League One Lowdown: Crewe Alexandra
Feature by Jim Bonner
Updated Thursday, 16th August 2012
A closer look at the Railwaymen.
Chairman: John Bowler
Last Season: League Two - 7th (Play-off Winners)
Nickname: The Railwaymen, Alex
Portsmouth vs Crewe: Saturday, October 13th (3pm)
Crewe vs Portsmouth: Saturday, March 2nd (3pm)
The Manager: Steve Davis
The 46-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 last season.
Crewe in-depth: An interview with Alex fan Jack Jones.
What are your hopes and expectations for this season?
My expectations might differ slightly from the rest of the Alex faithful. I would snap your hand off for 20th come the end of the season. Survival should be the aim, although we shouldn't just aim for staying up. My friend reckons top of the bottom 8, which would put us 17th, is realistic and I agree. However, if we get some form together, we could trouble the top half. Some of our more optimistic fans reckon we might even have an outside chance at the play offs. We'll see.
What do you think of your manager?
Fantastic, wonderful, amazing. Had a decent reputation after we signed him from Nantwich and he was expected to take over at Crewe for a long while. He had to wait until last November to do so. Once he did, we took off. Lost 5 games in total under his management, and we proudly defend a 20 game unbeaten run, which is down to his hard work. Oh and the fact he got us promoted as well. Legend.
If we do well this season, he'll no doubt be lined up by NPC clubs. He's got a great future ahead of him and will eventually go onto bigger and better things. Just hope he's ours for a few more years.
Who are your key players?
Tricky. Steve Phillips. Got an injury at the moment, but is our oldest and most experienced player. His calm head and experience will be vital for this young squad to learn from.
Centre half Mark Ellis will need to replicate his Torquay form and help keep our defence tight this season. Looks a decent prospect so far.
Ash Westwood in midfield will be vital for us. He's been made captain, so he'll need to lead by example. He has brilliant passing and vision, plus takes all our corners and free kicks. Going to be a big year for Westy. Another season like the 2nd half of last season, and I have no doubt he'll get snapped up by an NPC club minimum.
Max Clayton is the headline maker upfront. Contributed 5 goals last season, despite spending most of his time on the bench. Now is his time to emerge from the departed Nick Powell's shadow and shine. Got 2 goals against Hartlepool in the League Cup already, and given the service, he could well hit well into double figures for us this season.
What is your club most famous for?
Dario Gradi and our academy. The reason we are still in existance today is thanks to Dario and his long term vision for the club, which he implemented. He transformed us from a ramshackle tinpot club into a well respected, well run club, with an academy that has produced top notch talent for many a year. The man is a living legend.
Describe Gresty Road for Pompey fans.
The ground is decent enough, but a bit poorly designed. The main stand is too big. When it was built, imo we should have built a smaller 2 tier structure. We should have then redeveloped the railway end.
The best part is by far the main stand. Fantastic views and it really stands out, plus its unique, unlike most other football stands. Worst part is probably the away end, followed by the Railway End. The away end doesn't have the facilities to cope with large away crowds, plus it has two large pillars blocking the view for some away fans in bigger followings.
As already mentioned, the away end is adequate enough to cope with small to average numbers, but for big followings, it does struggle. Although saying that, you are close to the pitch, the stand has a low roof which helps with noise and to boot you are on the side of the pitch, so your view of the game is decent.
Describe your rivalries with other clubs?
We don't have any proper rivals, just local clubs we cling onto/adopt as rivals. The biggest hatred Crewe fans have is towards Port Vale and Stoke, down to how close they are.
We also aren't too keen at Wrexham, Chester and Stockport. Tranmere also annoy some of the older Crewe fans as well.
What is the most interesting fact about your club that is little-known to fans of other clubs?
Don't know really. Suppose we're probably the only team to have a band name itself after one of our managers with the band Dario G.
We also have our own personalised song, standing together, plus WE started singing Blue Moon, not Citeh. Don't know how well known those 3 things are though.
Predict your team's finishing position?
17th. We'll start slowly, pick up form through November-March, then tail off to finish 17th.
The Ground: Gresty Road (Capacity: 10,000)
Photos and review to come.