Anonymous Don WUP 8.2

I’m currently putting together a few thoughts on last nights Crawley game, but in the meantime (and as I broke my promise to post it yesterday) here my article from the last WUP relating to Crawley…

As my old gran once told me before she sadly passed way a few years ago – ‘There’s none more dangerous than a c–t who thinks they’re clever’. Actually, I’m paraphrasing – as a committed God Botherer to the end I can assure you Nan Smith would never have dropped the C-bomb… but having said that she never had the misfortune of meeting Steve Evans…

It’s fair to say Crawley Town are a dislikeable club even without Evans. Their unwelcoming breeze block stadium with one side open to the roaring traffic of the A23, the main entrance leading out to street after street of identikit council stock housing, spaced out amidst uninspired greenery – which seemingly has the single function of giving the local scum’s status dogs somewhere to shit when they tire of the kitchen floor – the place has the feel of a cross between Stalag and Butlins… like New Addington but without the escape route offered by trams…

In this environment, Evans fits like a pair of those six fingered gloves the locals are so keen on. The tragic thing is had Evans not cheated both taxpayer and the game during his time at Boston, and if he could just keep his mouth shut from time to time, he would actually be regarded as one of the better Conference managers. Undoubtedly he had a reduced budget last season, probably not as small as he liked to make out, but compared to some of the big hitters he had a point – I can grudgingly accept that. Ultimately Crawley finished above the Dons, albeit partly thanks to our squad deciding to take their summer break a month early, but still a fantastic achievement. I’m not sure exactly what Evans motivational techniques are, but if I played for him he would get an exponential improvement week on week simply by threatening to bare his expansive arse in the dressing room if performance levels dropped…

Thanks to their somewhat surprising financial good fortune over the summer Evans has taken the best of that squad, strengthened in key areas, as well as identifying the one area that separates champions from also-rans… quality strikers. Consider this; each signing brings its own risks… players could fail to settle, lose that goalscoring touch due to an inability to immediately gel with new team mates, or (as we have found to our cost with Mark Nwokeji) find themselves injured. You’ll go a long way towards winning the Conference if you have at least one striker banging in the goals at any one point, so while signing Matt Tubbs and Ben Wright might seem like overkill to simple clubs like ourselves and the other twenty-two Conference clubs operating within a budget… if money is no object why not splash out several hundred thousand on Richard Brodie? The more quality strikers you have in your squad, the closer you are to guaranteeing at least one of them will be scoring goals for you at any one time. Bear in mind Brodie himself is making the move from a pleasant northern town to a shit-hole two hundred miles south of his family and friends – a culture shock if ever there was one – while outsiders might expect him to hit the ground running for his new team, it’s not as essential he scores goals straight away.

With all this money, you might expect Crawley would have changed their style of play accordingly in order to attract the lost floating support. So is it all sexy football down at Broadfield these days? Here are a selection of quotes from Forest Green manager Dave Hockaday after their Bank Holiday visit, you can make your own minds up… “Total intimidation from start to finish both on and off the field…… a crazy game where the young officials struggled to deal with the provocation…… my players stood up to all the intimidation and kept their discipline under extreme provocation…”. Crawley have been known to attract the odd 4,000 plus crowd in their time, it’s not too much of a surprise that despite the hype, they are struggling to pull in greater than four figure crowds. Of course, more will jump on the bandwagon as the season progresses, presumably the object throwers from the two cup ties last season will be back for the big games (although, to be fair to those Crawley fans, there were more than a handful of Dons fans queuing up to hurl far more dangerous items than plastic coke bottles in James Pullen’s direction at the end of last term…)

Crawley apparently have the money up front for what they are somewhat arrogantly referring to as ‘Project Promotion’ (and think about how badly we would have been hammered if we had marketed ourselves in similar fashion while in the Ryman Premier…), in fact the money is in the bank earning interest for the next two years (or three, depending on who you believe…). The problem is, I just don’t believe it. We’ve seen it all before. Why aren’t Withdean 2000 currently operating in the Ryman League? Fisher should be up with us in the Conference… and surely Hornchurch and Bromley are in the Football League by now, right? No, and the reason they aren’t is because the money men who funded their initial burst up the divisions either ran out of cash or realized the ego-trip of bankrolling a non-league football club through the divisions wasn’t exactly the wank-fantasy they originally thought it would be, and bailed at the first available opportunity. The problem for clubs like Crawley in the current financial climate is there are fewer and fewer white knights ready to ride to their rescue when living the dream turns into a nightmare. Today’s beef and gravy is tomorrows lumpy mid-morning dump, and who really wants to clear up that mess?

Which brings me on to their bid for Danny Kedwell. You have to question how serious it was from the start. I mean if Evans was prepared to go as high as the reported £275,000 to get Brodie, why stop at £60,000 for Keds, in my (very biased) opinion a more complete forward than Brodie? Why not try and tempt us with a serious offer? I’m of the opinion this was another of his sloppy attempts at mind games – but while Evans may think he’s clever, this one has backfired on him. It has galvanised our club. We are stronger now than we would have been if he hadn’t bid to start with. We will probably not win the league this season, we might not even challenge for promotion, but there is one thing that I can guarantee… A certain football club and their loud-mouth manager are due a red hot reception at Kingsmeadow come 23rd September…

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