TASTE OF THE TERRACE: It was great to be back on lush turf after proud World Cup campaign

Crawley Town fan Geoff Thornton gives his views in his new column. SUS-150216-162912002
Crawley Town fan Geoff Thornton gives his views in his new column. SUS-150216-162912002

The 2017/18 season ended with victory for France in the World Cup final.

Ironically this was nine days after the new season started with the first of the Champions League qualifiers.

Reds supporters will doubtless have been very pleased with England’s improved performance and the way in which local lad, manager Gareth Southgate, cemented his reputation as one of the best motivators in the game.

Some will find the prospect of the new season daunting, given Crawley’s string of defeats in friendly matches when we failed to score.

Those results may not be disastrous as Harry Kewell had already said he wanted to test his squad against Premier League and Championship clubs and they have mostly acquitted themselves well, giving the manager the input he needed to plan the new campaign.

There would have been little to gain from fixtures against inferior opposition.

Everton were berated for their 22-0 win in Austria as it taught them nothing.

Similarly Reds’ debacle at Arsenal, when the 9-0 defeat embarrassingly was not reported on our website, surely served little purpose.

An entertaining game with KSV Roeselare did, however, offer fans both information and optimism.

It was great to be back on lush turf at Broadfield Stadium, even in the unseasonal blustery wind.

On the transfer front, things have been mixed.

The club’s approach to the retained and transfer list has long baffled me and I found it hard to believe that no less than 13 players had moved on when we already had one of the smallest squads in the division.

The most important thing is for the manager to get the players he wants but the fans will need to be convinced he has made the right choices.

Reds have signed three attacking players but none has a reputation as a frequent scorer.

For me that still means we have not replaced James Collins.

Against the Belgian second tier club, George Francomb had an impressive game but the attention of most fans was grabbed by the qualities shown by substitute Reece Grego-Cox who exquisitely set up Ollie Palmer’s goal.

Romain Vincelot looked a tower of strength in central defence and those two signings may compensate for the sales of Enzio Boldewijn and Josh Yorwerth.

I was deeply disappointed by the departure of two excellent players and perturbed by the undisclosed fees.

This is a disgrace and I believe that every financial transaction in a transfer should be revealed. That would be fair to the fans of both clubs and provide absolute transparency.

But let’s look forward to a hopefully successful campaign that begins with the trip to Cheltenham Town on Saturday.