League One Lowdown: Crawley Town
Feature by Jim Bonner
Updated Thursday, 16th August 2012
A closer look at the Red Devils.
Chairman: Victor Marley
Last Season: League Two - 3rd (Promoted)
Nickname: The Red Devils
Portsmouth vs Crawley: Wednesday, December 26th (3pm)
Crawley vs Portsmouth: Sunday, September 9th (3:30pm - Sky TV)
The Manager: Richie Barker
Barker spent most of his playing career in the lower divisions of English football, notably at Mansfield, Hartlepool and Rotherham.
After joining Bury as their youth team coach in 2010, Barker was given the manager's job in April 2011 when Alan Knill left for Scunthorpe. After guiding the Shakers on a six match winning run that ended in promotion from League Two, Barker was given the job permanently and kept the club in League One.
With just a week until the 2012/2013 began, Crawley appointed Barker as their new manager after Sean O'Driscoll's swift move to Nottingham Forest, having never managed a competitive game for the Red Devils.
Crawley in-depth: An interview with Red Devils fan Paul.
What are your hopes and expectations for the season?
I hope for a play off spot. Realistically though, I would be delighted to achieve mid table. Avoiding relegation without any great tension is OK by me. We've come a long way in a short time so consolidating in League 1 would be a tremendous achievement.
What do you think of your manager?
Hard to say really as he's not been here long. He seems to have made mostly correct calls up till now if results are to be used as a guide. He seems to be a much better PR man than Steve Evans but I suppose most are.
Who are your key players?
Largely the more unsung heroes in my view. MacFadzean and Davis are pretty solid centre backs. Bulman in midfield rarely gets mentioned away from the club but he is a real workhorse and a valuable asset (though not in money terms).
Torres and Billy Clarke are workaholics too. However, the real key to this season could be Paul Jones the keeper. Come May, he could well be the one that keeps us in League One.
What is your club most famous for?
Not a lot really as we were non league for our entire history until last year. I suppose that getting promoted two seasons in a row and having perhaps the most unpopular manager in non league history are notable. Also, holding Man Utd to a single goal win at Old Trafford whilst non league and very nearly getting a replay has to be noteworthy.
Describe Broadfield Stadium for Pompey fans.
The main West Stand has about 2,000 seats. The new East stand has about 2,000 too. The East stand is viewed as temporary and has a canvas roof which looks a bit unprofessional.
However, I can see the logic in it as if we eventually end up with Championship football, it would need to be upgraded anyway. The North and South ends have low level terracing for about 2,000 standing.
Total capacity around 6,000. All areas covered but get wet if at the front. Away supporters are allocated the North terracing and some East stand seating in the Northeast corner.
The ground is about 15 years old and in spite of its limitations, is a massive improvement on our previous ground. Parking at the ground is very limited.
Describe your rivalries with other clubs.
If we had any rivalries, I guess we left them behind in non league - not that there were ever any real problems.
Some supporters seem to make an issue of AFC Wimbledon. A few others sideswipe at Luton - though I'm not sure why as they are a long way away. I think that if there was any recent rivalry, it was aimed more at Steve Evans than the club itself. However, he has now departed.
What is the most interesting fact about your club which is little-known to fans of other clubs?
Not much to tell here. We have had the odd well known league player come here when we were non league. Obviously this was at the tail end of their careers.
I suppose the most notable was David Speedie - formerly of Chelsea fame. There was also the late Charlie Livesey who some older Pompey supporters may recall as a Brighton player.
Although I've never noticed him, it has been said that Gareth Southgate watches us play sometimes (his parents live in Crawley).
Predict your team's finishing position?
The Ground: Broadfield Stadium (Capacity: 6,000)
Photos and review to come.