Outgoing chairman's message to the Crawley Town supporters
On behalf of the board I can confirm that the sale of Crawley Town Football Club is complete.
At this time, I would like to remember absent friends who regrettably are no longer with us: Bruce Winfield, Dave Haining and, of course, Les Turnbull. All were stalwarts of this club and true gentlemen to boot. Since taking over the Chair from another good friend of the club, Vic Marley, I have strived to represent the club with great pride and I will leave with many fond memories.
I would like to thank my colleagues over the last five and a half years: Susan and Ian Carter, Michael Dunford and Matt Turner. All have received different levels of abuse from a small minority of so-called fans of this club of late. Totally out of order for the efforts they have expended in the name of Crawley Town FC. In fact, I believe it is a missed opportunity by the new owners not to involve Matt.
He has worked tirelessly for the club and I am sure that his local business pedigree and connections would have proved to be an asset to the new regime going forward.
Of course, Michael Dunford was within a couple of cup wins of achieving our goal of becoming a financially self-sufficient club. That didn’t happen so once again we have to offer our gratitude to our benefactor Paul Hayward for his generosity, to the extent that none of the past five years could have happened without his financial support.
I can’t help revisiting the last few years since Bruce Winfield’s ‘we have no debt’ pledge in 2010 – a speech that could only have been made because benefactors had been found to clear the outstanding debts.
We gained promotion from the Conference Premier with a record number of points and a record run of undefeated games - records that will be difficult to surpass. Just for good measure we won the inaugural Ronnie Radford award for the best performance by a club in the FA Cup. No one else can be the first name on that trophy.
Old Trafford is a moment etched into the club’s history. But we have had many other great occasions. We have played Swansea City, Stoke City, Derby County, Crystal Palace, Ipswich Town and Norwich City in the cups. We have played league games against Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Sheffield United and must not forget our magnificent victory at the Checkatrade Stadium against Wolverhampton Wanderers. We took the team to the highest League position in its 120-year history and we are currently only a couple of wins from guaranteeing our sixth consecutive season in the oldest and toughest league in the world.
All of this achieved without one points deduction, one administration or one winding-up order. Not too scruffy in my opinion.
Mark and Jimmy have approached their duties with great professionalism and energy and hopefully they will be given the opportunity to continue to create a squad which our supporters will be proud of.
Finally, we made a promise back in 2013 that we were only interested in selling the club to people we thought could take the club forward. We have held true to that promise as we believe that the new owners have the experience, the knowledge, the finance and the ambition to take this club to the next level.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish Ziya Eren and his colleagues, Crawley Town FC, the team and of course the fans every success for the rest of this season and for many seasons to come.