Kevin Betsy: Beating Fulham, penalty drama against Portsmouth and eight league defeats - the former Arsenal u23 manager's 125 days in charge of Crawley Town

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125 Days. That’s how many days Kevin Betsy lasted as Crawley Town manager.

Speaking at his first press conference as Reds manager, the 44-year-old said: “I’m another manager who can inspire the next generation of young coaches. People told me when I got the England role that I inspired a lot of coaches and hopefully I can do that more in the professional game in the first team sphere.”

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This was indeed Betsy’s first role at senior level and he promised an attacking and aggressive style of football.

Kevin BetsyKevin Betsy
Kevin Betsy

The early signs were good with the signings of Dion Conroy and Dom Telford – big names with League Two experience.

And he has also attracted loan signings from Premier League clubs with the likes of Liverpool’s James Balagizi, Arsenal’s Mazeed Ogungbo and Brentford’s Ellery Balcombe.

In pre-season, there were some very eye-catching displays – a 3-3 draw with a decent QPR side and big wins against East Grinstead and Three Bridges among other good results.

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But the league season started with a 1-0 defeat away at Carlisle and some fans started to turn straight away.

Leyton Orient were next for Betsy’s first home game in charge and that ended in another 1-0 loss – not a terrible result considering Orient had the best ever start to a League Two season by any team.

His first taste of victory came against Bristol Rovers as Tom Nichol’s goal saw them through. This was followed by Reds picking up their first league point, with a goalless draw at Harrogate.

They then put in arguably their best league performance under Betsy against Northampton Town when at 2-2 and in the ascendancy, they lost 3-2 to a late strike.

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But after that, they were disappointing in their 2-0 loss to AFC Wimbledon – and it was really here when fans started to turn and voice their disappointment.

However, a landmark result followed as they beat Fulham 3-0 in the Carabao Cup with a superb display and ended with fans running onto the pitch to celebrate afterwards.

Back to league action and they next drew at Rochdale – a team who were bottom and winless – another display which left the fans disappointed

The EFL Trophy then followed and it was another exciting night at the Broadfield Stadium as they drew 2-2 with Portsmouth before winning on penalties.

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Some encouraging results and performances followed with a 2-2 draw with Salford City away and then the first three points of the season with a 3-2 win against Stockport.

But that was as good as it got for Betsy’s reign. The next five games saw defeats to Crewe, Doncaster Rovers, AFC Wimbledon (in the EFL Trophy), Stevenage and Grimsby Town – the result that proved to be the straw which broke the camel’s back for owners WAGMI United.

The signs a change could happen were there when co-owner Preston Johnson returned to England earlier than scheduled a week and half ago where he said: “Over the next few weeks, we’ll be examining every aspect of the club to determine what changes need to be made. From personnel, strategy, tactics, culture, everything.”

Fans were calling for a decision after the Doncaster defeat but as we learned with the Betsy appointment, WAGMI United do not rush decisions and are determined to make the right one. But with Betsy it proved not to be the right one as results were concerned.

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Fans will now voice their opinions with who they want next – perhaps WAGMI United will put it to a vote? – all they want is someone with League Two experience to get them out of the dog fight they are now in.

For Johnson, Eben Smith, WAGMI and co, Crawley Town fans now want a swift decision on who is going to take them forward and get them out off the bottom of League Two. Like all football fans, they are not an easy bunch to please, but make the right decision and you will be well on your way.

For Betsy, his reputation will have been dented, but there is no doubt he has potential and any club will be lucky to have in to develop the younger players. It won’t be long before he is back in a job.

As ever with Crawley Town, it’s interesting times ahead. Over to you WAGMI United.

You can read more Crawley Town news here.