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Club News

📝 New Season, New Team: Crawley Town

10 June 2024

Club News

📝 New Season, New Team: Crawley Town

10 June 2024

With fixture release day just a fortnight away, City fans will be eager to get planning their season – with new opponents, new stadiums and new cities to visit. We’re taking a look at the seven new teams who we will be facing in League One next season.

We start with the League Two play-off final winners, Crawley Town, who beat Crewe Alexandra 2-0 at Wembley Stadium to clinch promotion. Not bad for a side many bookies and pundits tipped to go down last season. On the way to promotion they recorded the largest ever aggregate scoreline in the EFL play-offs, blitzing MK Dons an astonishing 8-1 over two legs (3-0, 1-5).

A Brief History

Crawley Town were formed in 1896 and spent their entire history in non-league football until  2011. After the earliest years in the local Sussex leagues, the club turned semi-pro in 1962 and joined the Southern League, where they spent 20 years in division one before a promotion as runners-up in 1984. 1991/92 saw the club play, at the time, the biggest game in their history as they faced local rivals Brighton in an FA Cup Third Round tie, but were beaten 5-0 by the second division side in front of over 18,000.

2003/04 saw Town end their second 20-year stay in the Southern League with promotion to the then-called Conference Premier with four games to spare, amassing 84 points. After financial difficulties plagued the club in 2006 when the club was put into administration – owners the Majeed brothers were later imprisoned for tax fraud. New owners saved the club and the debts were cleared, but Town fans had to endure two successive seasons of points deductions as punishment for the irregularities.

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Image: The Guardian

Bruce Winfield became the majority shareholder in 2010 and heavily invested in the squad, giving manager Steve Evans the largest budget ever seen at the club. A memorable league campaign saw the club blitz the league points total to secure the title and a first ever promotion to the EFL in 2010/11, as well as a remarkable FA Cup that saw the non-leaguers reach the fifth round, losing only 1-0 to Manchester United in front of nearly 10,000 travelling fans at Old Trafford.

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Image: alamy

A second successive promotion saw the club catapulted straight into League One after a third placed finish in 2011/12. Crawley survived for three seasons in the third tier before a final day relegation in 2014/15.

Crawley were purchased by US cryptocurrency investors WAGMI United in April 2022 with the promise of promotion to League One within two years, but suffered a disastrous first season under their stewardship as the club scraped EFL survival on the final day of the 2022/23 season – thanks in part to the new managerial appointment of Scott Lindsey.

Fortunes changed in 2023/24 as their eight year stay in League Two came to an end. A team that slipped under the radar throughout the campaign, Crawley surged into the play-offs in the final months of the season to book a first ever trip to Wembley Stadium, where ultimately they achieved promotion.

The Manager 

Scott Lindsey already has his name in the Crawley history books as the first and only manager to lead the club to victory at Wembley Stadium, having already gained plaudits for the great escape the previous season.

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Previously a manager at Chatham Town and Swindon Town, the Walsall-born former midfielder has a fantastic 42.3% win percentage in his 78 Crawley games in charge.

The Stadium

What will now be the smallest stadium in League One, the Broadfield Stadium opened in July 1997 as the club moved away from Town Mead – a site which now occupies a town centre leisure park.

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With an official capacity of 6,134, the Broadfield Stadium consists of two seated stands on the side of the pitch and two tightly compacted terraces behind each goal – which makes for a fantastic away atmosphere for travelling supporters.

Around 1,300 away supporters can be accommodated at the ground, with a small section of seating in the East Stand as well as a whole terrace if needed.

Head To Head Record

City’s record with Crawley dates back to 1971 with the first meeting in the FA Cup, though the first ever league meeting didn’t come until 2004 in the Conference.

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Over 26 matches, Exeter City have won 15, drawn seven and lost four against the Red Devils.

Biggest Exeter City win: 4-0 (2005/06 – Conference)

Biggest Crawley Town win: 3-1 (2017/18, 2018/19 - League Two)

Previous Fixture

The two sides actually met last season in the first round of the Carabao Cup. Crawley took the lead through Klaidi Lolos in the first half before James Scott and Kyle Taylor put City through to the second round, where they would face Stevenage.

Played for Both

There’s been plenty of players who have played for both clubs. Goalkeepers Paul Jones, Ashley Bayes and Ben Hamer have had a place in both squads, as has super Tom Nichols, who played for Crawley between 2020 and 2022. Former City skipper Jake Taylor had a loan spell in West Sussex in 2013. Striker Gary Alexander and defender Scott Hiley have also played for both.

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Did You Know?

In 2022, Crawley became the first ever club to launch an NFT-only football kit. The club’s third shirt was only made available to fans who invested in WAGMI United’s NFT-scheme.


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