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Electric City FC Jordan Brown

Brown On ECFC: ‘The Ship Sank When Rob Left’

By on January 10, 2024 0 3507 Views

Former Electric City FC striker Jordan Brown – who once represented West Ham before embarking on a journeyman career that landed him in Canada on two occasions – has chimed in on the demise of his former club.

The League1 Ontario side was once hailed as one of the league’s most ambitious clubs, but has now ceased football operations after just two seasons of operation.

“I’ve played in many different countries, seen many different things, many different organizations and how they do things, so I think someone like me is well-equipped to have a discussion on something like this,” said Brown in a video posted online.

His former Peterborough, Ontario-based club launched in 2021 with Rob Jenkins as its Club President, who arrived as a promising hire who had helped organizations like Cavalry FC and the Calgary Foothills get their start.

Electric City FC Rob Jenkins

Jenkins posited large aspirations that Electric City FC could not only prove a draw in Peterborough, but one day turn professional through the Canadian Premier League. That bold game plan drew in players like Brown, though the club itself got off to a rocky start.

ECFC’s early days saw Jenkins forced to deal with with a fast turnaround of staff departures: inaugural head coach Michael Marcoccia was replaced by Jamie Sherwood before the season even began, but even he was sacked after just four games and was replaced by Randy Ribeiro. The club also saw Keaton Robbins – a catalyst in the team’s creation – depart just two weeks head of its inaugural season, with Jenkins himself being sacked by club ownership midseason.

The club had reported Rob’s departure was a mutual decision, but discussions with club members we held at the time suggested it was anything but.

“Electric City FC…it’s sad, because everyone who was there – everyone knows what was going on. I’m not going to get into too much detail, but I will say that as soon as Rob departed the ship sank,” said Brown, who described the departures of Sherwood and Jenkins as ‘irreversible’ decisions from club ownership.

“When Rob left, so did some of the marketing team, the organization was off…things as little as the food were different from what we were getting. Travel became very stressful for players,” said Brown, who described that the professionalism in their environment took a steep regression.

The shift in club operations preceded a significant exodus of their high-profile talent following the inaugural season, with former pros like Quillan RobertsZach Ellis-Hayden, and Jordan Brown himself all choosing to leave.

“The miscommunication between the owner and Rob, in my opinion, that was bull****,” the striker reflected bluntly.

“Cutting costs on the President who made the club, made the kit, got the supporters group together, who also helped fund the club and had stake in the club…the whole idea, the connection to CPL and everything like that, you’re getting rid of that guy. To me, that’s backwards…and then you don’t bring in another guy to succeed him.”

League1 Ontario Electric City Guelph United
Photo Credit: Martin Bazyl / League1 Ontario

The second season saw attendance figures dwindle to an average of 200 spectators per match, a far cry from when they smashed the league’s single match attendance record in year one.

Club co-owner Gregory Couch said that it would be a long road for the club back in September, a few weeks before it came out that head coach Randy Ribeiro was also let go, and then the club itself folding after having not posted anything online since August.

“People think in football that… you know, they have an ego, especially owners, right? They think they get rid of one person and you can see what they were doing, that they can replicate that, whereas that doesn’t happen in football.”

“I understand in business terms, that can happen: you can see a blueprint of how someone did things and you can emanate it. In football, it’s very different: it’s the one sport where you can’t get rid of the actual heartbeat of a football club as an organization and expect things to run.”

Electric City FC randy Ribeiro
Photo Credit: Martin Bazyl

Electric City FC has now officially relinquished its League1 Ontario licenses to Pickering FC, who had been unable to field Premier Division teams this year.

With ECFC having qualified for the men’s and women’s top flights, their spots will now go to the teams directly behind them. The Woodbridge Strikers men’s team and St. Catharines Roma Wolves women’s team will now go from the Championship division to the Premier division in 2024.

Brown had left Electric City FC after their first season to complete his return to professional football through Pacific FC, though the midseason reinforcement left the club last January.

The striker states he had communicated his concerns with Electric City’s stability to the league at the time, and simply hopes that those involved in the project learn from the experience.

“You can’t just forget about it and move on, it’s not one of those businesseses. There’s a lot of things that go into it,” he concludes. “Sad ending to some great memories and a what could’ve been moment for the community.”

Rob Jenkins is now with League2 Ontario expansion side Dutch Connections FC, which will begin play with a men’s team this year.

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