Watching Scott Lindsey talk through his tactics is like watching his Crawley Town side - entertaining, fascinating and hugely satisfying

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It’s clear to see from what was achieved last season that Scott Lindsey is a tactical mastermind.

With the squad he had and the low expectations, he defied all odds and led his side to the club’s first ever trip to Wembley and subsequently promotion after that famous play-off final win.

As someone who spent a lot of time with Scott last year at press conferences, matches and fixture release day breakfasts, it’s amazing to see how much he puts into the job.

He is so meticulous in his preparation and tactics.

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He said at the end of the season that he had been a ‘bad Dad’. I am sure he hadn’t been that bad but I get what he meant. When he finishes a day at training, he drives back to Kent and then does more work, watching videos of opposition, looking back at games and clipping out actions of play so he can feedback to players.

It’s an astonishing work ethic that paid off last year.

But it is the tactical nous that fascinates me. At the end of one press conference last season - and I remember specifically it was the one a year after Lindsey was appointed (post Swindon match, pre-Bradford) - I asked him why he doesn’t like 4-4-2.

He said: “Have you got five minutes?”, then disappeared, came back with something in his hand and stood at a whiteboard (we were in the changing room because the media room was having some work done).

Scott Lindsey celebrates Crawley Town's League Two Play-Off final win at Wembley | Picture: Eva GilbertScott Lindsey celebrates Crawley Town's League Two Play-Off final win at Wembley | Picture: Eva Gilbert
Scott Lindsey celebrates Crawley Town's League Two Play-Off final win at Wembley | Picture: Eva Gilbert

In his hand he had little magnetic dots which he put on the whiteboard and then got the marker out.

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Then, for the next 45 minutes, proceeded to show me why he ‘hates’ 4-4-2 and showed me why his formation worked so well against Swindon (they hammered them 3-1 that day).

Then he went into detail about how he adjusted the tactics because Liam Kelly was missing from that game. It went into so much detail that he told which player pressed which opposition player, if another player had tracked back to cover another player.

It was fascinating. I haven’t told many people about that experience because it was ‘off the record’. But I am sure Scott won’t mind as he is letting the world see his thoughts on tactics in a Masterclass video on Youtube by The Coaches’ Voice. The Coaches’ Voice Academy speaks to elite coaches such as José Mourinho, Rafa Benitez, Bruno Lage and Xavi to get ‘insider access to the strategies, tactics and career journeys of the world’s best football coaches’. They were clearly impressed with Scott’s work during the play-offs and in the video he focuses on his tactics for the semi-final matches against MK Dons and the final against Crewe.

He starts by going through the starting line-up and the formation, which he called a ‘3-Box-3’ - but can also be called a 3-4-3 - with two numbers 10s and two wing backs. In a League match against Dons he said they had played a ‘generic 3-5-2’ but he felt that playing with two strikes would give their opponents too much control.

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In the video he highlights who they made a change on who pressed who because of how high the Dons wing backs were playing and that tactical change made Reds more aggressive.

I think we can all remember how that turned out. Crawley more than controlled both legs of that semi-final and they absolutely battered Dons 8-1 on aggregate. He also talked about building a culture and a work ethic so that the tactics worked.

I won’t go through everything Scott says in the video because 1) It’s worth watching him go through it in his words and 2) I want everyone to experience what I did that day in January when I got to be an audience of one to see Scott’s thought processes and tactical nous.

As I said earlier, all this preparation and meticulous detail is the foundation of what Crawley’s success was built on last year.

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But is Lindsey a victim of his own success? We have seen a summer of plenty of ins and outs and the Gaffer having to work with an almost new squad for their League One campaign.

Do owners WAGMI United think because he has done it once, he can do it all over again with a bunch of new players? From my experiences with Scott, I have not doubt he could do that and clearly, nor do WAGMI.

But with the step up to League One, it is a huge ask and a massive challenge.

What we do know is WAGMI’s data unearthed some gems last season, let’s hope they have done it again this summer.

But as a lot of fans say ‘In Scott We Trust’.

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I certainly have trust in Scott and it’s not hope. It’s based on what I have seen in all the time I have spent with him. As long as he is there, Crawley Town stand a chance in League One.

My message to the fans with any worries is: Take a look at the Masterclass video, sit back and just relax. Whatever the squad is, it’s in good hands.

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