Bangkok boiler room moguls slunk out of their foray into the British Football League today with the announcement that Crawley Town Football Club had been finally been sold to Turkish steel magnate Ziya Eren…for £1.

But in football deals nowadays smoke and 

mirrors sometimes appear to be the norm.

Eren, who is also president of Turkish second tier side Kayseri Erciyesspor, received Football League approval of his buy-out on Tuesday and sealed the deal following a final meeting of the club’s board of directors, the Press Association reported.

The Sky Bet League Two club’s Chairman Dave Pottinger, together with directors, Michael Dunford, Ian Carter and Matt Turner have all resigned from the board with immediate effect.

Steve Hayward (Paul Hayward’s father) in Singapore with David Pottinger

The club has not commented on the withdrawal of Paul Hayward and Michael Doherty two Bangkok businessman representing the ‘Eclipse Group’ who had funded the club since 2011 to the tune of £5 million.   

Sunglasses: Hayward left and Doherty (right) at Crawley Town Football Club

Officially as this was a ‘no strings attached’ cash injection they would not be entitled to any return of funds if there was any cash.

But the club could not have survived without funds from Hayward and Doherty, who claim to run the biggest nightlife business in Thailand – which included the master lease on Bangkok’s sex tourism ‘Nana Entertainment Plaza’.


 Hayward (also known as Paul Hilton) issued a statement last year finally admitting he had been Crawley Town Football Club’s major investor.

“My favourite story growing up was David and Goliath – I liked the idea of a rags-to-riches rise and taking a little club with 600-average gates to the Championship. Just for the fun of it.

“Once we had paid off all Crawley’s bills, we were offered shares of the football club but we politely declined. 

 “Mickey and I saw Crawley Town as an escape from high-profile lives in Asia, where we can’t buy a loaf of bread without being recognised as the ‘big club guys’. 

For several years it went well, we met fans, home and away, drank our pints in Redz Bar and were accepted as part of the Crawley Town family. 

“We weren’t interested in the boardroom. I prefer a burger and a pint to a prawn sandwich.”

Hayward arriving in Bangkok from one of his many trips to the KL and Manila
where he also ran ‘boiler rooms’.

Hayward does not do much cap doffing in Bangkok here he seems to have a taste for fine wines and fast cars.  Nobody recognises him because he keeps himself out of all photographs and away from the media.

Nor does appear to be interested in any board rooms in the Thai capital as well – at least not with his name on the table.

Although the companies he is known to control have fluid lists of directors and shareholders, his name, when last checked, did not appear on any as either a director or shareholder.

He made his money in boiler rooms many of which have been listed on this site.  He was a Goliath who took many Davids – including hundreds of pensioners – to the cleaners.

However in an ‘exclusive’ interview with a sex tourism website ‘StickboyBangok’ he insists he made all his cash honestly by the sweat of his brow.

“This has taken Micky Doherty and I almost two decades to build. We started with just a couple of bars and then built it up from there, adding 1-2 bars a year. It’s doesn’t sound much but over 20 years it adds up.”

Records show that 20 years ago he had absolutely nothing to do with the Eclipse Group- as they do now. He was a young and very successful ‘opener’ and then ‘loader’ for Foreign Currency International before starting off his own boiler room empire.

Ziya Eren, though a rather dark horse, seems to have a much more solid background as a steel magnate producing 5 per cent of Turkey’s steel.  

Hopefully he will be more open than Turkey’s current government which is closing down opposition newspapers and has jailed over 30 journalists.

The last time Bangkok businessmen made a bid to control British football clubs came with the creation of the ‘Football Fund’ by some truly dodgy financial wise guys. 

The Football Fund was exposed on Channel 4