Crawley Town’s American owners have bizarrely sacked manager Matthew Etherington after just 34 days and three games in charge of the club.
News of the sacking on Thursday comes a day after Crawley sold star striker Tom Nichols to League Two rivals Gillingham and shortly afterwards the entire squad was “accidentally” placed on the transfer list amid widespread confusion.
The move further calls into question the leadership of WAGMI United, the ambitious cryptocurrency investment group that took charge of the club in April.
Crawley Town’s American owners have sacked Matthew Etherington after just 34 days in change
The news comes a day after the League Two side revealed that star striker Tom Nichols (above) would be sold to Gillingham, and shortly after the entire squad was “accidentally” transfer-listed
It further calls into question the leadership of WAGMI United, the ambitious cryptocurrency investment group that took over the club in April, led by founder Preston Johnson
An official statement announced the sacking of former West Ham midfielder Etherington and his assistant Simon Davies with immediate effect, while confirming that the club will look to appoint a new permanent boss as soon as possible.
Director of football and interim chief executive Chris Galley said: “It has become clear to all parties involved that this partnership is not the right fit to take the club forward and achieve our objectives.
“As a result, we have mutually decided to go in a different direction. We wish Matty and Simon the best of luck in their future endeavours.’
Led by Preston Johnson and Eben Smith, WAGMI United – named after the popular crypto slogan “we’re all gonna make it” – boasted they would “shake up the status quo” and show a modern approach, while their website labels Crawley ” The internet’s team’ and claims: ‘together we will take Crawley Town to the Premier League.’
Etherington won his first game in charge, a 2-0 win over Swindon, but lost his next two, 2-0 against Hartlepool and 2-1 against Sutton United, both at home. They are currently 20th in the league table, six points off the relegation places.
Former West Ham midfielder Etherington made just three appearances in charge of the club
And Red Devils supporters quickly took to Twitter to question the American owners’ actions
When Crawley announced Etherington as boss, they highlighted his historic gambling addiction as evidence that he shared the owners’ “risk appetite”, and it was said to be a key reason behind his appointment.
Former Arsenal youth coach Kevin Betsy was appointed manager in June, taking over after John Yems left the club amid a scandal, with Yems accused by the FA of racial discrimination, but Betsy was sacked in October after four months in charge of the club. side the bottom of the fourth level.
The owners caused more consternation when news broke on Wednesday that they had sold Nichols, who had scored four goals and registered seven assists this season, including netting in the 2-0 EFL Cup win against Premier League Fulham in August.
Nichols himself admitted: “I was told after training that they had accepted an offer for me from another club and that I could not play anymore. They didn’t want to risk injuries and stuff. It was a weird one because I wanted to stay in shape and keep working out and then I was just waiting to get it sorted, which has been taking up until now.
“That time I didn’t ask to go at all. I just played as normal, we had a new manager in charge (Etherington) and was looking forward to it, I never asked to leave. When the club says you are not going to play anymore and they have accepted an offer for you, I felt I had no other choice. My decision was made for me.
Striker Nichols (centre) admitted he did not want to leave but was forced out of the club
And current striker Kwesi Appiah publicly questioned the decision to let Nichols leave Crawley
“These things happen. I would have continued to play until now, I always wanted to play and help the team, but I understand why they told me I couldn’t [play]. I wasn’t actively looking to leave. It’s pretty sad how it ended. I never got to play the last game.
And current striker Kwesi Appiah, who was loaned out to League Two rivals Gillingham despite scoring 11 league goals last season, publicly questioned the decision to sell Nichols.
During the announcement Nichols was leaving, Appiah said on Twitter: ‘Wait, what?!? Must have been hacked!’ along with an embarrassed and face-covered emoji.
Amid rumors of every player being made available for transfer, Galley reportedly insisted he would ‘never transfer the roster of an entire squad’ and blamed the club ‘trying out new software around transfers’.
In October, SportsmailMartin Samuel said football clubs sell their souls when they chase clicks as Crawley have done by confirming three YouTubers – including Sidemen member ‘TBJZL’ – will train with their first team.