose the five who go on the bench. The manager will have
that will help bring more players and better facilities here to latitude to make changes during the match as they see fit but
Fort William.quot; it will bring people a lot closer to the action than they ever
Mr McDonald said that since his first trip to Fort William in
May, his company has been building a management team, quot;Certainly there are a lot of Americans and a lot of people
acquiring resources and domain sites, as well as recruiting across the world who think nothing of spending £30 or £50
financial and business experts. quot;Another big step was getting every month playing fantasy sports. It's a $3.1 billion industry
someone in America who understands the rigours of High- now so we're hoping that we can give them something a lot
land League football and there is no better representative for more real versus something that's fake.
that than John McGinlay who has agreed to help attract and
recruit players on the American side,quot; said Mr McDonald. quot;We will offer them something different. It will be unique and
something with an American flavour. It will be something that
quot;Of course the whole idea is to bring up to 12 American has never been tried before.quot; Mr McDonald believes Fort
players over here and John will be instrumental in being able William FC can only gain from the deal and is optimistic the
to identify and scout the right talent who will be able to local populace will take the concept to its heart.
come over here and perform on the field. He knows what it
takes to win and he knows what it takes to play at this level He said: quot;Hopefully the club will gain some exposure, they'll
so I am putting my faith and trust in him being able to find gain some notoriety and they'll have some folk come out to
the right type of players. play football for them who didn't want to play football for
them before. Certainly the club will have some better finances
quot;We have eyed some players already but if John tells me no, to attract and sign some better players, some extra coaches.
he's not going to cut it', then I'm going to believe in John.
quot;Everyone is waiting to see who jumps in first but we haven't quot;For the town this could lead to extra tourism with people
been pushing hard yet until we are sure what kind of finan- coming to the area to see the team, to see the players.
cial return we can guarantee folk – both for the players here Certainly, if we can take a team which loses 5-0 to Shetland and
in Scotland and the ones coming over from the States. turn them into contenders for the Highland League then I
think we'll be able to give the people of the town somethinfun
quot;But we're probably going to have an answer for that in the to come out and watch hopefully give the kids some heroes
next couple of weeks. By the time we come back here with and something to look forward to on a Saturday afternoon.
the video crew in late September, early October, we could be
able to be a little more aggressive in our recruiting efforts.quot; quot;You want to see a stadium full of kids and families on a Satur-
day, especially on a nice day. The idea is that we want to give
So, what is the big idea? something back to the community that they are proud of.quot;
Mr McDonald said: quot;Americasteamfc.com is a chance similar Since the news of his plans for Fort FC first broke in June, Mr
to one provided to a non-league side in England a few years McDonald says reaction has been on the whole positive.
ago. It's a similar concept, though we want to take it a few
steps further, both on the interactivity level by giving people quot;The response in Scotland and the UK has been a lot more
a say in who plays and what strategies are used as well as positive than negative. I even got an email from a local guy, a
other interactivity levels with the players and coaches. sports officer in the area who works with youngsters and who
just wanted to wish us all the best.
quot;But we want to bring it forward and bring it more into
people's lives and into the living room both through the quot;The vast majority of folks who really know what is going on
website, video-on-demand and through television. We do here at Fort William, who really know the situation, I would say
have a number of production companies interested and the it has been on the whole positive feedback.quot;
nucleus of the idea was to turn it into a reality television
series. quot;We do have a lot of people who are very interested in quot;But this is not anything like that. Certainly, the contract which
that concept, who love the idea of a half-Scottish, half- has been signed between my company and the Fort William
American mix and are very interested to see what comes of committee states that any decision to look at moving up to the
that. Scottish league, which of course is pretty unreal to think about
at this time, is not up to me, it will be up to them.
quot;Even if the TV deal wouldn't happen; although my lawyers
seem confident it's a done deal, let's just pretend it doesn't – quot;It's not even on my radar but if the committee wanted that to
even with the website alone we can guarantee this will be a happen then that would be entirely their decision to make.quot;
financial success and guarantee a return for Fort William.
However this turns out, this will be profitable for Fort.quot;
He added: quot;This is about interaction with a football club,
Worst team in Scotland selected to star on U.S. reality
TV; Lochaber show more: Fort stars appear on American
reality TV Holding the Fort: Paul McDonald
Published Date: June 24, 2008 The Daily Mail By Steven Henry
IN the annals of British football, the Fort William FC chairman James Camp- of the team's last matches and is
club is in the running to be theworst bell said: 'There are other things to thoughtto have approached club
ever. comewhich will be beneficial for us but, officials with his proposals.
at this moment, it would be wrong for
The unfortunate player wearing the meto discuss them. The first step is a new kit sponsorship
goalie's jersey for Fort William FC deal, which will see the club's shirtsfea-
pickedthe ball out of the net an aston- “There's a long way to go but we are ture the logo Americas- TeamFC.com.
ishing 158 times last season. At the encouraged by this, because the In April, Mr McDonald told the High-
same time, the Highland League side's proposalcould help our players - and landLeague website that his ancestors
forwards managed to score only theirs. It will give our club a bit of a are from the Lochaber area - they went
16goals. boost andI think it will be good for the to
Highland League.' Despite their appall-
Unsurprisingly, The Fort - as the club is ingrecord, Fort William attracted the America in the 1850s. He said: 'I have
known to its handful of longsuffering- attention from Cincinnati-based PMAC been a Scottish football fan for most
supporters - finished bottom of the TonightEntertainment LLC. ofmy adult life - and, as much as I enjoy
table with a measly three points. the Old Firm matches, I love the energ-
Mr McDonald is the owner of the firm, yand passion of the quot;smallerquot; teams as
All the more surprising, then, that Fort which has a page on its websiteadver- well.
William, which plays its home games tising 'America's Team FC' - the creation
inthe shadow of Ben Nevis, is at the of 'America's firstfan-controlled' 'I had not been to Scotland for ten
centre of bizarre proposals to make it franchise via the internet. It states that years but the area round Fort William
thestar of an American reality TV show. members, who pay afee, will be entitled hasalways been dear to us.' A similar
A U.S. businessman is behind plans to manage the Americans in Fort scheme was used in the recent take-
whichwould turn the Claggan Park William. over atEbbsfleet United, a non-league
outfit into a fancontrolled team where club based in Gravesend, Kent.
supportersare given the chance to pick They will be able to pick the players
the team and decide on tactics. who play and 'create strategies andfor- It was acquired by MyFootball-
mations', according to the PMAC web- Club.co.uk that now has 21,000
As part of the deal, ten young American site. Money raised will be reinvested in member/owners whoare involved in
players will be sent to theInverness- the football club, it adds. running the club - with 2,000 of those
shire town to play for the club. The registered based inScotland.
players who are chosen by the viewers Last night, the Highland League's
will be sent to Fort William - one ofthe secretary John Grant said he was Fort William joined the Highland
wettest towns in Scotland - to stay in unaware ofthe plans. League in 1986 but the side has
purpose-built accommodation at finishedbottom 11 times since.
thefoot of Ben Nevis. He said: 'We have heard nothing about They play at the stunning Claggan
it so we are in the dark as much asan- Park, right at the foot of Ben Nevis.
Last night, club officials were remain- yone. All I would say is good luck to The average crowd is 150 with the
ing tight-lipped about the scheme them if it comes off because they have- record attendance 1,500.
butadmitted they were due to be spon- been on a bad run for a few seasons Th club has yet to win any major
sored by an American entertainment now.' Mr McDonald, whose family roots honours and struggles to compete
firm run byPaul McDonald. arein Lochaber, was a spectator at one with shintyfor popularity.
Sunday 24 August 2008
US millionarie vows to life Scottish
football club from ‘worst to first’
NEW SPONSOR AIMS TO BRING IN YOUNG AMERICAN
An American millionaire with family roots in Glencoe sealed a sponsorship deal with Highland League side
Fort William FC at the weekend.
Paul MacDonald, 43, who runs PMacTonight Entertainment in the US, has vowed to lift the club “from worst
to firstquot; in the table under the banner of “America’s Team FC”
Fort William finished bottom of the Highland League last season with just one win – and no draws – in 28
games. And on Saturday they were hammered 5-0 at home by Shetland, a team not even in the Highland
League, in the North Region Challenge Cup.
Cincinnati-based Mr MacDonald was a spectator at one of the club’s final matches of the season in May and
afterwards told club bosses he wanted to base a US television reality show around them.
The deal includes drafting in a contingent of young American players to complement Fort's existing squad,
and upgrading the club’s Claggan Park ground. Mr MacDonald presented Fort William with three sets of
Nike strips and tracksuits yesterday. The new Fort FC shirts feature the logo AmericasTeamFC.com
The three-year sponsorship arrangement will see Fort receive a monthly “licence fee” of around £3,500. Club
chairman James Campbell said: “Paul MacDonald is here for a few days and he'll take in the Claggan Park
match on Tuesday, when we play Rothes. During that time we shall be sitting down to discuss the Team
Mr MacDonald, whose Glencoe forebears emigrated to America in the 1850s, said: “I'm delighted to be here
“Our strips look fantastic. I'm looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Fort William FC, albeit
we are disappointed by today's result. We're sure better times are ahead for the team.”