Crawley Town’s chairman denies Reds are in disarray

JAMES BOARDMAN / 07967642437'Crawley Town Football Clubs newly appointed Chief Executive Richard Low at the Broadfield Stadium in Crawley December 19, 2012.
JAMES BOARDMAN / 07967642437'Crawley Town Football Clubs newly appointed Chief Executive Richard Low at the Broadfield Stadium in Crawley December 19, 2012.

Reds chairman Dave Pottinger has strongly denied talk of the club being in disarray following the latest off-field movements.

The club announced plans to ‘urgently review’ its academy plans - just ten weeks after revealing them - making it the second time in three years Crawley have made a U-turn on a much-publicised new youth structure plans.

While Mr Pottinger refused to comment on the latest academy changes or any repercussions, when asked if the club were in some disarray he said: “Absolutely not.

“We are trying to do what’s best for the club so we don’t want to go into detail because the last thing we want to do is upset fans, parents or anyone else.”

The statement said the plans were ‘flawed’ and hinted that moves to integrate Aldershot’s youth structure into a Category 3 academy would be scrapped. It is not clear whether the club plans to continue its own youth teams below Under-18 level

Fans and parents of the hundreds of young footballers now released have taken to the official fans’ forum to vent their frustrations. One of the comments across four pages read: “My son was part of this. Absolute joke of a club, This is the second time in three seasons this has happened. What a laughing stock of a football club we really are. Absolute shambles.”

It follows the recent departures of CEO Richard Low - the man who spearheaded plans to incorporate former club Aldershot’s academy with their own - along with general manager, brother Danny Low and marketing manager Ryan Murrant.

Richard Low made re-establishing a youth set up one of his prime objectives when he took over, saying the club had missed out to clubs like neighbouring Brighton in capturing the best local talent in Sussex.

Apart from the club statement the club have refused to comment on any further potential redundancies, how many children have been dropped from the youth set up and how much money has been lost in the latest failed venture.

A club spokesperson would only say: “There is nothing to add from the club to website statement on the Academy.”

With less than a week before the start of the new season there has also been some discontent with the size of the squad. Crawley have made only two summer signings and missed out on a number of targets while four players have left. The latest news comes a week before the first game of the season at home to Coventry.

Despite this, performances on the pitch in pre-season have been hugely encouraging, not least Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Premier League side Crystal Palace, evidence that the players are focussed on the new season.

Mr Pottinger stressed: “There’s a door between the football and the admin side and any problems that occur are dealt with by officials at the club. As far as football goes it’s business as usual and we’re all looking forward to an extremely positive season, starting against Coventry on Saturday.”