Crawley Town give trial to YouTubers from Sidemen match in time for FA Cup tie
Crawley Town could include three YouTube footballers for their FA Cup tie against Accrington Stanley after giving them trials.
The League Two side, who are owned by crypto sports company WAGMI United, announced in September that they'd formed a partnership with Sidemen FC, a YouTube football team.
The Sidemen sold out The Valley – home of Charlton Athletic – last month for a friendly against The YouTuber Allstars, and three of those involved are now set for a huge opportunity with Crawley.
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Tobi and Manny Brown, who linked up to score three of the Sidemen's goals in the the 8-7 thriller, will join their brother Jed on trial next week with a view to possibly playing in the FA Cup.
A Crawley Town club statement read: "Crawley Town Football Club and WAGMI United are delighted to announce that Tobi 'TBJZL' Brown — a founding member of The Sidemen, Europe’s largest YouTube collective — will join the club for training on 1 November, alongside his brothers Manny Brown and Jed Brown.
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"All three players will be further evaluated by coaches and staff during the session for possible inclusion in the team for the Red Devils’ upcoming FA Cup match against Accrington Stanley on 5 November.
"Tobi and Manny recently starred in the 2022 Sidemen FC Charity Match in September, where Crawley scouts were on hand to evaluate participating players as part of WAGMI United’s recent partnership with The Sidemen."
Crawley Co-Chairman Preston Johnson said: "We’re excited to have Tobi, Manny and Jed joining us for training on Tuesday, and we’re looking forward to seeing what they can bring to the club. Depending on how they perform, we may extend offers to continue training with the lads on a trial basis and potentially compete for a spot on the bench for the Accrington Stanley match.
"As we’ve said before, it’s fairly unlikely they’d get on the pitch unless the game is well in hand, but we want to give them the opportunity to show Lewis and the staff what they can do in training and then go from there."
The news has split the club's fans down the middle. One wrote: "Embarrassing and demeaning to league football, this isn't some Sunday league team, this is professional football that you are patronising."
Someone else commented: "We’re actually a joke these days. Take nothing seriously. Should be using that time in training to do something decent as we’re sat at 19th. Joke."
A third person added: "So embarrassing."
But others welcomed the move as a clever PR stunt. One user wrote: "This is a class idea and will get great publicity, exact same they done with Mark Wright a few years ago.
As another said: "They know what they're doing here, Doncaster did the same with the One Direction guy."
The remainder of the club statement read: "The FA's bylaws dictate that any player who has formally registered as part of a club is eligible to be named to the squad and potentially compete in FA Cup matches.
"And while Crawley Town FC remains fully committed to winning our first-round match, the club also looks forward to the possibility of these new recruits joining our team on a trial basis for training and the matchday experience — and introducing the club to millions of potential new supporters in the process."
Crawley previously signed The Only Way Is Essex star Mark Wright, bringing him on against Leeds United in an FA Cup 3rd round tie in January 2021. He made no further appearances for the club.
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