By Laurie Fitzgerald
When Crawley Town pulled off the final shock of a dramatic FA Cup weekend by knocking out Championship side Derby County, many people started to take notice of the Blue Square Premier side after their fantastic achievement of reaching the Fourth Round.
The truth is, they’ve been making big noises in the non-league world all season.
When Sergio Torres fired in the last minute winner on Monday night, it made people stand up and take notice of what Crawley have been doing this campaign. But those that have been keeping a close eye on the club will know that since clearing the debts that hung over them in the summer, they have gone from strength to strength.
Chairman Victor Marley gave manager Steve Evans the funds to build a squad capable of reaching the promised land of the Football League.
Evans then went about bringing in these players, and in the process spent big money. Crawley smashed the non-league transfer record when they spent £300,000 on bringing Richard Brodie from York City to the Broadfield Stadium. Another six-figure sum was spent on bringing Sergio Torres in from Peterborough, and more money spent on the likes of Matt Tubbs and Scott Neilson as over 15 new faces came into the squad.
It was always going to be a tough ask for 48 year-old Evans in piecing together a squad with so many new arrivals, but the former Boston United manager has done a fine job. Crawley now find themselves in third place in the Blue Square Premier, but they are just four points behind leaders AFC Wimbledon with four games in hand.
They’ve had some impressive results in the process, including a 2-1 win away at pre-season favourites and fellow promotion hopefuls Luton Town and a thumping 7-0 win at home to Altrincham.
Thanks to the likes of Glenn Wilson, Pablo Mills and Kyle Mcfadzean, they have the best defence in the league, while Tubbs and Craig Mcallister have been excellent up front, and the side’s 44 goals so far is an average of over 2 per game.
So far this season, they have shown that it’s not just about having the money, but what you do with it that counts, and Crawley have made it count.
There is no reason why they can’t build on their efforts so far, with home games against their two main promotion challengers to come, and both of them at home. With the games in hand that they have, they are currently many people’s favourites to be champions come May.
While Monday night’s famous triumph will become one of their finest hours, their finest hour looks set to come.
So what do you think? Crawley fans, can you secure League football come May? What have been the highlights of your season so far? Let us know