Crawley Town F.C.


Crawley Town F.C.
Crawley Town
Crawley Town crest
Full name Crawley Town Football Club
Nickname(s) Red Devils, The Reds[1]
Founded 1896
Ground Broadfield Stadium, Crawley
(Capacity: 4,996 (1,150 seated))
Chairman Victor Marley
Manager Steve Evans
League League Two
2010–11 Conference National, 1st
(champions)
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Crawley Town Football Club is an English football club based in Crawley, West Sussex. They won the title of the Football Conference, by a record[citation needed] 15 point margin on second place, and with it promotion to The Football League, in April 2011.

Contents

History

1896–2009

Formed in 1896, Crawley Town began life in the West Sussex League where they remained for five years before transferring to the Mid-Sussex League, winning the League in only their second season

They stayed at this level until they entered the Sussex County League in 1951 before switching again 5 years later to the Metropolitan League. The league 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 they were relegated back to the first division where they remained until the 1983–84 season when they were promoted as runners-up.

The club have enjoyed many cup successes, winning the Sussex Professional Cup in 1970, the Gilbert Rice Floodlight Cup in 1980 and 1984, the Southern Counties Combination Floodlight Cup in 1986, and the Sussex Senior Cup in 1990 and 1991. The Sussex Floodlight Cup was won in three consecutive years from 1991 to 1993 and also again in 1998–99.

Despite several cup successes, Crawley's most successful cup run at the time was in the 1991–92 season when they reached the The FA Cup third round proper and played local rivals Brighton, losing 5–0 in front of 18,000 at the Goldstone Ground.

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 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.

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,[2] 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 3rd from bottom and out of the FA Cup after a shock defeat to Braintree Town. Francis Vines was subsequently sacked and replace by former Chelsea FC manager and player John Hollins and his assistant Alan Lewer. 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.[3] 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 deducted 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.

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

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. 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 deducted 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. The season started well for Crawley who sat at the top of the table for much of the opening of the campaign; they then hit a bad patch but they did manage to remain in the play-off places for most of the season. However, 2009 got off to bad start for Crawley as they were deducted four points for fielding an unregistered player (Isaiah Rankin). On 26 January 2009 Crawley announced that they would appeal against the decision and therefore the points deduction was put on hold.[4] The appeal was heard on 28 February 2009,[5] and the points deduction was reduced to just one point. Crawley finished the season in ninth place.[6]

Crawley entered the 2009–10 season full of optimism, and after a long-awaited period of stability the club were hoping for their most successful season in the conference to date with a push for a play-off place. Crawley's ambition took a blow before a ball was even kicked when it was announced that key players Jake Wright and Jamie Cook had transferred to Brighton and Oxford respectively.[7][8] Taking just 10 points from their opening 8 games, things didn't start well for Crawley. An impressive 1–0 win away to Cambridge was followed up by a 4–1 thumping at home to Gateshead, and summed up Crawley's early inconsistent form. Things did pick up for Crawley and by 13 February they had secured 17 points out of a possible 21, putting them back in with a chance of making the playoffs.[9] The highlight of their good form was a four-minute hat-trick scored by Charles Ademeno in the 3–2 away win against Grays on 28 December 2009.[10] Crawley finished the season in 7th place, their highest ever position.

2010–

2010 was the beginning of a new era for Crawley Town, Co-owner Bruce Winfield announced that the clubs £1 million debt had been cleared and that manager Steve Evans would be given the funds to assemble a squad capable of securing promotion to the football league.[11] Big money was spent bringing in Matt Tubbs, for £70,000[12] Sergio Torres for a record £100,000,[13] and Richard Brodie for an undisclosed fee,[14] the fee paid is estimated at a new Conference record of £275,000.[14] The season didn't start as planned as Crawley picked up only 1 point from their opening two games, however form soon picked up and Crawley were soon challenging the leaders.

Crawley's spending was criticised by many who branded them "the Manchester City of Non League" having spent around £500,000 on new players,[15] however their remarkable FA Cup run brought in an estimated £2 million,[16] having beaten Championship Derby County 2–1 in the 3rd round, followed by a 1–0 win at League Two Torquay United [17] in the 4th round and setting up a dream tie at Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the 5th round.[18] Crawley lost the game 1–0 in front of 9,000 Crawley fans and were denied a remarkable draw in the 93rd minute when Richard Brodie's header hit the bar.[19]

Despite the Cup run Crawley remained focused on winning the league title, Crawley spent much of mid season close to the leaders AFC Wimbledon but with games in hand due to the cup run. Crawley soon caught up with the leaders having been unbeaten in the league since October 2010.[20] The death of Co-Owner and life long fan Bruce Winfield in March 2011, shocked the Crawley community,[21] though the club vowed to continue his good work, and just 19 days after Winfield's death his dream was realised when Crawley Secured the League title by beating Tamworth 3–0 and reaching The Football League for the first time in the club's history.[22] The Red Devils' first ever game in the Football League was a draw, away to Port Vale. As of the 13th of November 2011, Crawley Town were 2nd in the NPower League 2, a remarkable feat for their first season in professional football in England. After being comprehensively beaten 3–1 by Cheltenham Town FC, this defeat brought to an end a run of over 33 matches undefeated.

Ground

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 4,996 people, and is owned by Crawley Borough Council. The home league game against Weymouth in Crawley's 2003–04 title winning season saw a new record crowd of 4,522, who watched a 2–1 Crawley victory against the eventual runners-up.

Financial problems

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.[3] 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.[23] Majeed later resigned from his post but remained on in some capacity.

The Reds' 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, 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 HM Revenue and Customs unwilling to move on their 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.[24] 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.[24] 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 now, though this didn't stop HM Revenue and Customs from trying to wind up the SAGroup (Majeed's company) over unpaid taxes.[25] Azwar Majeed was later jailed for tax fraud relating to his various other businesses.[26]

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.[27] 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.[28] 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.[29]

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.[30]

Players

As of 16 September 2011.[31]

Current squad

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

No. Position Player
1 Netherlands GK Michel Kuipers
3 England DF Dean Howell
4 England DF Pablo Mills (club captain)
5 England DF Kyle McFadzean
6 Nigeria MF Hope Akpan
8 Argentina MF Sergio Torres
9 England FW Matt Tubbs
11 England MF Josh Simpson
12 England MF Ben Smith
13 England MF David Hunt
14 England MF Jamie Day
No. Position Player
15 England MF Dannie Bulman
17 England FW John Akinde
18 Scotland DF John Dempster
21 Wales MF Michael Doughty (on loan from Queens Park Rangers)
22 Wales MF Scott Neilson
23 England FW Tyrone Barnett
24 England MF Byron Napper
25 Scotland GK Scott Shearer
27 England MF Andy Drury (on loan from Ipswich Town)
28 Jamaica DF Claude Davis
29 England FW Jon-Paul Pittman (on loan from Oxford United)

Out on loan

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

No. Position Player
2 Republic of Ireland MF Scott Davies (at Aldershot until 7 January 2012)
7 Scotland MF Willie Gibson (at St. Johnstone until 31 January 2012)
10 England FW Wesley Thomas (at Bournemouth until 2 December 2011)
16 England DF Glenn Wilson (at Fleetwood Town until 14 January 2012)
20 England DF Charlie Wassmer (at Fleetwood Town until 14 January 2012)
England FW Richard Brodie (at Fleetwood Town until the end of the 2011–12 season)

Honours (first team)

  • Mid Sussex Senior League 1902–03
  • Montgomery Cup 1925–26
  • Sussex Intermediate Cup 1927–28
  • Metropolitan League Challenge Cup 1958–59
  • Highest Placed Amateurs Award 1961–62
  • Sussex Professional Cup 1969–70
  • Southern League Merit Cup 1970–71
  • Gilbert Rice Floodlight Cup 1979–80, 1983–84
  • Southern Counties Combination Floodlight League 1985–86
  • Sussex Senior Cup 1989–90, 1990–91, 2002–03, 2004–05
  • Sussex Floodlight Cup 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1998–99
  • Roy Hayden Trophy 1990–91, 1991–92
  • William Hill Senior Cup 1992–93
  • Southern League Cup Winners 2002–03, 2003–04
  • Southern League Championship Trophy 2003–04, 2004–05
  • Southern League Champions 2003–04
  • Conference National Champions 2010–11
  • FA Ronnie Radford Award Winners 2011 ** (Season's most impressive giant-killing act in The FA Cup) **

References

  1. ^ "BBC Sport - Football - Crawley boss Evans calls for focus ahead of FA Cup tie". BBC News. 2011-01-27. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/c/crawley_town/9378383.stm. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  2. ^ Published on Tue Jul 26 18:03:37 BST 2005. "NEW OWNERS REVEAL PLANS - Sport Video highlights". Crawley Observer. http://www.crawleyobserver.co.uk/sport/NEW-OWNERS-REVEAL-PLANS.1096139.jp. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  3. ^ a b Oliver, Pete (6 March 2006). "Crawley squad have wages slashed". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/crawley_town/4779696.stm. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  4. ^ Published on Mon Jan 26 13:23:55 GMT 2009. "Crawley Town appeal against points deduction - Sport Video highlights". Crawley Observer. http://www.crawleyobserver.co.uk/sport/Crawley-Town-appeal-against-points.4913546.jp. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  5. ^ "Crawley Town Football Club - Home Page". Crawleytownfc.net. http://www.crawleytownfc.net/newsdetails.php?ID=1058. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  6. ^ "Blue Square Premier Table - 2010–11". Englishfootball.info. http://www.englishfootball.info/conference/table/. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  7. ^ "Crawley Town Football Club - Home Page". Crawleytownfc.com. http://crawleytownfc.com/newsdetails.php?ID=1219. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  8. ^ By smunnery. "Crawley Town: Jamie Cook signs for Oxford". Thisissussex.co.uk. http://www.thisissussex.co.uk/crawley/sport/crawleytown/Jamie-Cook-makes-deadline-day-switch-Oxford/article-1303921-detail/article.html. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  9. ^ "Crawley Town Football Club - Home Page". Crawleytownfc.com. http://crawleytownfc.com/newsdetails.php?ID=1441. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  10. ^ "Crawley Town Football Club - Home Page". Crawleytownfc.com. http://crawleytownfc.com/newsdetails.php?ID=1373. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  11. ^ "Crawley owners clear club debts". BBC News. 1 July 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/crawley_town/8780774.stm. 
  12. ^ "Tubbs completes Crawley transfer". BBC News. 1 July 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/crawley_town/8779734.stm. 
  13. ^ http://www.thisissussex.co.uk/sport/Town-smash-transfer-record-land-Torres/article-2398947-detail/article.html
  14. ^ a b "Crawley land York striker Brodie". BBC News. 1 September 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/crawley_town/8959936.stm. 
  15. ^ http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2900/fa-cup/2011/02/18/2357182/introducing-crawley-town-the-manchester-city-of-non-league
  16. ^ http://www.theargus.co.uk/sport/bluesquare/crawleynews/8864800.Reds_will_use___2m_Cup_run_money_wisely/
  17. ^ "Torquay 0–1 Crawley Town". BBC News. 29 January 2011. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/fa_cup/9379079.stm. 
  18. ^ Sales, Dan (31 January 2011). "Red Devils v Red Devils". The Sun (London). http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3380565/FA-Cup-draw-of-the-century-as-Crawley-Town-draw-Manchester-United.html. 
  19. ^ http://news.sky.com/skynews/Article/201009115937060
  20. ^ http://crawleytownfc.com/fixtures.php?pageid=39
  21. ^ http://www.theargus.co.uk/sport/8922967.Crawley_Town_in_mourning_after_Bruce_Winfield_dies/
  22. ^ Alexander, Jeremy (11 April 2011). "Crawley dreams realised as they gain promotion to Football League – Jeremy Alexander". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/football-league-blog/2011/apr/11/crawley-town-promotion-tamworth. 
  23. ^ "Crawley Town FC Chairman is bankrupt (From The Argus)". Archive.theargus.co.uk. 2006-03-10. http://archive.theargus.co.uk/2006/3/10/208759.html. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  24. ^ a b "Crawley Town". Clubs In Crisis. 2009-04-09. http://www.clubsincrisis.com/Club_Detail.asp?Key=102. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  25. ^ "Crawley creditors back rescue bid". BBC News. 30 August 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/crawley_town/5295456.stm. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  26. ^ "Ex-football boss jailed for fraud". BBC News. 7 April 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/sussex/7988739.stm. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  27. ^ "Crawley Town". Clubs In Crisis. 2009-04-09. http://www.clubsincrisis.com/crawley_town.html. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  28. ^ By gebrey. "Crawley Town given breathing space after winding up order is adjourned". Thisissussex.co.uk. http://www.thisissussex.co.uk/crawley/news/Crawley-Town-given-breathing-space-winding-order-adjourned/article-1841616-detail/article.html. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  29. ^ "Crawley Town and Farnborough in court today " Football Management". Footballmanagement.wordpress.com. 2010-03-17. http://footballmanagement.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/crawley-town-and-farnborough-in-court-today/. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  30. ^ Published on Mon Mar 29 14:17:19 BST 2010. "BREAKING NEWS: Crawley Town FC to lease ground from council - Video News Reports". Crawley Observer. http://www.crawleyobserver.co.uk/news/BREAKING-NEWS-Crawley-Town-FC.6188154.jp. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  31. ^ "First Team". Crawley Town F.C.. http://www.crawleytownfc.com/page/ProfilesDetail. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 

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