Crawley Town’s English defender Jordan Tunnicliffe (C) celebrates after scoring their third goal … [+]
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In the lead up to the FA Cup 3rd round match, Crawley Town manager, John Yems, floated the idea that Premier League opponents Leeds United might like to donate its share of broadcast rights to the game.
The game was broadcast live in the UK by the BBC and each team was entitled to around $100,000 each. Yems pointed out that Crawley was missing out on the gate receipts on account of Covid-19 restrictions and maybe Leeds could help out.
No word as to whether Leeds went along with the idea, but after a shocking 3-0 loss to Crawley it seems unlikely. Crawley’s win was the biggest upset of this season’s FA Cup so far and a reminder that the FA Cup still offers small clubs a day in the sun.
Three goals in a 20-minute spell in the second half saw Crawley, currently the equivalent of 74th in the English pyramid (6th and 5 points behind league leaders Carlisle in League Two, the fourth tier), saw off Leeds, currently 12th in the Premier League.
Crawley went into the game with 4 wins and 4 draws since the start of December and although Leeds dominated possession 70/30 it was the home team that created more scoring chances 6/2.
The win was worth a little over $80,000 in prize money to Crawley with the possibility of more to come.
Crawley will find out its 4th round opponents and possible 5th round opponents when the draws for both rounds are made on Monday evening. No doubt Crawley will be hoping to draw another Premiership PINC opponent and with it another TV appearance. A 4th round win is worth $120,000 in prize money and a next round win is double that amount.
Like almost every team outside the Premier League, Crawley constantly battles to balance the books. In Crawley’s case they usually fail, and the team is reliant on support from its owner to remain in operation.
The last published financial statements showed turnover of $4.7 million plus other operating income of $700,000. Included was a contribution of $1.75 million from the club’s owner Ziya Eren. The previous year Eren wrote a check for $1.3 million to help the team. The club turned a small profit of $200,000 in 2019 but it made only a small dent in negative earnings that stand at $9 million.
Eren, a Turkish businessman, with interests in the steel industry took over control of the team located south of a central London, in 2016.
The team plays at the sponsor named “The Peoples Pension” that has a capacity of just under 6,000. However, gate receipts are dismal even when spectators are allowed inside. A ranking of admissions listed Crawley Town 91 out 92 in revenue from spectators.
Apart from the normal interest generated by the “David vs. Goliath” type matchup there was an interesting sidebar.
Included in the Crawley Town squad was 33-year-old Reality TV star Mark Wright. Wright was on the books of Tottenham Hotspur as a youngster but was released in 2005. Five years later he resurfaced in a reality TV show and parlayed his success in the genre into a career as an entertainment reporter and general TV personality.
Last month Wright “signed” for Crawley Town, and it formed the basis for a BBC TV mini-series “Mark Wright: The Last Chance.” Wright made an appearance as a 90th minute substitute against Leeds and that will no doubt drive viewing figures up.