Crawley Town F.C.

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Crawley Town
Crawley Town crest
Full nameCrawley Town Football Club
Nickname(s)The Reds,[1] Red Devils
Founded1896
GroundBroadfield Stadium, Crawley
(capacity: 5,996 (3,301 seated))
ChairmanVictor Marley
ManagerRichie Barker
LeagueLeague One
2011–12League Two, 3rd
(promoted)
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours
Current season
 
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Crawley Town
Crawley Town crest
Full nameCrawley Town Football Club
Nickname(s)The Reds,[1] Red Devils
Founded1896
GroundBroadfield Stadium, Crawley
(capacity: 5,996 (3,301 seated))
ChairmanVictor Marley
ManagerRichie Barker
LeagueLeague One
2011–12League Two, 3rd
(promoted)
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours
Current season

Crawley Town Football Club is an English football club based in Crawley, West Sussex. It was founded in 1896. 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 5th round of the FA Cup, where they lost to Manchester United. Crawley currently participate in Football League One, the third tier of English football, having secured promotion on the last day of the 2011–12 season with a 1–0 win against Accrington Stanley. The club's home ground is at Broadfield Stadium.

Contents

History

Early years

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 season they were relegated back to the first division where they remained until the 1983–84 season when they were promoted as runners-up.[2]

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.[2]

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 18,301 at the Goldstone Ground.[3]

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.

Conference

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,[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9] 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.

FA Cup run & Football League

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.[10] The investment allowed manager Steve Evans to start rebuilding the squad, which saw 23 players over a six month period including Matt Tubbs, for £70,000[11] Sergio Torres for a record £100,000,[12] and Richard Brodie for an undisclosed fee,[13] 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 Derby County 2–1 in the 3rd round, followed by a 1–0 win at League Two side Torquay United[14] in the 4th round and setting up a dream tie at Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the 5th round.[15] 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.[16]

Crawley's cup run and the death of owner Bruce Winfield,[17] 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.[18]

They once again enjoyed success in the FA Cup which saw them beat Championship teams Bristol City[19] at home and Hull City[20] away both 1–0. They suffered a 2–0 defeat against Stoke City in the 5th round. This was Crawley's first Premier League opposition played at the Broadfield Stadium.

Crawley finished the year of 2011 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 fourteen. Many argued the sales of Matt Tubbs and Tyrone Barnett for £800,000[21] and £1,100,000[22] respectively, as well as failing to reach a deal over Andy Drury[23] contributed to their dip in form. Three Crawley players were involved in a post-match brawl[24] 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[25] equalling the record for the most dismissals in an English game. Consequently Crawley were fined £18,000.[26] Following an F.A inquiry into the events that took place, Kyle McFadzean[27] 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.[28] Despite apologising,[29] Mills was stripped of his captaincy for not befitting the role of a club captain.[30] 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[31] 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.[32]

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. [33]

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.[6] 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.[34] 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.[35] 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.[35] 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.[36] Azwar Majeed was later jailed for tax fraud relating to his various other businesses.[37]

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.[38] 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.[39] 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.[40]

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.[41]

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 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 Council. The new stand is due to open on 17 March when Crawley meet Port Vale.[42] 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 5,996. Upon completion, Crawley's first game with the new stand was against League Two side Crewe Alexandra on April the 6th. The match ended in a 1–1 draw, with a new record crowd of 4,723 (previously 4,522).[43][44]

The record attendance reached 5,058 on Sunday 9 September 2012 when Crawley Town hosted Portsmouth in League One.[citation needed]

Players

As of 11 July 2012.[45]

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.PositionPlayer
1EnglandGKPaul Jones
2Republic of IrelandMFScott Davies
3EnglandDFMat Sadler
4Republic of IrelandDFMark Connolly
5EnglandDFKyle McFadzean
6NigeriaMFHope Akpan
7Republic of IrelandFWBilly Clarke
8ArgentinaMFSergio Torres
9EnglandFWGary Alexander (Club Captain)
10BarbadosFWJonathan Forte (on loan from Southampton)
11EnglandMFJosh Simpson
12WalesDFJoe Walsh
No.PositionPlayer
13EnglandDFDavid Hunt
14EnglandFWNicky Ajose (on loan from Peterborough United)
15EnglandMFDannie Bulman
16WalesMFNicky Adams
17EnglandFWJohn Akinde
18EnglandDFShaun Cooper
20EnglandDFCharlie Wassmer
21EnglandMFMike Jones
23EnglandFWJonte Smith
24CanadaDFJon Dollery
25NetherlandsGKMichel Kuipers
27EnglandMFAaron Wickham
28JamaicaDFClaude Davis

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.PositionPlayer
22WalesMFScott Neilson (at Grimsby Town until January 2013)[46]
26EnglandFWRichard Brodie (at Morecambe until January 2013)[47]

Backroom staff

PositionName
Director Of FootballEngland Steve Coppell
ManagerEngland Richard Barker
Assistant ManagerWales Anthony Williams
First Team CoachScotland Craig Brewster
Head PhysioEngland Mark Stein
Chief ScoutEngland Gee Evans
Head Of YouthEngland Gian Surdhar
Under 18's CoachEngland Ravinder Saini

Directors & non-playing staff

ChairmanEngland Victor Marley
DirectorEngland Sue Carter
DirectorEngland Ian Carter
DirectorEngland Dave Pottinger
Chief ExecutiveEngland Alan Williams
Kit ManagerEngland Marco Quasimodo

Honours (first team)

League positions

SeasonDivisionPositionNotes
2002–03Southern League7
2003–04Southern League1Champions
2004–05Conference National12
2005–06Conference National173 point deduction
2006–07Conference National1810 point deduction
2007–08Conference National156 point deduction
2008–09Conference National9
2009–10Conference National7
2010–11Conference National1Champions
2011–12Football League Two3Promotion

References

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  42. ^ [1]
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External links