A year at Crawley Town: Scott Lindsey 'really proud' of what he and his team have achieved in 12 months

Turn the clocks back 12 months and Crawley Town were in a bit of a state.
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They were on the lookout for their fourth permanent manager in 10 months after Matthew Etherington had walked out after just 32 days.

Co-owner Preston Johnson had sat in the dugout at Stevenage and the club were, quite frankly, a laughing stock as they languished ion the relegation zone. Watching the Reds at home was a hostile place to be.

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But on January 11, 2023, WAGMI United made the appointment of Scott Lindsey and fast forward 12 months, and it really is a whole different story. After guiding them to safety, Scott introduced a new squad over the summer and then introduced attractive football which has seen them play bigger teams off the park and he has got the fans on side. It’s not all down to Scott - and he would admit that - but the former Swindon manager has made a huge difference on and off the pitch.

Scott Lindsey celebrates in front of Reds fans at Hartlepool at the end of last season - a win they all-but-secured safety. Picture: CTFCScott Lindsey celebrates in front of Reds fans at Hartlepool at the end of last season - a win they all-but-secured safety. Picture: CTFC
Scott Lindsey celebrates in front of Reds fans at Hartlepool at the end of last season - a win they all-but-secured safety. Picture: CTFC

We sat down with Scott to talk about his first year in charge and to see what he is most proud of.

It’s been 12 months since you have joined Scott, it’s been quite a rollercoaster but how have you found it?

It has but it has been really enjoyable. It's a great football club. The fans are brilliant, the staff, the people who work behind the scenes are fantastic. The owners are being brilliant as well, really supportive. I've really enjoyed my time. When I first come in, we obviously had a job to do to keep the club up into the Football League, which we did. That was hard work, enjoyable in many ways, but hard-working and sometimes nervy. But I enjoyed it and we got safe and then we had a really good pre-season.

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“We changed a lot on the pitch in terms of the style of play. We signed players who were not proven and we coached the team to play in a manner that we feel that gives us a chance. And I've been really impressed with how the players have taken on the information and how they've attacked each game. And I think we've done extremely well.”

You have made a lot of changes on and off the pitch at the club, is the implementation of a new squad and playing style and turning the results round what you are most proud of? I think so because when you go and you play against the likes of Wrexham and Gillingham, MK Dons, Notts County, and you dominate the ball against these teams, it kind of secures in your mind that you are doing the right thing.

Because for me, there's only one way of playing football and that's to have the ball. The players have been brilliant. They've taken on the information so well and executed the game plan on nearly every game perfectly. And it's not easy. A lot of information goes into the players and they've taken on brilliantly well. And I'm really proud of how we've played. And it's nice. It's a nice feeling to sit back and watch these games and look at how well we've dominated the ball and how well we've kind of attacked these teams. And even against the MK Dons game, we don't win the game. But we are so good in that game. And I think I showed the players on the next day or the day after when they come in and we had the recovery session. We always debriefed the game. I think I showed them 18 clips from final third actions of where we could have scored a goal. We were so good in that game yet, so not good in front of the goal where we could be better. But listen, we're a young side and we're learning and we're improving all the time. What's pleasing for me is that we come off the back of that game where we felt like we couldn't score and then we go and score three against Swindon. So the players are working so, so hard and I'm really proud.

You brought in a lot of unproven, young players in the summer. Is there anyone that you did sign over the summer that you've actually been really surprised with how they have performed?

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I think there's a few that could probably go into that category. If I'm honest with you. You look at Liam Kelly who got relegated out of this division last season with Rochdale. He's been unreal, unbelievable, almost to the point where he's the best midfield player in this division. Ridiculously good. You look at Will Wright, he is now one of the best midfield players in this division. But come here as the centre half, right? So again, we develop and we see different strengths in his game and we feel that he can probably play that position. We try him. He does unbelievably. He’s been outstanding. Jay Williams played for Banbury United last year, has come in and played like an experienced player. He's 22 years of age. Klaidi Lolos came from non-League and again, had unbelievable moments in games. Ade [Adeyemo] come from non-league, I could go on. The list goes on. All of them have done unbelievably well. We saw Joy [Mukena] on Saturday coming for his first start. I know he's kind of been a bit more patient, but again, playing for St. Alban's last season come in and looked accomplished for me on Monday. All the players that we signed have done brilliant.

You signed a two-and-a-half-year contract you signed. Hopefully, you're still going to be here in a year. I know you're not one for revealing targets and ambitions and that, but how do you see Crawley in a year's time?

Well, hopefully with an improvement. Again, that's what we want. We just want to keep stepping forward as a club on and off the pitch. And I think that's important that we do that. I think that there's been a clear improvement from last season and hopefully we'll see the same again next season.

When you first came, your first player signing was Ben Gladwin and you brought Jamie Day with you and you've got Carl Laraman in. How important have those three been in the development of this side?

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Massive. Literally, I couldn't do it without them. I just couldn't. Jamie Day is just different class as a coach, he has a brilliant, brilliant relationship with all the players. His training sessions are very, very good, at a top, top level. And the players like him. Carl Laraman, again, very experienced coach. You don't spend 26 years in the Premier League if you don't know what you're doing. 16 years with Arsenal and he has worked with some top, top players and just his detail with individual stuff that he does with the players, he's just on a different level to where we're working. And then of course Ben as the captain, he's just great at managing moments and just little things like he'll be walking around the pitch with Raf [Khaleel] with his arm around him teaching him the rights and the wrongs. And then he'll be having a meeting with the lads about the away form.

And then they'll be having a meeting with the defensive unit about how can we keep clean sheets better. And he's very keen Ben, and he's doing his A license. He'll be a very good coach manager one day, I'm sure. But yeah, he's an integral part of what we do moving forward and as is Laraman and as is Jamie Day. And on top of which obviously Steve Hale, the Goalkeeping coach has a big part to play in terms of our defensive set pieces, Ricky McFarlane, the strength and conditioning coach. The team behind me I've got is probably not of this level and they work extremely hard every day.