The FA Cup- don’t you just love it?!

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28th January 2012

What can I say about a day like this? I’ve rewritten this blog repeatedly and run out of superlatives on every occasion. Days like this come along very infrequently in a lifetime. In 38 years watching football I can count the number of them easily on my fingers, and most of those seem to have occurred within the last two seasons. Whatever happens over the rest of this season, we are lucky enough to follow a team that has given us the kind of moments we will never forget. Today ranks up there with trips to Old Trafford, victories over Derby and Torquay and title winning at Tamworth. 

Hull are in fifth place in the Championship. In the running for promotion to the Premier League. Today we made them look ordinary. A Hull fan earlier this week- and I wouldn’t say he was typical, as they seemed a good bunch- told me that our team were, and I quote, “a bunch of non league chancers.” Well HCFC Robbo, if we’re a bunch of non league chancers you should be playing in the Blue Square North! Nick Barmby, your boys took a hell of a beating! 

It’s been a long day. Thirteen Clarkes  coaches were safely lined up in the stadium car park this morning by 7AM, and a collection of coach stewards and their assistants were briefed and equipped by a masterful Travel Ken. Coach tickets, raffle tickets, DVDs, prize draw forms, refreshments, sweets, biscuits, hi vi jackets (Paul the Bell has been sleeping in his since Thursday) all present and correct. Bacon rolls and coffee served at the club, check. Hundreds and hundreds of CTFC fans filled with optimism and anticipation? Goes without saying! 8AM and we had ourselves a convoy. Thanks to all the CTFC security team who helped us out today, and to all at Clarkes for their incredible organisation and professionalism. 

On the way up we all got in the mood for the game by watching our lads outplay the other Red Devils at Old Trafford last year. I have to say it’s the first time I’d watched it since the event, and it was magical. I had tried to edit the DVDs so that Brodies header dropped under the bar this time round, but I couldn’t quite manage it! That was all that was missing! Thanks to all the coach travellers who travelled with us today, and those who took part in the raffle and sweepstake. One of the reasons we’re able to keep fares down is by supplementing them with this kind of income- your support is absolutely appreciated. 

I was very impressed with the KC and the Sunshine Band Stadium- and how nice of them to name it after my favourite 70s disco outfit! Modern, clean, good food, nice stewards, good views- I’m not one of those hankering after a nostalgic return to the flea ridden cess pits I used to visit in the 1980’s- Hull’s old ground, Boothferry Park, was undoubtedly one of those- so I was in clover today. And I loved the scoreboard too- particularly at the end when it said Hull City 0 Crawley Town 1! Que Sera Sera, we’re going to Wemberley? Perhaps not, but it was nice to sing it and, for a moment, think that perhaps it might be true…… onto the fifth round draw tomorrow. It’ll be live in Redz bar by the way, with tv cameras present to record our reaction when we get Arsenal away……or perhaps Stevenage if we’re truly unlucky. See you there from 2PM.

Taking a straw poll on the coaches it seems we’re agreed that Scott Shearer was our Man of the Match, with Sergio a close second. And fully deserved, Scott was quite magnificent- but it seems a shame to pick one, as the whole team was magnificent. Today we showed quite what we’re capable of. The bigger the opponents, the better we seem to play. No fear, no danger of us showing anyone too much respect- we just get out there and make them dance to our tune. Now let’s keep the team together- fingers crossed- close the transfer window and get on with promotion. Bradford City next weekend- who’s coming? £15 if you travelled with the Alliance today, another 26000 capacity stadium, and important that we get three points. So we need a good travelling support.

I love being a Crawley Town supporter. Through thick and thin- and we had plenty of thin- I love the club, the people who follow it, the feeling of togetherness, the shared experiences. And today has been truly magical. 

I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did! Right, 75 more miles to the Broadfield………


Ian Townsend

Ian Townsend