Crawley Town’s official magic beans

·6-min read
<span>Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

TALES FROM THE CRYPTO

When Wagmi United took over League Two side Crawley Town, The Fiver knew this day would eventually come. Specifically the tumbleweed day during the off-season when there was so little in the way of other football news to report, that we’d have nothing else to write about other than the NFTs in which the American investment group, headed by crypto-bros Preston Johnson and co-founder Eben Smith deal.

Now, it is fair to say there are many technical things in this world that are way beyond your simple Fiver’s ken, with New Fangled Tokens being right up there. And after a couple of hours reading up on the kind of unfungible magic beans that have in recent months been promoted by football royalty such as Leo Messi, Michael Owen and … er, Steve Sidwell, it’s fair to say we remain none the wiser. Not only do we still have very little idea what NFTs are (or perhaps more pertinently are not) beyond being a potential fast road to the poorhouse, but after trying to learn more our eyes have glazed over and our head is thumping like an amp-stack at Glastonbury – symptoms which don’t generally befall us until much later on an average Friday night.

But back to Crawley, whose new owners arrived with the chilling promise that they intended “to shake up the status quo”. Having installed themselves as directors, Messrs Johnson and Smith released a statement outlining their ambitious plans. “At Crawley Town, we’re going to 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,” it trumpeted. “Stretching from West Sussex to anywhere in the world with an internet connection.” It was big talk from a small club whose average gate was less than 3,000 last season, the second lowest in the Football League.

Having since taken the commendable step of slashing season ticket prices in a bid to get more turnstile clicks and installing a new management team, it’s now been revealed that Crawley have a new crypto-wheeze with which they intend to take over the world. Set to launch a club NFT, they will also put out a third kit which will only be available to those who invest in the scheme. “It will be an exclusive shirt you can get if you have an NFT and then there will be two options – for those that are local or ordering online either in the UK or our American or overseas friends,” explained Johnson. “It hits the spot where we think it will be extremely profitable for the club, the way we’re doing this. We hope the announcement gets some good attention and positivity. We think the fans will be really excited by what we announce.”

While your cynical, jaded and confused old Fiver was unaware that Crawley enjoyed such popularity among nerds outside their small corner of West Sussex, we hope all who follow them will be suitably enthused. Only time will tell if investing in the club’s official magic beans proves a shrewd financial move or not, or if that incoming third kit will end up like a certain fabled emperor’s new clothes.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I don’t make enough money to spend 10,000 baht on a football match. Prices are too high as the average salary here is around 30,000 baht per month. I understand the cost of hosting the event … but most Thai football fans cannot afford to attend” – Bangkok-based Liverpool supporter Thesis Laohajarastsang explains how locals are being priced out of the pre-season game with Manchester United there on 12 July.

It appears the match itself has its own slightly terrifying mascot.
It appears the match itself has its own slightly terrifying mascot. Photograph: Jack Taylor/AFP/Getty Images

FIVER LETTERS

“I had managed to shut out the trauma of living through the end of Oldham’s 115-year membership of the Football League. But what do I do now? There is no hiding place. The EFL fixtures are published, player comings and goings fill column inches, new season predictions abound. Where do I get news of non-league fixtures? Who cares all our best players have gone, even most of our rubbish ones? Who has heard of our new signings? Football life will never be the same again and the scars run deep. Who offers support and therapy for the recently relegated? Who feels my pain?” – Elaine Ganderton.

“Please note this fantastic event: Oldham Fans XI v Oldham Legends XI. All part of the effort to oust the pernicious owner of this wonderful football club. This is what lax football governance looks like” – Ed Stanley.

“Manchester United, reportedly, want to narrow the gap with Liverpool and Manchester City, their arch-rivals, and challenge for the Premier League title. On this day, £11m will be paid out in dividends, mostly to the Glazer family. If the Glazers are serious about this goal, perhaps they would be better off allocating some of those dividends to hiring a transfer negotiation team that could do a little better than at present, including preparing all the donkey work on a priority centre-forward signing, only for Liverpool to step in and widen the gap significantly further” – John Weldon.

“If there’s a prize for a ‘Spot the Ball’ competition in yesterday’s Fiver, I’d like to share it with the other 1,056 entrants who’ve spotted it up Steve Bruce’s jumper” – Alan Butler (and no other entrants).

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our letter o’ the day is … Ed Stanley, who wins a copy of Premier League Nuggets, by Richard Foster. More prizes all next week too.

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

Gareth Southgate will be able to pack more right-backs in his luggage for the Human Rights World Cup after Fifa expanded their squad allowance to 26.

With no immediate way forward at Old Trafford, Dean Henderson has hotfooted it on loan to Nottingham Forest, who’ve also agreed to splash £17m on Union Berlin goal merchant Taiwo Awoniyi.

Some decent-looking business, earlier.
Some decent-looking business, earlier. Composite: Getty Images

Down the road, Derby should be clear to start the League One season after receiving a loan from a local property group attempting to complete a takeover.

Women’s Big Cup looks particularly convoluted next season, what with a “league path” and a “champions path”. The long and the short of it is that Manchester City may well have to beat Real Madrid to reach the group stage.

In another sign of where the news agenda is right now, new Burnley boss Vincent Kompany has denied being in a bidding war for the same residence with Blackeye Rovers counterpart Jon Dahl Tomasson. “That’s wrong,” he tooted. “I don’t need an apartment. I have lived in the north west before and kept hold of some things.”

And teenage forward Gerald Sithole has swapped Gillingham for Bolton. It may surprise you, but we’re above that.

STILL WANT MORE?

Louise Taylor has the inside track on England’s Euro 2022 warm-up against the Netherlands.

Early, smart and ruthless signings have left Manchester City and Liverpool’s rivals wondering how to catch them, writes Karen Carney.

Ben Welch reveals the secret to man-management in football.

And if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!

20 YEARS!

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