League Two Lowdown: Crewe Alexandra
Feature by Jim Bonner
Updated Sunday, 24th July 2016
A closer look at the Railwaymen and Gresty Road.
Chairman: John Bowler
Last Season: League One - 24th (Relegated)
Nickname: The Railwaymen, Alex
Portsmouth vs Crewe: Saturday, March 4th(3pm)
Crewe vs Portsmouth: Saturday, August 13th (3pm)
Crewe Alexandra: A brief history
Formed in 1877 and named after Princess Alexandra, Crewe were founder members of the second division of the Football League in 1892. They lost their league status in 1896 before rejoining in 1921 but Alex would not taste their first promotion until 1963.
Club legend Dario Gradi joined the club in 1983 and garnered a reputation for developing young players. Crewe flourished under his guidance and played in the second tier under his management despite the meagre resources at his disposal.
Gradi stepped down in 2007 (though took charge twice between then and 2011) and after a couple of unsuccessful managers in between Gradi's reappointments, the Railwaymen appointed Steve Davis following their relegation to League Two. Davis led Crewe back to League One in 2012 but they were relegated last season after finishing bottom.
The Manager: Steve Davis
The 50-year-old's playing career spanned 27 years at various clubs, notably his current employers before ending his career at Nantwich Town, where he became player-manager and guided the non-league club to two promotions and an FA Vase victory.
This attracted the attentions of Crewe and after joining the club as assistant manager in 2009, Davis was appointed as Dario Gradi's successor in 2011 and guided the cub to promotion via the play-offs at the end of the 2011/2012 season. He has been in charge of Alex ever since despite finishing bottom of League One last season.
The Ground: Gresty Road (Capacity: 10,100 - Away: 1,600)
Gresty Road is a unique football ground due to it being dominated by one huge stand overlooking the three smaller ones. Pompey fans will be housed in the decrepit Whitby Morrison Ice Cream Van Stand and it's not great to be honest.
The facilities are basic and the seating will remind you of sitting in the Milton End at Fratton Park if you've ever experienced that. At least the low roof means a good atmosphere can be created. Opposite is the Main Stand where most of the Crewe fans sit along with the substitute players and staff. There are no dugouts at Gresty Road as staff from both teams are sat in blue seats instead.
To the left of the away end is the aptly named Railway End (because the trains run behind it) and looks fairly strange due to the executive boxes behind the rather shallow seating.
To the right is the Gresty Road End which is newer than the Railway End but no more exciting. The more mouthy Crewe fans tend to be situated here but in general they're a quiet bunch.