If you watch from the West Stand- or see the highlights on the Football League show- you will no doubt be aware of a ‘bell’ accompanying every home goal. That will be CTSA Vice Chairman Paul Prendergast with his favourite instrument!
We caught up with him and his lovely wife Anna during the short hop to the Daggers last week. Paul has been a Reds fan for 14 years ever since he moved to the area from London. Before then he was a regular at Stamford Bridge and freely admits to continue watching out for the Blues scores. He explained, “after moving to Crawley I wanted to support the local team and starting watching them in the Beazer Homes league.” In all that time Paul has used the exact same seat in the West Stand (D89) and is a proud season ticket holder. He says, “I really love my seat, there is a great view of the action and of the dug outs- not that I ever have any dialogue with the opposition manager!”
He fondly recalls the trip to Welling when we secured promotion to the Conference but cites the home AFC Wimbledon match last season as his “stand out” memory. He explained, “the ground was packed and there was an electric atmosphere, we went on to win three-one, it was a night of emotion which I will never forget”.
Paul currently sponsors Dean Howell here at CTFC and is looking forward to getting his shirt at the end of the season. Matt Tubbs though is his favourite ever Reds player.
As to his current role of Vice Chairman of CTSA he said, “I really enjoy being part of the team and would happily continue if re-elected at the next AGM in July”. He added, “CTSA gives the fans a voice within the club, and members share some great benefits like travel and club shop discounts, plus we put funds back into the community through schemes like our Soccer in Schools programme, Easter Egg event and giving to the Centre of Excellence”. He added, “the Chairman and another board member have regular meetings with Alan Williams to discuss the current issues, so ensure that there is an effective and professional dialogue between the club and the supporters- and the club are very open to our suggestions”.
Back to the BELL! He said, “it has been coming to the Broadfield for 6 years now”. He joked that it has its own season ticket. He bought three bells on Ebay for £20 but only one of them is ever taken out. It can be revealed that it has only made one away trip this season, to our first league outing at Port Vale, as many away clubs won’t let it in! Paul may get some grief about it on match days and on the forum, but he says, “it’s water off a ducks back! The bell has been coming for longer than many of the supporters. I’ve also got an old wooden football raffle and I’d like some other instruments if I can get them. I shall be the CTFC one man band!” Expect to hear the bell against Hereford, but our sympathy if you sit next to it!
Paul is confident of automatic promotion over the next few days. “I think we can get the points needed come 5th May and look forward to League One action next season- which would be wonderful!”
Words and pictures from Colin Bowman, CTSA Press Officer