'If we do stay up, change is still needed' - Former Crawley Town owner wants to be proved wrong and see WAGMI turn things around at club

A former co-owner of Crawley Town says change is needed at the club – even if they survive their League Two relegation battle.
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The Reds are currently one point off the bottom of League Two but have three games in hand over their two main rivals – Rochdale and Hartlepool United - for the drop to the National League.

But their recent run of six games without a win and five consecutive defeats has left fans fearing the worst.

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Since US consortium WAGMI United took over in April last year, fans have not been impressed by what they have done and ever since the terrible start to the season under Kevin Betsy, ‘WAGMI Out’ has been a common phrase at the games and on social media.

Crawley Town fans protest against they owners of the club at Northampton on Saturday. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)Crawley Town fans protest against they owners of the club at Northampton on Saturday. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
Crawley Town fans protest against they owners of the club at Northampton on Saturday. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

And as the season has gone the club has made headlines in the national and international press for all the wrong reasons – especially around Christmas and the New Year when the club got rid of star player Tom Nichols and fan favourite Glenn Morris, manager Matthew Etherington left after just 32 days in charge and owner Preston Johnson sitting on the bench away at Stevenage.

Things may have settled behind the scenes with Scott Lindsey now in charge but on the pitch results have not improved and relegation is a real fear.

And now former co-owner Phil Jarman says whatever happens at the end of the season, change needs to happen.

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Jarman has been there and done it with Crawley Town Football Club. As a former non executive director and co-owner, he helped them avoid a winding up order before seeing them get promoted to the football league and also face Manchester United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup third round as a non league club.

He told the Crawley Observer: “So the circus continues but our amazing fans are running out of matches running out of time and running out of patience.

"I was very vocal for a long time about being pro-WAGMI, investing their monies into a club has always got to be welcomed and respected.

"Also I appreciate and understand the risk that’s involved and have always applauded Preston and his efforts thus far.

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"BUT owning and running a football club is a privilege that many football fans could only dream of (and some have fans groups who have went that far). Owning a football club is more than 90 mins, it’s a community, a town, a honour but above all football is NOT a status symbol which it clearly looks to have turned out, and if it is it won't have any authenticity around it, no structure, no heart or soul.

"We could write a book now on the embarrassing headlines we have had in the past season, a club that was well remembered for cup runs and passionate fans is now been talked about for all the wrong reasons.

"It took a lot of hard work to build it up and hasn't taken it long to bring it crashing down. Any owner with a football heart and a fraction of the money could still make this work if he does the simple things right and recruits from top to bottom. I feel for a lot of the staff there especially the gaffer – it’s one of the toughest jobs in all the leagues.

“I like many, still would loved to be proved wrong and Preston and WAGMI can turn it around, but if it doesn't change now it could be a sad day for Crawley as a town, community and football club. Bigger clubs than us can testify what goes down and out of the league may never come back up.

“If we do stay up, change is still needed. It can't go on the way it has or the inevitable will happen for certain.”