The visit of Crawley Town marks the first ‘normal’ home game we have had this season, not counting all ticket games against fellow ex-League clubs or the Salisbury game, which was our first game that wasn’t all ticket. Tomorrow (and Saturdays game against Histon) will give us a benchmark of what the attendance and atmosphere is going to be like for the rest of the season.
Despite the short distance, how many Crawley fans are going to make the journey? Will we really give them the entire KRE as we did for Salibury? I only ask because I don’t know whether the moveable barriers are sufficient in the BSP even if its only a temporary measure to split the end in two. If anyone knows, please leave a comment to clarify all this (and while your there let us know whether the new away pen in the JSS will have two barriers to cater for large and small away followings…).
Enough babbling. I’m sure you all want me to reveal what I know about our visitors. Well, I can’t legally write my first article of the season concerning Crawley without first mentioning their manager, Convicted Fraudster Steve Evans. Evans as we all remember, was responsible for not only cheating every team that Boston faced during their victorious Conference campaign but stealing from all of us by lying about how much money certain players were paid, allowing him to use money that should have gone to the taxman to be channelled back into the playing fund.
‘Hang on Anony Don’, I may hear one or two of you say (if you happen to be sitting in the same room as me when you read this), ‘All of this happened a while ago now, shouldn’t he be given another chance?’ Well he has been, and has managed to add to his reputation thanks to a shocking disciplinary record that has seen him sent from the dugout on numerous occasions. Perhaps the most memorable being the occasion at Grimsby where Evans had to be dragged out of the stadium by the police mid-match.
Evans last trip to the FA, only last week, has seen him sentenced to a three game ban from contacting his players during matchdays, plus an extra ten game touch-line suspension. Amazingly, the Crawley board have sprung to his defence. Apparently as Evans hasn’t been charged for any offence over the last fifteen months, this shows some signs of improvement. Of course a large proportion of those fifteen months were taken up by two close seasons, but why let that get in the way of a big number?
Crawley chairman Vic Marley described the ban as ‘…more to do with his reputation from the past…’, a comment that makes me think ‘quite right too’. The difference between a club like Crawley and ourselves is clarified further when you consider Terry Brown’s comment last season, when he told reporters that Erik Samuelson would probably sack him if he tried to tap up a player (in other words speak to or otherwise influence a player prior to an official approach being made). This goes on in the game all over the place, but I have no doubt that if a club made a serious complaint, no matter who the manager was, it would be investigated seriously.
Maybe that is why AFC Wimbledon have been consistently attracting decent crowds season after season, whereas Crawley have great difficulty bringing in a four figure crowd when things are going against them. It’s no insult intended against the Crawley fans themselves, but my question to them must be ‘Do you think your manager, and to a lesser extent chairman and board of directors, put off the casual fan from turning up on a matchday?’
Thats five paragraphs off my chest. Oh, and Evans has the opportunity to appeal, so his ban doesn’t kick in just yet. So those in the JSS have the opportunity to direct their views to the man himself. I’m sure he will appreciate any advice given. Especially regarding his weight…
Crawley had to rebuild their squad over the summer amid rumours of financial difficulties, although their situation seemed nowhere as chaotic as Ebbsfleets. They managed to sign a half decent albeit journeyman striker in Jefferson Louis, who managed his most stable season for years by hitting fifteen goals for Wrexham last season, yet has only managed one goal from his ten appearances for Crawley so far.
This single goal makes Louis joint top scorer amongst the current squad which probably explains a lot from a team that has only managed one goal away from home so far (although Oxford’s recent signing Jamie Cook notched three for Crawley before his move last month). In replacing Cook, Crawley have turned to a familiar name to Dons fans in Callum Willock…
Willock looked the real deal in his two trial appearances, and only missed out on getting a deal thanks to his apparently large wage demands and requirement of a long term contract in order to ‘look after his family’. So either Willock has decided his family can make do with shopping at Lidl or Crawley have taken the money they received for Cook and found a large sum down the back of the sofa. Desperation on both sides may have played a part, after all it is September and most players and clubs are pretty settled by now. Besides, apparently Willock has accepted a one month deal… which is what TB offered him at the Meadow. Never mind, we have Monty now…
Willock’s introduction to the Crawley fans was dramatic, scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory over Kettering. The scorer of Crawley’s first goal, Charlie Ademeno, faces a fitness test before this game although the source of this information was the BBC website so it could turn out to be an entertainment story about the cast of Charlies Angels fitting in a trip to Loch Ness or something…
Another possible returnee, again according to BBC Sport, is Glenn Wilson. Wilson played a couple of games on loan under DA at around the same time Jay Conroy had his first spell at the club, the pair joining on loan from Crystal Palace for a month. I personally cannot remember Wilson at all. I think he played a couple of games but was never going to shine as bright as Conroy’s twinkley blue eyes!
The Dons are guaranteed to move up at least one place with a win this evening, but maybe will move up a few places judging by the congestion from the play-off places downwards. With a game in hand things are looking up for the side, the young players are learning lessons with no pressure on them to push for a promotion spot (at least not from most of us…), and look good for a result against transitional Crawley, who have been awful away from home this year (except for beating Cambridge…).
Our O/S has been a bit quiet on the squad front, but I would imagine we will see pretty much the same lineup as we did against Ebbsfleet. Maybe Monty could come in for his first start in place of Main. We know Terry is looking to make changes, but the strength and energy in some of the young players at this early stage suggests they don’t need to be rested. Have you noticed Chris Hussey flagging recently? Gregory and Hatton probably cover more ground than anyone, and do you see them puffing towards the end of games?
Maybe only Lewis Taylor from the younger players looks tired at times, but as he missed virtually an entire season last year I would imagine it may take a few weeks still until he gets properly match fit. Jon Main seems to suffer, but on the whole his form is on the floor at the moment so its hard to tell whether he is tired or just downhearted towards the end of games.
I expect Main to start on the bench tonight. Nothing against him, but it’s about time that we saw how Kedwell and Montague operate together. And its a toss up who will start on the left from Duncan or Adjei. Naturally Im going for Moore in that case. So I’m expecting the following lineup…
NB – Jay Conroy’s appeal has come through and it has gone against him. I can only express my complete outrage in a self-righteous manner in a way only someone who wasn’t at the game and didn’t see the incident could…