BANNED FROM CRAWLEY TOWN FC – where reputation matters!

Crisis hit Crawley Town Football Club in Sussex has banned the Vice Chairman of its supporters club and three others from entering its ‘Checkatrade’ stadium over allegations over the source of over £5 million which has been ploughed into the club from the Far East.

Mat Cowdrey, Vice Chairman of the Crawley Town Supporters Alliance and two others were banned for conducting a ‘disruptive campaign to undermine the Board and damage the Club.’

No details were given to support the allegations but it is known they centre around allegations that the club has taken cash from a Bangkok entertainment group (known to this site as funded by ‘boiler room’ fraud operators operating out of South East Asia, and not declared it but slipped it into the names of other shareholders.

The boiler rooms have been accused of fleecing victims  in the UK. Australia, and Europe, using virtual offices in Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, and Kuala Lumpur as well as in Romania.

More specifically the allegations are that the cash was channeled to the football club by a Mr. Paul John Hayward, through the Bangkok based Eclipse Group of companies.

At Crawley Town Football Club. In dark glasses Paul Hayward left and Mickery Doherty of Bangkok’s ‘Eclipse Group’

The CTSA has written to the Board asking for clarification.

Cowdrey’s core allegations, which have the backing of some supporters, were initially made early this year shortly before British investigative journalist Andrew Drummond departed Thailand for the safety of his children aged 7, 5 and 3.

Drummond, author of this site, arrived in Britain in March via Cambodia and Vietnam having made a statement on his website that he left Thailand after threats from foreign criminals.

His departure was recorded in the Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, Bangkok Post, and Phuketwan.

The latter website run by Australian journalist Alan Morison himself facing repression by the authorities in Thailand, described Drummond as ‘irreplaceable’.

Drummond later specifically named Paul Hayward, from Birmingham and others as those who had threatened him. He cited cases of what had happened to people within Hayward’s ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ operations after whistle blowing. Had the Thai police force not been notoriously corrupt Drummond said he would have stayed, he says.

Hayward is principally known in  Bangkok as a nightclub and sex bar controller.

David Pottinger

At the centre of the current row is how that cash was given to the club,  The allegations are that it was posted as shareholdings and these shareholdings are in fact being held by Mr. Mat Turner and chairman David Pottinger, who in effect control the board.  It is these people who have said the supporters are damaging the club.

Turner who is reported to now own at least 50 per cent of the shares, which he bought, its claimed, nominally from former director Susan Carter. Turner runs a small PR and Promotion agency called Creative Pod,

There are of course Football League fit and proper person procedures which have to be complied with as the League is duty bound to enquire where the cash for football clubs comes from.

Regulations – Cowdrey’s comment, 

While there seems to be general consensus that the cash was sent by Hayward and his sidekick Mickey Doherty, the former who might dearly love a way to get cash back into the UK,, many supporters are unconcerned about the source of the cash – just as supporters were happy to receive the cash of corrupt Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra at Manchester City. Not surprisingly there are cries of ‘prove it’.

Matt Turner of Creative Pod

Both Andrew Drummond and a group of victims, who say they lost some US$19 million to boiler room scams run by Hayward and his colleagues in a group termed ‘The Bangkok Five’, say they are willing to help police with their enquiries.

In turn an Ipswich based legal firm Gotalee has threatened to sue both the supporters alliance website and Andrew Drummond on behalf of Hayward.

The CDV have had dialogue with the City Fraud Squad and there is evidence that the unit was once chasing Paul Hilton, one of Hayward’s aliases.

The victims group – the CDV (Confederation of Defrauded Victims) have been investigating this group for many years,

Drummond has been following Bangkok based ‘boiler rooms’ since 2001 when a lot of boiler rooms were closed down in an operation conducted by the Royal Thai Police, Australian Federal Police and FBI.
(In that operation the cold callers were deported and the bosses merely fined for selling shares without registering to do so).

The failure to really close down boiler room operations in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, says Drummond, means that Hayward’s worth and that of his ‘closers’ – the people who clinch the boiler room deals has multiplied and they. have been able to buy property worldwide.

Pottinger meets Hayward’s father in Singapore – the Dubliner is now closed

Andrew Drummond:

“I physically provided the British authorities with a fairly comprehensive list of British victims, their addresses, their emails, their phone numbers, how much each person lost, several years ago.  They appear to have done and be doing nothing, but maybe they are. 

“When I left the UK contact with the police was fairly easy. Now it is so difficult to report a crime I would not be surprised if crime statistics have fallen through the floor. I did eventually get a dialogue going with a guy called Tom on ‘Action Fraud’.  

“When Tom asked my how I came by this information. I replied that that was what I did as a living and sent him a link to the Guardian.

“Tom cut me off and I have not been able to reconnect.  I am enjoying lots of reality TV programmes on police though and am slowly getting conditioned to the new UK.

“On a more serious note Hayward controls the master lease on the Nana Plaza in Bangkok – probably now the biggest commercial sex tourist area in the city. He claims to be a businessman, realtor and nightclub owner. But you’ll find it difficult to see his name on the companies he controls. He after all claims he does not have a bank account or even credit card (not in his name anyway). 

From an old ‘Eclipse’ website – its been down for some time

Statement issued by Crawley Town Supporters Alliance

In response to the ongoing discussion on the Forum, the Board of the CTSA wishes to advise as follows: 

The CTSA is surprised and disappointed that, having tried to speak directly with the Board of Crawley Town FC for over a month, our repeated requests have not materialised into any proposed dates. Regrettably, it appears that the Club are actively avoiding meeting with us, as supporters’ representatives. We have previously been instructed that all communication with the Club should be via the CEO and we continue to respect this. However, this has not resulted in a response, until yesterday, where we were told that they are meeting next week and will come back to us.

In March, the Ownership Statement was updated, although the change was not mentioned in the Club’s news feed. The CTSA wrote to the Club seeking clarification of the new statement on Club ownership and Director appointments.

In response, the CEO advised that they did not wish to expand on the change in the Ownership Statement. We have subsequently established from the public statement from Ian Carter that both Ian and Susan Carter’s shares were sold to Matt Turner for a nominal fee. This would imply that Mr. Turner is now the majority shareholder in the Club, although we are unable to verify this at Companies House, as the annual return of shareholders for Crawley Town Football & Social Club Limited is overdue.

It is not clear to us why there was no public comment on the sale of a majority stake in Crawley Town FC as we believe that is a matter that would be of interest to many supporters.

In respect of the funding of the Club, the Club was approached in March with concerns that had been raised, by a member, regarding the source of funding for the Club and the identity of the Club’s Far East benefactor. Concerns were raised regarding the source of funding, the application of the Fit and Proper Persons’ Test and the League Regulations regarding Shadow Directorship.

To avoid unnecessary fallout at the time the dialogue with the Club was kept confidential. However, nothing the Club has said has removed our concerns and the matter has now emerged in the public domain.

Whilst much has been publicly said over the past month regarding ownership and funding, the primary concern of the CTSA has always been the position of the Club and, in the light of previous ownership difficulties and administrations, its ongoing viability.