Firstly the Reds suffered their first postponement of the campaign which is surprising in this benighted season. Their match against Bradford City at Valley Parade fell foul of the weather not because the pitch was frozen but due to the conditions on the snow covered surrounding roads.
Luckily their rivals declined to take advantage of the enforced interruption of Crawley’s strong run and no less than seven matches were drawn. Leyton Orient did obtain three points, and overtake us in the table, but only after they were spurred on by an 88th minute own goal.
With no action on the pitch it was inevitable that the fans’ attention would focus on the widely anticipated transfer of leading scorer Max Watters whose role in the recent rise of Crawley Town has so impressed the media.
On Saturday afternoon the club confirmed that they had accepted a bid from Championship club Cardiff City and that the young striker would move to the Welsh capital.
The transfer fee was undisclosed and at this point I take issue with the procedure. I understand the reasoning behind non-disclosure after it was explained to me by a former CEO of the club. Either the sellers or the buyers could request the payment should remain secret, ostensibly to assuage the fears of the selling club’s fans they had sold their star too cheaply or those of his new club that they had paid too much.
That is absolute nonsense. None of us is any the wiser and so those concerns remain and speculation abounds. I believe there should be an FA stipulation that any cash element in a transfer must be revealed.
Of course this problem is exacerbated by the belief among Reds supporters that Watters is worth a million pounds. Their opinions do not actually matter – only those of the management of Crawley Town and Cardiff City. The sum was no doubt substantial and very welcome in these testing circumstances but the conjecture is undiminished and we all want to know the answer – how much?
Meanwhile the managers’ long terms plans continued with the signing of James Tilley on a free transfer from Grimsby Town. The promising midfielder is from Billingshurst and in joining Redhill born Ashley Nadesan he adds a more local feel to the squad. He is not a household name but provides further evidence that Crawley Town is a club building for a long term future.
The prospects for many have taken a hammering from the Covid-19 pandemic but sensible planning for the future (not to mention a healthy bank balance) should stand Crawley Town in good stead.