Crawley Town takeover confirmed
Crawley Town have been taken over by investment group WAGMI United LLC.
The group had a takeover bid for fellow league 2 side Bradford City turned down earlier in this season.
A club statement said:
“Crawley Town Football Club can today confirm that investment group WAGMI United LLC have purchased Ziya Eren’s controlling shares of Crawley Town Football and Social Club Limited.
WAGMI United is dedicated to bringing Web3’s most innovative ideas and passionate communities to the world of sports. Founded by Preston Johnson and Eben Smith, WAGMI United seeks to reimagine how professional sports teams are owned and operated — building tight-knit communities of passionate fans and empowering them to take a personal stake in telling their team’s story and shaping its future. They are eager to bring this exciting new approach to the club.
“Crawley Town Football Club is a club with more than 125 years of rich history that we revere and respect. However, a conventional approach to ownership hasn’t worked, and the club is losing hundreds of thousands of pounds while its fans suffer through year after year of uninspiring results on the pitch,” said Preston Johnson, WAGMI United co-founder. “We think the club can do better and our fans deserve better. Sports are supposed to be fun and bring communities together. At Crawley Town, we’re going to shake up the status quo, try out some new ideas, and build a worldwide community of fans new and old that can be excited to cheer on the Red Devils together — stretching from West Sussex to anywhere in the world with an internet connection.”
WAGMI United also pledged a new era of unprecedented transparency and accountability to Crawley Town Football Club supporters and the Crawley community. With Johnson and Smith assuming roles as club directors, they plan to allow the fans to decide whether or not they keep those roles for the following season if the team does not achieve its goal: earning promotion to League One by the end of their second season in charge.
"If we're trying to build a community-club, and we are, then we have to build in mechanisms to hold ourselves accountable," said Eben Smith, WAGMI United co-founder. "So if Crawley Town Football Club doesn't get promoted to League One by the end of our second season, which we think is about 50/50, then we under-performed. If we underperform, Crawley Town fans should get to vote on who the next directors of the club are. We might run for reelection because it was clearly all Preston's fault, but we don’t just get to hold the fanbase hostage because our dad invented Cablevision."
The agreement with WAGMI United will see Ziya Eren, Erdem Konyar, Emre Eren and Nuhkan Ruzgar leave the board with immediate effect. In addition to Johnson and Smith, full details of a new board will be shared in due course.
Members of the WAGMI United group were present earlier in the season for the Reds’ win over Swindon Town and met with club management to discuss plans for the future. Having met with the group, departing Chief Executive Officer Erdem Konyar said, “A new exciting chapter awaits Crawley Town Football Club. Eben and Preston represent a united, passionate, energetic and intelligent group committed to the progress of the club. It’s been an honour to serve this special club with Mr Eren, to whom I thank for all of the support and commitment over the last six years.”
General Manager Tom Allman said, “Today’s news is really exciting for the future of this Football Club and the Crawley community. All of my dealings with Eben, Preston and the WAGMI group as a whole have been really positive and productive with plans already well underway for next season, with the fans and the community being centric to these. In tandem with this, I want to take this opportunity to thank the fans and sponsors for their continued support of the club, especially over the last couple of seasons where various aspects, not least the COVID-19 pandemic, have impacted on what we would’ve wanted to achieve - but to be continually backed, both socially and financially, has been nothing short of phenomenal. With today's news, I hope this is where we as a team can start to reward the fans and everyone associated with the club who have stuck with us over the years and give them a club and town to be truly proud of. Finally, a thank you to Ziya Eren for the support and the opportunities he has afforded me personally during his time at the club.”
First Team Manager John Yems said, “This is an exciting time for the club. Let’s hope that we can continue the good progress we have made and take the club forward. I would also like to place on record a thank you to the previous owners. They gave me the opportunity to manage the football club, and I wish them all the best for the future.”
Furthermore, having met with the foundation’s leadership, WAGMI United will be donating an initial £10,000 to the Crawley Town Community Foundation in order to further develop the community programme and work within the Crawley area. Speaking on the donation, Head of the Community Foundation Darren Ford said, “We would like to thank WAGMI United for their generous donation, which will help the Foundation to further support the community of Crawley. This is an exciting time not just for the Club, but also for the community, whom the Club and Foundation serve and we look forward to working with the WAGMI United group. The Foundation would also like to thank the previous owners for their support of the Foundation and wish them well for the future.”
Over the course of the next month, Johnson, Smith and members of the WAGMI United group will be contacting Season Ticket Holders and sponsors to outline their plans for the future with further announcements due in the coming weeks, before meeting local press and the wider fan base in early May. “