What a season this could be for Crawley Town - Steve Leake

Oh, what a week, late June, early July 2022. What a season this could be.

On Monday night, I, along with about six other Crawley Town supporters, took up the opportunity to meet with Hunter Orrell, one of the WAGMI United members, in one of the former headquarters of Crawley FC, The Railway. He honestly admitted that was a coincidence but was keen to pick up on our history. Hunter struck me as an enthusiastic, committed person who only wants the best for OUR club and was open to the many suggestions we had to offer. Add to that, that he only fell foul of the “don’t use the word soccer” law once, it proved to be a good evening.

The next evening, proved to be equally as convivial, as the CTSA held its AGM at the Stadium. The only disappointing part of the evening, being the relatively low turnout, in what promises to be an exciting era for our club which promises more fan involvement than ever before. We, the Supporters, finally have a place on the board of the club that we all love and support, and not just a conduit for fan’s views as my position of Fan’s rep turned out to be. Visit the CTSA website for the minutes of the meeting, and please consider whether you wish to be more than just a spectator, important as they are, in what will be an exciting time ahead.

Just as I was coming to terms with the loss of Jordan “Tunny” Tunnicliffe, we signed his replacement in Dion Conroy and an attacking midfielder in James Balagizi. Dion comes from Swindon Town on a two year contract and has been their captain for the past two seasons, whilst James comes on a season long loan from Liverpool.

Steve Leake

Then the week took a surreal twist, when I realised Reggie has a virtual, but more mischievous, virtual brother, called Scorch. Appearing on Twitter, he is keen to know what position you all think we should strengthen next. I personally think, it should be in between the sticks, as Glen, great as he is, will need real competition for his place and cover for injury at least.

Then we heard that we’re off to sunny Spain for a warm weather training camp, to strengthen team bonding and get some serious training in. Of course, being Crawley Town, it couldn’t be as simple as that, could it? At first, I thought we had a friendly cancelled because somebody had catarrh, but then I realised it was because it was against a team from Qatar. Apparently, several clubs had turned down the friendly because of the human rights situation in the Middle Eastern country, and whatever the arguments around whether we should be playing a club team from that country, we eventually turned down the game. I am split right down the middle on this issue, because it was against a club team, not a national one, and what will we do if we draw one of the clubs in any of the cup competitions, who are owned by people from countries with dubious civil rights issues?

My son, David, drove me and my grandchildren, Beth and Ollie to Eastbourne on Saturday, to see Crawley play their first friendly against Borough, which proved to be an enjoyable afternoon, where only one player, Tommy Riallist, in goal for Crawley, managed to play the whole the whole ninety minutes. I thought he played well for us throughout, made some good saves, distributed the ball well and came for the crosses. This was especially reassuring as there were rumours circulating that Glen “The Cat” Morris may have lost one of his nine lives. As you can read elsewhere, we won with a Kwesi Appiah goal from a mistake by their keeper. We should have scored more, Super Tommy Nichols hitting the woodwork and Ashley Nadesan missing an opportunity in the first half, with Dom Telford and Travis Johnson looking great acquisitions. Dion Conroy and James Balagizi warmed up with the team, but did not play because of their late arrival. All of the Riallist family, Tommy, Terry, Tony, Tim, Theo and Teddy had good games and the passing and possession was a joy to watch. Bring on QPR!!

The triallist goalkeeper in action for Crawley Town on Saturday