Owner of Crawley Town Football Club, Mr Ziya Eren, has issued the following statement.
To the Family,
Recently, there has been a lot of misinformation and false stories regarding the club and its policies. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to address many points and I genuinely hope it provides more information and clarity.
Before expanding on various topics, I would like to address some of our family. To criticise, swear or harshly offend the club and its staff is a given in football. We have to take it on the chin. After all we all hurt when things go wrong and we are the targets. This will never change. However, comments with hints of racism are not welcome and is highly unacceptable. Please refrain from such abuse.
It’s important we look and review at all departments of the club.
Football and aims
We stated we want to be in the Sky Bet Championship in 8-10 years. Ambitious? Of course it is. However, it is possible. We have learnt a lot over the past three years. We have made good decisions and mistakes we can learn from. We have gained more points each season and the squad has improved each season. Our budget for this season is a top-half one for League 2.
We have provided the most funding since the takeover this season (I have asked Kelly to prepare a financial report for the forum on February 11 to demonstrate the level of our financial commitment). Sometimes in football things don’t go to plan but we have not been in the situation facing some more established League clubs during this time.
Genuinely, I feel we have been unlucky this season. Injuries, the timing of Harry Kewell’s departure and suspensions haven’t helped us. The team has played with passion and desire in most games. The season is not over and if the lads can get a run together anything is possible. The squad definitely have the talent and character. Every single player plays for the shirt and I can’t fault any of their efforts.
At the beginning of the season the club recruited many players who have won League One, League Two and featured in the Championship last season. Last month we signed four players and to criticise our activity during the January window is premature. Tom Dallison has featured in every game since signing, Matty Willock is a player at one of the top clubs in the world and Ibrahim Meite knows the club and showed in his previous loan spell what he can do.
We have loaned a Manchester United player for the first time in the club’s history. This could be a very important connection for the club and be invaluable in the future. Using Karlan Ahearne-Grant last season as an example, the club has shown it can improve and develop talent. Ricardo German is a young player who will need time but like Ashley or Panutche he can develop and represent Crawley with integrity and talent.
Mark Connolly was the only departure that we are unhappy with. Mark played for the shirt and will be missed. He wanted to be in Scotland for family reasons and he is a player that has always respected the club and given 100 per cent.
Our transfer strategies demonstrate growing revenue received each year and this is a part of our overall plan. Three years ago, we stated we would have a unique recruitment system. We have sold James Collins, Enzio Boldewijn, Josh Yorwerth and Gwion Edwards during this time. Of course, we would have loved to keep the players but when a player’s head is turned and he wants to leave it is only detrimental to the squad and to the club’s future to keep him.
Harry Kewell also was ‘sold’ and that is a first in the club’s history. Despite the sales the squad has improved in quality and depth every season. If the team improves every year, which ours has, eventually - and providing the other variables go in our favour – they can be promoted. We have been unlucky at times this year but I believe we have grown stronger every year.
Gabrielle Cioffi is a very passionate and talented head coach. He has united the club in many ways. He cares for the badge and believes Crawley is his home. There have been some bad results but I believe Gabriele is creating a team with identity and increasing confidence. He won four promotions as a player and has the potential to do it as a manager.
I feel the club is engaging with the fans more than it ever has. CTSA meet regularly with our board and we are very open to talking to supporters. We also do our best to listen to our fans through social media and podcasts but we want to do more as we want to increase our fan base and this is where we need to work together.
Commercial Manager Joe Comper has been instrumental in lining up many sponsors. In the last three years our commercial revenue has increased yearly. I thank all our sponsors for their support.
Match day experience
We have tried to improve the catering and match-day experience and the club is proud to have won the EFL’s Family Excellence award for the last two years. We regularly meet to discuss what else further we can do and will always invite suggestions from our fans.
There have been some developments in obtaining a permanent training facility and during the coming months we should be able to present more information.
I hope this statement provides some clarity for all of our supporters. Let’s get behind the team for the weekend. There are still 15 games to play and anything is possible this season.