I have never been so entertained by Crawley Town and at last it's on the pitch and not off it - thank you Scott Lindsey

Covering Crawley Town in the past 18 months or so has been a dream for a journalist.
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2024 will be my 25th year in the profession and I’ll be honest with you, I have never experienced anything as a journo like I have since April 2022. And although Crawley Town fans have probably seen it as predominantly a rollercoaster ride with more downs than ups, for me personally, I have never known it so good, as this week I won my second award for my coverage of the Reds.

On Thursday night, I won the National World Sports Journalist of the Year jointly with The Yorkshire Post’s Graham Smyth, who covers Leeds United (and yes, he was still ranting about Mark Wright coming on as sub in THAT game). This followed me winning the Real EFL/Lower League Look’s League One/League Two journalist of the Year - that came with the citation ‘for all the s**t he had to put up with covering Crawley Town’.

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And yes there has been a lot of ‘it’ - phone calls late at night, abuse on social media, dealing with SO much negativity (I can be an annoyingly positive person). But I do feel a bit of a fraud winning the awards in the sense that any journalist covering the club these last couple of years would have won awards as well.

Crawley Town boss Scott Lindsey celebrates another win at the Broadfield Stadium. Picture: Eva GilbertCrawley Town boss Scott Lindsey celebrates another win at the Broadfield Stadium. Picture: Eva Gilbert
Crawley Town boss Scott Lindsey celebrates another win at the Broadfield Stadium. Picture: Eva Gilbert

But ever since February - even more so since the summer - the rollercoaster ride has become more like a gentile carousel ride with the entertainment coming on the pitch rather than off it, and that is chiefly down to one man - Scott Lindsey.

Of course, he couldn’t do it without the likes of Ben Gladwin, Jamie Day and Carl Laraman, but Lindsey has given the club a sense of calm - and is a manager the fans love.

When he came in - the fifth managerial appointment (permanent and acting) WAGMI United made - he did what he needed to do with the players he had to keep Crawley up. It wasn’t pretty at times, but he got the job down.A summer clear out and 15 new players later, Lindsey has his squad - largely inexperienced at EFL level - overperforming and outweighing expectations.

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And not only are they beating teams with more experienced players, but they are outplaying them too.

There is nothing to do with luck here. It’s the first time for a few years a Crawley Town side I have watched have an identity and a playing style.

Admittedly, I don’t watch every game, but in the games I have watched this season, I have not been bored. I can’t say that about many previous seasons where sometimes it has been a chore going along to the Broadfield Stadium to watch Crawley battle out a 0-0 draw or limp to a 1-0 win.

Lindsey is getting a song out of his young squad and it’s a lot of fun watching them. Tuesday night’s win over Bristol Rovers was a great example. The first half was poor, but in the second half Lindsey’s ‘second string’ outplayed and beat a full strength League One side.

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And this was down to the exciting style and seeing Harry Forster - who was playing in the National League last season for Bromley - run rings round the Pirates’ defence was a joy.Jack Roles was electric in the second half, Harry Ransom was dominant in defence, Joy Mukena - who was at St Albans last season - and Tobi Omole all stepped up and played the style the first team have been playing in the league this year. It was like watching a carbon copy of the first XI.

Lindsey has admitted there are times where his side are going to get a good beating - see Swindon away earlier in the season - because they are young and they are playing an exciting brand of football.But I would rather watch this brand of football than anything that has come before at Crawley Town - well at least in my 20 years of covering the club. And long may it continue.

The only thing I don’t like with all the excitement coming on the pitch and not off it, is that it’s unlikely to win me any more awards. And I put the blame solely on Scott Lindsey for that.