Joy and Reflection…..but mainly joy!

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5th May 2012

Two seasons. Two promotions. I could get used to this! When Scott put that ball in the net it didn’t matter what Torquay and Southend were doing, all that mattered was the eleven in white (or yellow) in front of us. The final whistle and do you laugh, cry, hug friends and family (and complete strangers), or just concentrate on stopping Paul the convict (no bell today) from disgracing himself? I think I tried all of those (though I failed dismally at the latter).

Recent converts to the Red Army might be forgiven for thinking that life as a CTFC fan is always like this. Promotions, Manchester United, Hull City…..ten a penny, life is one long party. Those of us who have been here a little longer know otherwise, however. We know not only the joy that football can bring, but the pain that is always waiting in the wings. For me, knowing that pain makes the joy all the more joyful! And looking around me today at some of the more experienced members of our army, I don’t think I’m alone. 

People talk disparagingly sometimes about Johnny come lately’s. For me, Johnny can come as lately as Johnny wants, so long as Johnny comes. And brings his mates. We’ll have some big names at the Broadfield next season- Portsmouth, Coventry City, perhaps one of the Sheffield clubs, Hartlepool United (that one’s for you Jeff!)- and we need to be filling the ground week in and week out. League One will have to be paid for.

But for today, no worries about tomorrow. Though perhaps a little reflection, if you will permit me to be wistful. We’ve good people at our football club- people who have put themselves out to keep it going. The players and the management team will get the glory and rightly so, but I’d like to say a particularly enormous thanks to Alan, Susan and Ian, Silpa, Vic, BruceT, Ewan- and all the rest of the Crawley Town crew. There is an incredible amount of work that I get occasional glimpses of and most of us don’t see, and sometimes the people involved don’t get the credit they deserve. So a large round of applause for them from me. Thank you.

(By the way, Alan just rang and said that if I was writing a blog I should say thank you from him and the club for our wonderful support today and this season, so here you go Al, I’m doing it! Oh, and Redz will be open for a party from half past eight- though us weary travellers won’t get there until about 11!)

Finally, I’d like to thank three people who weren’t with us today.  Firstly, John Duly- who started us on the road to the promised land and lost lots of money to make sure it didn’t all go sour. Next, Steve Evans- and whilst that sticks in the throat somewhat it was his team that got promoted today. Yes, we’ve had investment, but you have to use it wisely. He did. All credit to him- even though I hope Rotherham never ever go up (well, not for a while anyway)!

Most importantly though, I’d like to remember someone who we’d have given our eye teeth to have with us today. Because, as always, when the celebrations begun in earnest, we were Bruce Winfield’s Red and White Army. Thanks again Bruce. We won’t forget.

See you all in pre-season! League One Crawley Town. That sounds good, doesn’t it? 


Ian Townsend

Ian Townsend


  1. Bill Lancaster

    I have been watching football at all levels for 50 or more years so I feel qualified to send a heartfelt thanks to all at CTFC and the CTSA for three of the most memorable football seasons I have ever known. I wouldn’t know where to start in thanking any individuals so I won’t. There are a number of teams at Crawley Town and they don’t all play football. There is the board of directors, the football management team, the backroom staff including the young lady who takes my phone calls when I order my tickets over the phone, the gate attendants, the ground staff, kit managers, youth staff, coaching and scouting staff, security staff, the ball boys and their organisers, hospitality staff and the CTSA who have among other tasks organised the away travel so admirably and raised cash for the club. Every single one of these teams, in fact every one at the Club, deserve the utmost of praise. Let us all spread the word and get more supporters to the ground next season.

  2. T TAndy testet

    Coach one was rocking there and back .Nathern Clark you put your dad to shame dancing for 1 and a half hours none stop on the way back .The conger was good to on the coach .Ps cakes good to.See you next season.

  3. Rees Hopcraft

    Great blog – but I have to say that the involvement and success of Steve Evans does not stick in my throat at all. Without him I believe we would still be in non-league – and probably struggling. We have a massive amount to thank him and Paul Raynor for – and I am surprised that after the comments made to him by his “employers” after the sale of Tubbs and Barnett he didn’t leave sooner – so I think your comments are a little unfair.
    However – gripes aside I am dumbstruck, overjoyed, and, a little bit frightened about League One and what it brings. My early games at Town Mead were against the likes of RS Southampton and VS Rugby – now it’s Notts County and Tranmere Rovers and maybe Sheffield Utd. Baited breath is an understatement…

  4. Malcolm Porter

    What a day that was! Only a two hour drive for me. Popped into my local on the way home, couple of pints and a Chinky take away. This is a Lincoln City Supporters pub, (same colours red and white vertical stripes), they are really sore at their clubs performance of recent years. I still had my CTFC woolly hat and scarf on, and was met with cries of ‘Hooligan’, a reference to the punch up of a few weeks ago, but it was all in jest I hasten to add. I was congratulated for ‘my’ promotion, lots of friendly handshakes etc??? What I think they meant is congratulations for CTFC’s promotion, so I pass on these sentiments to where they rightfully belong!!

    When I lived in Crawley, many years ago, CTFC was just and ‘ordinary’ football club, bumping around the lower divisions as ordinary clubs do. What I could not have known at the time was the extraordinary heights that this club would rise to. My ‘support’ in those early days was limited to keeping an eye on the results, and indeed since we moved to Lincolnshire nine years ago, continued to do the same, watching, and as the more recent years passed, realised that the club was growing, and heading for success. The season 2010/11 was very exciting to watch, it was clear that CTFC was rising to the top. Eventually of course, the club became BSP Champions with some impressive statistics to back it up, even people here in Lincolnshire were talking about it (and including it in their betting patterns).

    It was time for me to become an ‘active supporter’, as much as one can be active from this distance. This appears to have been the correct decision to make, what a fantastic club this is! Whilst I know that Steve Evans has his critics, it has to be said that he knows football, and much of the recent successes are down to his expertise in management. Let us hope that the positives that he injected into the club are not forgotten! I remain a supporter of Steve Evans, he is not all bad!

    Back to yesterday. I was impressed with Craig, out there on the field with the lads leading the warm up training. He looks like he is still very handy??? The game began very badly for Redz, very sluggish and poor accuracy. I was concerned about the similarity of the strips, one red/white, and the other white/red. This could have caused some of the apparent confusion? Thankfully, this seemed to sort itself out by the second half, and bingo that oh so important goal. From that point on, it seemed an eternity to the final whistle, and then, to add to that frustration, four extra minutes. The last photographs I took was of the boys celebrating the goal, I forgot about taking piccies and concentrated on looking at my watch, so much so that I did not hear the final whistle, just saw the looks on the faces of the players, and the invasion. It was a magic moment all the same, that moment when you realise that the ‘almost’ impossible had just happened, back to back promotions!

    So then let us all enjoy this moment, and celebrate (I wish I could be in Crawley to celebrate with you) this grate achievement. Sure as eggs is eggs, next season will be a bit different, much to do, lots of hard work, but also a lot more to look forward to in League one!


  5. Ian Townsend

    It’s funny Rees, I’ve had other people complain that I gave Steve Evans any credit at all! What is certainly true is that he divides opinions enormously. For me, of course he should have been annoyed when Tubbs and Barnett left, but the board were looking at the long term future of the club rather than the short term temper of Steve Evans. I, for one, think they were right. And the fact that we’ve been promoted and made lots of money to boot probably proves them right.

  6. Ian Townsend

    Thank you Malcolm, that’s superb. Perhaps you can write my blogs in future and I can fall asleep on the coach! League One will be an adventure, and with a bit of work, good support and careful planning, hopefully a very positive one.

  7. Malcolm Porter

    Sorry about my spelling typo’s!

  8. Rees Hopcraft

    They may not be proved right just yet! With Tubbs and Barnett up front I think we could have been where Swindon are now and I fear we might struggle to consolidate in league 1 (but then I said that last season about League 2 – perhaps defeat and failure is the mindset of a CTFC supporter of 28 years!!). I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Steve Evans outside of the football environment and he was the nicest person you could meet. I guess he just changes when he is in ‘football mode’.
    What really upset me was the fact that the board told us (the fans) that we were debt free and not a selling club – then sold our two best assets at a crucial time – it showed complete indifference towards the fans by the board and a total lack of ambition and I know people who binned the season ticket in disgust.
    If I were Steve Evans I would have left too. But I am constantly told not to moan or say anything anti CTFC. That we should not criticise – just follow. Not a school of thought I buy into. Perhaps Alan Williams will ban me?

  9. mick o'donnell

    Thanks Ian (but especially Ken) for all your hard work during the season. I couldn’t manage all 46 plus cup matches, but 43 and all but the p*** pot paint trophy wasn’t bad!

    What a fantastic season. We finished where we deserved to.

    I agree with your sentiments re SE – that’s football though.

    What’s the betting we get them in the Cup next season – they’ll be underdogs.

    Well done to all those connecvted with the club who helped get us the end result we all wanted.

    Could you please make next season “Project Consolidation” though.

  10. paul prendergast

    Well i had a great day out it was fun on coach 3, i had help from Special Brew, got changed in to my uniform and Ian could not believe it- the look on his face was a picture.

    Over the past year i have been elected on to the CTSA board as a member then vice chairman and i would like to say to all invoved i have made some new great mates and would like to carry on in the role in the future.
    The day at Accy was the best away trip for me everyone had smiles on there faces and the place was rocking, so now 2 months without watching CTFC what shall i do? Take up campanology?

  11. Ian Townsend

    Where Swindon are? What, millions of pounds in debt and in the same league we’re in?!

    For me, there’s a difference between being a “selling club” and accepting offers like that. When the right offer comes in, every club is a selling club- even those inferior Red Devils from Salford, and they are apparently the richest club in the world.

    Why would you be banned for having an opinion? If that were the case I’d be banned too.