New direction at Crawley Town has brought huge supporters’ optimism

Face in the crowd - Crawley Town v Plymouth pictures by Jack Beard SUS-160221-233207002
Face in the crowd - Crawley Town v Plymouth pictures by Jack Beard SUS-160221-233207002
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Crawley Town Supporters Alliance chair Carol Bates believes a new direction and ethos has brought about a ‘huge wave of optimism’ amongst the club’s fans.

Frustrations have run deep between supporters and the club’s board in the past few years both with on and off-the-field issues.

Crawley Town Supporters Alliance chairman Carol Bates SUS-150818-125901002

Crawley Town Supporters Alliance chairman Carol Bates SUS-150818-125901002

While supporters were left reeling from the club’s relegation from League One in 2015, fall-outs between the CTSA board and the club resulted over unclear ownership and funding issues and the high-profile banning of three fans.

But bridges have clearly been built, mainly as a result of new Turkish steel magnate Ziya Eren taking ownership of the club in March. His honest values were clear from the word go and with a transparent approach to running the club and willingness to involve the supporters, it has hit the right note.

Bates has praised Eren’s impact on the club and revealed optimism on the terraces will be the highest for a number of seasons.

She said: “At the beginning of any season, the majority of fans will have renewed optimism, but this year, in particular, there appears to be a huge wave of optimism spreading among supporters, due to the new ethos and the well thought out signings being made.

“There were plenty of frustrations last season, not least off the field, but with openness from the club and steady progress on building a new infrastructure, there is a real case for looking forward to a positive season.

“The day Mr Eren took over the club, the CTSA were invited to meet with his representatives. This was a major step forward in the club and the CTSA beginning to work with each other again, after a while of being kept at arms’ length, and was extremely welcome.

“Since that first meeting, the CTSA Board now meet regularly with the club and have discussed plenty of issues going forward, in an open and transparent manner.

“This has been welcomed and will certainly benefit the club and supporters. The CTSA will be investing in the club to help achieve the aims and objectives.

“There is also a feeling that a lot of work is going on behind the scenes, trying to connect with local companies and the local community.”

On the field, new head coach Dermot Drummy appears to have also struck a note with some fans. The former Chelsea academy boss has a clear philosophy as to how he wants to play football and has overseen a clear-out of some of last season’s highly-criticised squad.

Bates still wants to see more additions and hopes a Leicester or Wales style togetherness may put Reds on the trail of success in League Two this season.

She added: “The signing of Mark Connolly, this weekend, shows the club’s ambition and judging by the comments from the fans, definitely gives another reason to feel positive.

“The squad is now shaping up nicely and, with a few more additions to come, it will be interesting to see how they all work together. It certainly appears that there is a good team spirit building and we all know what happens when you have great togetherness, you only have to look at Wales and Leicester.

“Maybe, with all the positive changes this season, we might just achieve some good early results to build on and start to bring more supporters through the gates. I, for one, am really looking forward to this season and fingers crossed it will be an enjoyable one.”

Dan Charman who is the CTSA communications officer has been equally impressed with the new relationship. He echoed: “Under the new ownership of Ziya Eren, it is a new and exciting chapter in Crawley Town’s history. The CTSA are delighted to be working so closely with the club, as we embark on the new and exciting journey together.”