Crawley Town Fans Forum: Soundbites from WAGMI United's Eben Smith and Preston Johnson as they are quizzed by Reds supporters

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Crawley Town fans got to quiz new owners and co-chairmen Eben Smith and Preston Johnson tonight at their first Fans Forum.

Johnson has been speaking to Reds fans since he arrived last Thursday but this was the first time the pair have taken questions together since taking over the club.

The elephant in the room was the John Yems investigation and suspension, which was touched upon but it was clear there was nothing they could say on the situation until the investigation was complete.

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But Smith and Johnson appeared to make an impression on a lot of the fans who attended as they mapped out what could be an exciting future for the club.

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Crawley Town

After the Forum, Johnson told the Crawley Observer: “I was impressed with how respectful of the situation the fans were with us.”

The club are due to release the video of the forum in the next 24 hours but here are some of the soundbites from the evening:

In response to ‘why Crawley Town?’, Preston Johnson said: “I visited in January. The thing that stood out to me is how tight knit the family was here. We have an underdog story here and we believe we can make it a prosperous club”

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What is your first vision for the club? Eben Smith said: “We want win.” He added the first three weeks have been 'wild' and 'thrown a wrench in plans'.

How do you intend to get the club to profit? Eben: “We are hiring people who have done this. There is a lot that can be done to improve match day experience. We want try to bring an international audience to club. Its going to be a real challenge. Most sports we follow winning solves everything and that's what we have got to do.”

Where are you getting your advice from [regarding players to sign]? Eben said: “The people making that decision is in flux. Difficult question to answer at this moment. Hoping to have a resolution in coming days.”

Do you like the game? Eben: “It's pretty amazing, and tension towards the end is the best in any sport across the world.” Preston: “The brilliance of promotion and relegation doesn't exist in the US. That beauty is what brought us English football.” Eben: “That's why we are here.”

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Where will the squad be training next season? Preston: “On grass. Wherever we can train on grass. That’s the one thing the players have said to us.”

Can you make any promises on ticket prices? Eben said: “We had good meeting yesterday about that and hope to have good news in coming weeks.”

Season tickets, some people can’t afford it. Preston: “We will do what we can to have staggered payment.” Eben: “We are going g to offer something different.”

What is your vision of a community club? Eben: "You guys putting in ideas locally and us listening.”

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In previous years there has been a divide between club and community foundation. Preston: “There's plans in place. But if you have ideas on how we can work better together let us know.”

Eben: “This is about as absurd and bizarre situation we could have walked into.”

Preston: “Part of my role is to engrain myself in Crawley. I want to be here with you guys making optimal decisions on and off the pitch.”

Do you have a strategy of signing players? Eben: “What makes it tricky is we need to sort out who the captain of the ship is. We signed the 10 players recently, and we are pretty excited about that.”

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"There are priorities. There is a lot of debt in the club we want to clear that first. We have to make sure things are stable first.”

We should have a shop selling shirts in Crawley? “If anyone has any ideas how we do that please come forward.”

Eben on NFTs: “If we are right and successful it's going to be unbelievable for this club.”

On the stadium: Eben: “We signed a one year extension. We look forward to digging in with the council and sorting that.” Preston: “We will prioritise East stand.”

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Eben: "We have have put in £2m plus into club as well as buying it. We have no worries. We are in a good place to make a real difference in next 3 to 5 years.”

Preston: “We want bring as much positive exposure to Crawley Town as possible. That will bring more money.”

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