Crawley Town F.C.

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Crawley Town
Crawley Town FC logo.png
Full name Crawley Town Football Club
Nickname(s) The Reds, Red Devils[1]
Short name CTFC
Founded 1896; 122 years ago (1896)
Ground Broadfield Stadium
Capacity 6,134
Owner Ziya Eren
Chairman Ziya Eren
Manager Gabriele Cioffi
League League Two
2017–18 League Two, 14th of 24
Website Club website
Current season

Crawley Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Crawley, West Sussex, England. The team play in League Two, the fourth tier of the English football league system. The club's home ground is at Broadfield Stadium. First promoted to the Football Conference in 2004, the club survived a financial crisis to win promotion to the Football League in the 2010–11 season. In the same year they reached the fifth round of the FA Cup, where they lost to Manchester United 1–0.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Formed in 1896, Crawley Town became founding members of the West Sussex Football League that year, joining the Junior Division.[2] They remained in the West Sussex league for five years before transferring to the Mid-Sussex League, winning the League in only their second season. After disbanding at the end of the 1934–35 season, the club reformed in 1938 and joined Division Two of the Brighton, Hove & District League.[3] They played in the Sussex County Emergency League in 1945–45, before returning to the Brighton, Hove & District League in 1946–47, becoming members of Division One.[4]

They stayed at this level until they entered the Sussex County League in 1951 before switching again five years later to the Metropolitan League, which was a competition for both professional and amateur sides. Crawley retained their amateur status and went on to win the Metropolitan League Challenge Cup in 1959.

Crawley turned semi-professional in 1962 and the following year they joined Division One of the Southern League. In 1969 they were promoted to Premier Division of the Southern League but the joy was short lived as the following season they were relegated back to the first division where they remained until the 1983–84 season when they were promoted as runners-up.[5]

Crawley's most successful cup run at the time was in the 1991–92 season when they reached The FA Cup third round proper and played local rivals Brighton, losing 5–0 in front of 18,301 at the Goldstone Ground.[6]

In 2004 The Red Devils signed off their 20-season stay in the Premier Division of the Southern League by wrapping up the championship in convincing style, ending up 12 points clear of the field and adding their second successive League Cup success and the league's Championship Match trophy. The title was wrapped up with four matches remaining, as a 3–0 victory at Welling United sparked emotional celebrations from a large travelling contingent. Crawley would now be playing in the Football Conference, the highest level of non-League football, for the first time in their history.

Conference[edit]

A final position of 12th in their first season in the National Division was an amazing achievement for the club who finished as the highest ranked part-time team in the country. Crawley also retained the Sussex Senior Cup by defeating Ringmer.

In 2005 the SA Group bought the club and made the decision to go full-time for the first time in the club's history. Although this was necessary in order to allow them to compete in the division,[7] it led to the departure of several key players, including fans' favourite Charlie MacDonald and goalkeeper Andy Little, who were unable to give up their day jobs to play full-time.

The 2005–06 season didn't start well for Crawley as the club found themselves third from bottom and out of the FA Cup after a shock defeat to Braintree Town. Francis Vines was subsequently sacked and replaced by former Chelsea FC manager and player John Hollins and his assistant Alan Lewer.[8] Things got worse for Crawley and as attendances dropped so too did the club's income; the club's owners were forced to slash the players' and staff wages by 50% due to lack of funds. Several key players left the club, including captain Ian Simpemba, Simon Wormull and record signing Daryl Clare; it looked certain that relegation was on the cards.[9] However five straight wins through March and April saw the club climb the table to 17th place and remarkably beat the drop by 10 points. The club were docked three points at the end of the season for breaching the annual playing budget but this had no effect on the final standings and Crawley's league status was safe but they later went into administration.[10]

In August 2006 it was announced that the club would fold because of its debts, and it came within an hour of the liquidation deadline. However, a last-minute rescue package saved the club and allowed it to carry on playing, albeit with a 10-point deduction for entering administration.[11]

Crawley started the 2006–07 season by winning their opening three games and all but wiped out their 10-point deduction. The following month, however, the club's form dipped and this led to John Hollins and Alan Lewer losing their jobs. The news did not go down well with the fans as the pair had stuck with Crawley when others decided to leave and they had managed to lift the club off the bottom despite a 10-point deduction. They were replaced by players Ben Judge and David Woozley with the help of John Yems, the former Fulham FC and Millwall FC coach.[12] Life started well for the trio who picked up 10 points from a possible 12. Crawley finished 18th in the division and managed to beat the drop after securing the point they needed on the final day of the season.

For the start of the 2007–08 season a new regime was put into place which included Victor Marley as club Chairman and Steve Evans as manager, with Paul Raynor as assistant. The season didn't get off to the best of starts as the club was docked six points due to their financial standing. Crawley finished the season in a respectable 15th place, and were runners-up in the Sussex Senior Cup, despite the club's financial position and points deduction.

In April 2008 Prospect Estate Holdings Limited took control of Crawley after buying it from the SA Group in conjunction with former owner John Duly. The club's financial worries were over and the club could look to build again and start the 2008–09 season on a level playing field.

FA Cup run & Football League[edit]

In 2010 Bruce Winfield announced that he and Susan Carter had become majority shareholders and had attracted new investment for the club, some of which came from overseas.[13] The investment allowed manager Steve Evans to start rebuilding the squad, which saw 23 players signed over a six-month period including Matt Tubbs, for £70,000[14] Sergio Torres for a record £100,000,[15] and Richard Brodie for an undisclosed fee,[16] the fee paid is estimated at a new Conference record of £275,000.

The investment paid off as Crawley were challenging for promotion to the Football League and embarked on a remarkable F.A Cup run having beaten Championship side Derby County 2–1 in the third round, followed by a 1–0 win at League Two side Torquay United[17] in the fourth round and setting up a dream tie at Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the fifth round.[18] Crawley lost the game 1–0 in front of 9,000 Crawley fans and were denied a draw in the 93rd minute when Richard Brodie's header hit the bar.[19]

Crawley's cup run and the death of owner Bruce Winfield[20] didn't halt their progress in the league as just 19 days after Winfield's death Crawley secured the Conference title by beating Tamworth 3–0 and reaching the Football League for the first time in the club's history.[21]

They once again enjoyed success in the FA Cup which saw them beat Championship teams Bristol City[22] at home and Hull City[23] away both 1–0. They suffered a 2–0 defeat against Stoke City in the fifth round. This was Crawley's first match against Premier League opposition at the Broadfield Stadium.

Crawley finished 2011 at the top of League Two; a positive start to their first campaign in league football. However, despite continued success in the FA Cup, form slipped. Between 17 December 2011, and 13 March 2012, Crawley won just two league games out of a possible 14. Many argued the sales of Matt Tubbs and Tyrone Barnett for £800,000[24] and £1,100,000[25] respectively, as well as failing to reach a deal over Andy Drury[26] contributed to their dip in form. Three Crawley players were involved in a post-match brawl[27] against Bradford City, including former club captain Pablo Mills (suspended for six matches) and fellow defender Claude Davis (suspended for four matches). Five players from both clubs were suspended in total[28] equalling the record for the most dismissals in an English game. Consequently, Crawley were fined £18,000.[29] Following an FA inquiry into the events that took place, Kyle McFadzean[30] was handed a four-game suspension after being found guilty of violent conduct. All three players have since released apology statements, and were all fined two weeks' wages.[31] Despite apologising,[32] Mills was stripped of his captaincy for behaviour not befitting the role of a club captain.[33] He was released by the club at the conclusion of the 2011/12 season.

On 9 April, it was announced that Steve Evans had parted company[34] with Crawley to take up a post at Rotherham United. Evans revealed "In my opinion, how far can I take Crawley Town? League One certainly, but beyond that I was not so sure". Evans had previously admitted frustration over the departures of Matt Tubbs and Tyrone Barnett. Assistant manager Paul Raynor also left the club with immediate effect, with coach Craig Brewster taking over as manager for the remainder of the season.[35]

On Saturday 5 May Crawley secured League One promotion, courtesy of a 67th minute Scott Neilson strike against Accrington Stanley.

It was announced on 12 May, that Crawley were in talks to appoint Sean O'Driscoll as their new manager. Under a tight budget at Doncaster Rovers he achieved promotion to the Football League Championship in his first full season. He was appointed as manager four days later. But, he left on 12 July, to become the new manager of Nottingham Forest, meaning that he never took charge of Crawley for a single game.

On 7 August 2012, Crawley appointed Bury F.C. manager Richie Barker as their new manager.[36] Under Barker's management the club had a successful debut season in League One, challenging for the play-offs for much of the campaign and finishing comfortably in tenth place. However, Barker was sacked early in the following season for speaking to League Two side Portsmouth about their manager's job. He was replaced by John Gregory, who steered the club to another mid-table finish despite a poor late run.

The 2014/15 season saw Crawley struggle for form, and Gregory resigned for health reasons near the end of 2014, with the club in the relegation zone. Dean Saunders was appointed to replace him, and despite an eventual upturn in form, was unable to get the club out of trouble. On Sunday 3 May 2015, Crawley were relegated to League Two, following a 1–2 defeat at home to Coventry City. Saunders' short-term deal was not renewed after the season ended, and he was replaced by Mark Yates.

While Crawley were among the pre-season promotion favourites, a run of just one win in their first ten games quickly put paid to any such hopes. Their mid-season form was better, and meant that they were never seriously threatened with relegation, but a run of eight consecutive defeats toward the end of the season saw them finish 20th, their lowest placing since joining the Football League. Yates was sacked just before the season ended, with Dermot Drummy taking over.

The 2016/17 season had a strong start for Crawley Town FC and fans liked the new strategy put in place by the new manager Dermot Drummy. However, Dermot Drummy and his assistant Matt Gray were both to see the door after a year in charge after a very worrying dip in from which would see Crawley fight the relegation zone. After drawing at home to Carlisle United 3–3 after Captain Jimmy Smiths late goal, Crawley would be kept in the EFL League Two at least another season. On Thursday 4th May, the Club parted company with Assistant Matt Gray and Head coach Dermot Drummy. On 23 May 2017, Harry Kewell was appointed head coach of League Two club Crawley Town,[37] becoming the first Australian to coach a professional English side.[38] Warren Feeney was appointed Assistant Manager to Kewell [39]

Financial problems[edit]

Although Crawley Town FC had been in administration in the late 1990s, trouble began in March 2006 when the club's players and staff were made to take a 50% pay cut and the entire squad was put up for sale; Crawley went into administration in June of that year.[9] It was revealed by local newspaper the Argus several days later that the chairman Chas Majeed was an undischarged bankrupt and therefore banned from holding a high position within the club.[40] Majeed later resigned from his post but remained involved.

The fans started a "Red Card" campaign in order to remove Chas Majeed and his owner brother Azwar Majeed from the club. It was revealed that the club was around £1.1million in debt with nearly £400,000 due to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and the Majeeds claimed they were owed £700,000 by the club. By July of that year the debts were closer to £1.4 million, including money owed to current and former staff, and an offer of 25p in the pound was rejected by the creditors. With HMRC unwilling to move on its demand and being the biggest creditor (the Majeeds were unable to vote on the matter despite being owed money), it looked unlikely that the club would be saved.

By August 2006, only one bid had come in for the club which was from the current owners; it was rejected by three to one; the administrators were therefore obliged to liquidate the club and it was announced that the club would fold later that day.[41] However, a couple of days later, in one final attempt to rescue the club, the creditors met again to decide on a final offer. The creditors were split and so the administrator voted in Crawley Town's favour, allowing them to start the new season. The creditors would meet 14 days later to decide on an offer of 50p in the pound. The club was told that if the offer was rejected then the club would fold there and then, and there would be no going back.[41] By September 2006 the club's debt was at £1.8 million making former/current players and staff the biggest creditors and giving hope that a rescue bid would be accepted. The offer of 50p in the pound was later accepted and Crawley Town were able to continue playing for the time being, though this didn't stop HMRC from trying to wind up the SAGroup (Majeed's company) over unpaid taxes.[42] Azwar Majeed was later jailed for tax fraud relating to his various other businesses.[43]

In May 2007, it was confirmed that all of Crawley Town's debts had been cleared. However, complications arose and as a result Crawley were given a six-point penalty for the new season and a transfer embargo was put in place because of financial irregularities.[44] It is believed that Crawley failed to confirm to the league that the debts had been paid.

After a short period of stability, Crawley Town ended up in the High Court in London to face a winding-up order on 17 February 2010; again this was because of money being owed to HMRC. The hearing was adjourned until 17 March 2010.[45] The latest setback appeared to be the end of Crawley Town, as the club had very few assets to sell in order to satisfy the debt. However, the case was later dismissed by the High Court as the club proved the debt had been paid.[46]

In a move that showed confidence in the new management, on 29 March 2010 Crawley Borough Council agreed to lease the Broadfield Stadium to Crawley Town F.C., and to help secure the long-term sustainability of the club.[47]

Ground[edit]

Broadfield Stadium

Crawley Town FC spent 48 years at their Town Mead home until the land was sold to developers in 1997. The club then moved to the Broadfield Stadium, about two miles across town. The stadium has a capacity of 5,996 people, and is owned by Crawley Borough Council.

In January 2012 the application for the new 2,000-seater East Stand (and facilities including new turnstiles and Premier League standard flood lights) was accepted by Crawley Borough Council.[48] The upgrade is required to meet the league rules which require a minimum 5,000 capacity stadium. After just one week of construction, the new East Stand was completed on 2 April 2012, bringing the total capacity of the Broadfield Stadium to 5,500. Upon completion, Crawley's first game with the new stand was against League Two side Crewe Alexandra on 6 April. The match ended in a 1–1 draw, with a new record crowd of 4,723, the previous best being 4,522.[49][50]

The record attendance reached 5,880 on Saturday 5 January 2013 when Crawley Town hosted Reading in the FA Cup.[51]

Between 2013 and 2018, the stadium was called The Checkatrade.com Stadium as part of a sponsorship deal with the online trades comparison company Checkatrade.[52]

Rivalries[edit]

Crawley Town supporters view AFC Wimbledon as their biggest rivals in a 2012 survey.[53] This is partly due to their relatively close proximity, and partly due to their frequent meetings since 2009. The two sides did not play each other between 2012 and 2015 due to Crawley's promotion to League One. However Crawley's relegation during the 2014–15 Football League One season means the two sides played each other on 15 August 2015, which Wimbledon won 2–1 after going a goal down.

Players[edit]

First team squad[edit]

As of 31 August 2018.[54]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Glenn Morris
2 England DF Lewis Young
3 Northern Ireland DF Josh Doherty
4 England MF Josh Payne
5 England DF Joe McNerney
6 Republic of Ireland DF Mark Connolly
7 Republic of Ireland MF Reece Grego-Cox
8 England MF Jimmy Smith (captain)
9 England FW Ollie Palmer
10 England FW Dominic Poleon
11 Malta MF Luke Gambin (on loan from Luton Town)
12 Turkey GK Yusuf Mersin
No. Position Player
14 England MF George Francomb
15 England MF Ashley Nathaniel-George
16 England DF Joe Maguire (on loan from Fleetwood Town)
17 England FW Tarryn Allarakhia
18 England MF David Sesay
20 France DF Romain Vincelot
21 England MF Dannie Bulman
22 Portugal MF Filipe Morais
25 England MF Mark Randall
26 Poland FW Brian Galach
28 Guinea-Bissau FW Panutche Camará
33 England DF Bondz N'Gala

For recent transfers, see 2018–19 Crawley Town F.C. season.

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
24 England MF Robert Milsom (on loan to Notts County until 1 January 2019)

Backroom staff[edit]

Position Name
Head Coach Italy Gabriele Cioffi
Assistant Coach England Nathan Rooney
First Team Coach England Jimmy Smith
Head Physio Australia Brice Pennicott
Club Doctor England Dr. Richard Connell
Sports Therapist England Joel Hanington
Fitness Coach Norway Erik Svendsen
Performance Analyst Vacant
Kit Manager Republic of Ireland Marcus Doyle

Directors and non-playing staff[edit]

Owner and Chairman Turkey Ziya Eren
Director of Football Turkey Selim Gaygusuz
Operations Director England Kelly Derham
General Manager England Bruce Talbot

Honours (first team)[edit]

League positions[edit]

Season Division Position Notes
2002–03 Southern League 7  –
2003–04 Southern League 1 Champions
2004–05 Conference National 12  –
2005–06 Conference National 17 3 point deduction
2006–07 Conference National 18 10 point deduction
2007–08 Conference National 15 6 point deduction
2008–09 Conference National 9  –
2009–10 Conference National 7  –
2010–11 Conference National 1 Champions
2011–12 Football League Two 3 Promotion
2012–13 Football League One 10  –
2013–14 Football League One 14  –
2014–15 Football League One 22 Relegation
2015–16 Football League Two 20  –
2016–17 EFL League Two 19  –
2017–18 EFL League Two 14  –

References[edit]

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  54. ^ https://www.crawleytownfc.com/news/2018/july/18-07-squad-numbers/

External links[edit]