The issue on the word "crony" depends on your nationality. The word is negative in the USA, positive in the UK.
In America, a crony is a sleazy, almost illegal sort of person.
In England, I recall that a wonderful Prince of Wales, in the 1800s, said to a salesman of hats in a store, "Freddy, start your own store, and I'll bring all my cronies there..." and he did, and he did.
Often there is a grave difference between words in the two nations. For another example: In World War II, Eisenhower and Churchill were talking about a problem, and Churchill wanted to table the subject. This mean, over there, that he wanted to discuss it immediately. But to us, and to Eisenhower, that would mean he wanted to put it on the table and postpone further discussion for the day. An opposite meaning, to be sure.
Crony as a noun is like the verb to table.