This is what Crawley Town fans - and a former player - thought of what WAGMI United's Eben Smith and Preston Johnson said at their first Fans Forum

Crawley Town’s new owners’ first Fans Forum could have gone either way.
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With the John Yems investigation still going on – and with further details of the allegations against the manager revealed less than 24 hours before – WAGMI United’s Eben Smith and Preston Johnson could have expected a barrage of questions about the situation.

Yes, Yems was mentioned, but as Preston Johnson told us afterwards: “I was impressed with how respectful of the situation the fans were with us.”

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Smith and Johnson are fully aware the ‘bizarre and absurd’ situation the club is currently in, but they laid out what could be a very exciting future for the club to the fans who were present.

But what did those fans think? We asked those in attendance what they thought about the new owners and what they said. Others reacted to our Fans Forum soundbites story on twitter.

Stuart Frost: “Thought they were very open and honest. They were totally knocked sideways by the Yems inquiry....and I don't blame them (bet they wished they'd had a 14 day cool down period after purchase ) As much as some deemed concerned about how stable there money is, they have already invested £2m on top of the £5m purchase.... don't think any previous owners have been been so affluent. Commitment certainly isn't an issue, as Preston highlighted how often he is spending going back and forth across the pond, bearing in mind he has a baby on the way.

"Their thoughts on allowing Season Ticket payment instalments were refreshing, along with batches of tickets for those who say work shifts. Ditching the injury causing plastic training pitch... can't come soon enough. Bringing in those with specific knowledge in certain places to improve the overall match day experience. I'm sure there was more, but I need sleep.”

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Victoria Morris-Birrell: “They seem ambitious but I'm not too keen on the idea of a B team when we need to sort out a strong main team first, ideally with a good rotation of players (to cover injuries etc)

Preston Johnson at Crawley Town v Leyton Orient. Picture by Cory PickfordPreston Johnson at Crawley Town v Leyton Orient. Picture by Cory Pickford
Preston Johnson at Crawley Town v Leyton Orient. Picture by Cory Pickford

“Am glad they acknowledged that we are one of the smallest teams in the league but I'm unsure if they've got enough football knowledge - and good advisors - to know how to recruit and create a strong squad. Would like to know what their realistic goal is for this time next year and how they plan to get there.

"Especially because I think a lot of us would really like a) to push for playoffs and b) a good cup run - which would of course be more likely if we built a large, strong squad first (to allow player rotation). And a decent cup run would bring the coverage and revenue that they mentioned wanting.”

Stephen North: “I was not totally sure why they held the forum tonight as most of the answers were vague due to the ongoing Yems investigation...They seem to have lots of money some clever out of the box thinkers but not a clue how to run a football club. Let's hope they are fast learners.”

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Ian Nicoll: “We started the season with over 30 players in the squad, same as last season. We needed all those players due to injuries etc.

“And more, so for a b team and a current team plus the usual standbys, my word we need a lot of players. It's not the quantity, but quality we need, I can't see us building a team strong enough for promotion next season, unless of course the owners have very deep pockets, which I doubt.”

Stephen Dimmock: “A lot of that sounds like music to my ears. Good to see they are taking a much more sustainable approach than what I was worried about before.”

Former Red Dean Cox: “Sounds very promising certainly saying all the right things, they would have been able to get the wheels in motion sooner, the investigation on John Yem’s needs to conclude before this can happen, wish them the very best of luck.”

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