End of Season Report 2012-2013 from GH Coaches
Well, we have come through our second season in the football league and our 1st in League 1, not only have we competed with all the other more established sides, we have finished 10th and have a plus goal difference – it may only be 1 but it’s on the right side – we must now move on and get nearer to those play off positions. The players now start their holidays and report back for pre-season training at the end of June, good news is that Josh Simpson has just signed a new two year contract, with most of the current squad remaining we could be in for another rollercoaster of a season.
Improvements continue around the stadium – we had the two corners completed either side of the East Stand, and at last the pitch is going to be improved before next season friendlies start in July with Millwall as the only team named to date. We can expect improvements to the match day catering, also I believe ticketing is to be improved as well as getting supporters into the ground, especially access to the East Stand. With all the expected new under 12 season ticket holders something will need to be done.
The club has had changes in staff; Vic Marley has stepped down as Chairman, being succeeded by Dave Pottinger. CEO Alan Williams has departed to Millwall, being replaced by Richard Low. Ryan Murrant has joined us as marketing manager and we have now appointed a new catering team for next season. We are aiming to work on our relationship with the club and try to get some recognition of the work that we continue to do, getting increased awareness of the club throughout north Sussex and Surrey via our Radio Reports and interviews. The Club have already has a meeting with the Half Moon about next season, which is a start. We wish them all well and hope they can improve everyone’s match day experience when visiting. Who knows, we may even have new owners of the club.
Now, getting on to the Away Travel, firstly, it has been another terrific season, we have managed to take a coach or minibus (Sheffield United) to all but 3 matches – the London games against Brentford and Leyton Orient as we decided early on that we would travel by train – easier and far cheaper, especially for the under 12’s travelling for a £1.00, than we could have provided our normal coach, and Yeovil where we had a few drop out on the day, so we cancelled the coach last minute and 3 drove with the 19 supporters who were still going – saving a great loss – thanks to Patrick and Dumper who drove the other two cars.
It’s in creditable to think that we did “five” overnight trips, to Carlisle, Hartlepool, Tranmere, Bury and Oldham, all were great successes – each trip was well supported and we plan some for next season. We have made new friends along the way – the Clifton Hotel at Morecambe for the Carlisle match was the only one we have previously visited – all others were new – we were made very welcome and have been told that should we ever need to use them again we will have no problems booking in. So when the fixture list is announced we will be looking to book rooms. We have been to some new pubs – again we had some great buffets provided and made very welcome, all inviting us back next season should we be passing.
Our financial state remains good, thanks to all the supporters who have made donations towards the buffets, everyone who has entered the “Crawley Last Goal” competition both home and away. We have been able to remain in the black despite an overall loss on coach travel. We have no debt and all coaches have been paid for. We go into next season again with a positive bank balance. It has always been our aim to provide transport to away matches as cheaply as possible for supporters and I think we have achieved our aim again for this season – we will continue to provide coach travel through Crawley Luxury for as long as we can, next season, we will decide on the longer trips that should it be necessary to only run a minibus then that’s what we will do – especially for the long midweek matches when we know we will not cover costs. Again with the London matches we will travel by train – Leyton Orient is the only definite game we have at the moment.
As mentioned above, we now do “live” reports for a local Radio Station based in Merstham – Susy Radio (FM103.4) – these cover the Saturday home and away matches – including pre-match, half time and end of match reports. We invited sports presenters Phil Green and Ray Smart to join us for a drink and the Stevenage match at the stadium, both had an enjoyable time despite the freezing temperatures. Patrick and I went to the studio for a “live” interview/chat about this season and how we see the club progressing which was a great experience for us both. During the season we have also provided match tickets in the West Stand as prizes for competitions they have had.
We continue to work with Shelley and Brian of the online paper Crawley Happy Times – giving updates about travel and some match reviews and reports – we hope to continue this next season. We are still based at the Half Moon and thanks to Rob Giblet and staff for their continued support. It is a friendly place to meet up before and after matches, especially with the visiting fans and this season the “Penguins” from Hartlepool, one of those memories that will last forever.
As always we couldn’t do the coaches without the backing of Dave Brown and family, owners of Crawley Luxury – every season they help us and provide us with extremely reliable and comfortable coaches, with this past season being no exception. Kevin gets the short straw having to drive us everywhere; however, this year, we do owe Kevin a debt of gratitude for his great professionalism, skill and quick thinking on the trip up to Carlisle back in late September. Without this we would have been involved in a major incident on the M25 early that morning. Other supporters that need a thank you are Kelly for organising the refreshments on the longer journeys, Ann for providing drivers biscuits and keeping us and the coach free from litter and rubbish, who also acts with Patrick as our first aiders on the coach, should there ever be a need.
We now venture into another season, another 7 different grounds to visit and some more big clubs – Wolves, who only two seasons ago were in the Premiership and Peterborough United – We will also meet up with both former managers Steve Evans (Rotherham United), Sean O’Driscoll (Bristol City) when they bring their sides down to the Broadfield Stadium. A chance for our supporter’s to have a bit of fun/banter at their expense.
Finally thanks to everyone that has travelled with us, hopefully you will be back next season with a few more converts to join us. Once we have had our meeting with Crawley Luxury we will let you know the details for next season – once the fixtures are released in June the likely overnight stops will be planned for Carlisle, Preston North End, Tranmere and possibly the last away game of the season.
Have a great summer break, which hopefully will see us all fit and well for another roadtrip around the English countryside
Welcome to the Crawley Town Supporters Travel Group – to be known as GHCoaches
As you can see we now have an official name, we have associate membership of the FSF with our own coach insurance, a bank account and our own travel web site, Facebook and Twitter pages. It’s been a very emotional few weeks since we decided to run coaches to the away games – We would thank everyone who has helped getting everything set up for our first trip to Cheltenham on Saturday 27th August 2011. We are disappointed at the comments being made by others and contrary to what they are indicating, Kevin and I are not taking or will not take any money out, everyone who travels on our coach will pay the appropriate fare – we can confirm that any profits made will be solely used to help subsidise our future coaches and at the end of the season any surplus will be carried over. If, in the future our venture folds, then any profit made we will donated to the Chestnut Tree Charity. Bill Doidge & Tara Greenway will be overseeing the accounts and acting as signatories on the cheques, which we would thank them for their involvement. We would also than those supporters who have made donations to the setting up of the Travel Group.
CRAWLEY LUXURY COACHES – Our Coach provider
We would like to thank Dave, Gavin and Darren Brown for their help and assistance in setting this venture up, without that we wouldn’t be in the situation today where we can offer our supporters an alternative travel to away games.
Over the past 20 years our partnership as the Crawley Town Supporters Club has been able to offer supporters a cheap way of getting to games, and we intend to keep this going this season and beyond under our new identity. We know that we are working with a terrific coach company who have great respect in the industry – and whose contingency plans when we went to Manchester for the FA Cup match were very impressive – the work that went on behind the scenes for the big day were immense. David, Kevin and I learnt a lot from the experience, something we all will hopefully use again.
THE HALF MOON – our Base - Multi TV screens , SKY & ESPN sports shown incl 3D, Pool Tables, Pre-match Food and Drinks - 400 yards - 3 minute walk from the Broadfield Stadium on the Old Brighton Road towards Crawley town centre. Away coach parking available if required.
We have also got ourselves a permanent base to sell tickets from – we will be sitting at the Half Moon on Saturday home match days – from 12.15pm until 2.15pm, and possible for a short time after the game. If you come into the pub we are situated immediately to your right, by the door. On the evening home games we will be at there from 6.00pm until 7.15pm. We would like to thank Ali and Rob for use of their facilities. If you can’t get to the Half Moon, then please ring Alain (07771-792346 or E mail Alain.email@example.com).
On our away matches (departing after 8.30am) the Half Moon will be opening ¾ hr before we depart. They will be serving Tea, Coffee, and Bacon/Sausage Rolls, and if anyone wants a cooked breakfast this will also be provided. For the breakfast you must pre-order when you book your seat on the coach. There is some car parking available at the Half Moon and in the local area. Also when we return, the Half Moon will be open, so if you want a drink before going home you will be welcome.
On the return journey, we will still do our drop off’s via Northgate and the Town Centre.
Now its up to you, the supporters now have a choice - you can either use us, or the CTSA for your method of getting to away games.
2011 - 2012 End of Season Report from GH Coaches
Well, we have come through our first season in the football league, not only have we competed with all the other more established sides, we have in fact followed in the footsteps of Stevenage by winning an automatic promotion spot to League 1 at our first attempt, although Stevenage went through via the playoffs. All reds supporters wherever you were, went through enough emotions during the game on Saturday – with the best elation at the end having secured the final automatic promotion place
The Management team of now departed Steve Evans and Paul Rayner must take the plaudits for this achievement, which was completed by Craig Brewster and Steve Coppell, seeing us over the line during the last 6 matches. Steve decided that the grass was greener in Rotherham and we all wish him well there, but we won’t come across Rotherham in a league match next season as they will be trying to emulate us in League 2. Although Steve can’t stop “bigging” himself up with his latest comments in the League Paper. Thanks to Craig and Steve, we managed it, with only Hereford beating us since they took over the reigns and can still boast having the least amounts of defeats in League 2 this season and third highest scorers.
All the players must be thanked for their efforts throughout the season, especially since the selling of Matty Tubbs and Tyronne Bennett and the departure of the management team that brought them to the club in the first place – heads could have gone down, but no, they have kept playing at a high level and now have got their reward by getting into League 1. Hopefully we will let them have a chance at winning League 1 next season with a couple of experienced additions to the squad. The Directors have a difficult decision to make over the next few weeks on who going to succeed as manager – Craig and Steve have given them something to think about.
Improvements have been made to the Broadfield Stadium since the start of the season, with the new floodlights and East Stand now erected, increasing the overall capacity to just under 6000. More improvements are being carried out over the summer so when we come back for the pre-season friendlies we shall see the next phase completed.
Now, getting on to the Away Travel, firstly, as was indicated at the Supporters Club AGM, I was going to give up organising supporters coaches at the end of last season, mainly as I felt it was time to let someone else have all the heartache of having to go to midweek matches to York, Wrexham etc, albeit in League 2. Having had telephone calls from some old supporter’s club members and further discussion with Kevin and Dave Brown, together with a bit of pressure from my family I did a bit of a turn round and agreed to organise supporter’s coaches this season provided we could cover all costs. We were starting from scratch, no money in the bank, no travel insurance, nothing apart from the will to succeed. Costs were agreed with Crawley Luxury for the seasons travel. Kevin and I went to see Alan Williams at the club to tell him what we were doing and why. We did ask if we could sell our coach tickets from Redz – this was obviously denied to us as we were competing against the CTSA – as was us advertising the coaches in the match programme or anywhere in the stadium. We therefore had to find a based, locally to the ground – hence the Half Moon was a prime location. We made contact with Ali and Rob who greeted us with open arms and offered us some great assistance from the start, opening up prior to our departures for Breakfast rolls and beverages.
Our first coach we planned was to Cheltenham at the end of August, hoping we could get enough supporters to book on – what a response – a full coach, we couldn’t have wished for a better start. We found a pub en-route, provided a buffet for supporters and the rest is history. The CTSA were unhappy about CLC providing us, as well as themselves with coaches that they decided to switch companies – leaving us as the only Crawley Luxury user. I can say for the twentieth year running that we have had no problems throughout the season, except from my navigation for Kevin.
Thanks to you, some very loyal supporters, we are still here, having provided coaches to all but 1 game – the re-arranged midweek game at Bradford. We have had 3 very popular overnight stops, visited a number of brilliant country pubs around the country rather than the motorway services, making some more good friends for the future – we can’t thank enough the White Lion (Barthomly), Cross Keys (Castle Donington) for their hospitality on numerous occasions we have visited.
About two months ago, we came across by chance the Crawley Happy Times (CHT) web site, an on line newspaper for Crawley and surrounding area which has been in existence for 3 years. So, having made contact with Shelley and Brian who now have become friends, we have a fantastic media to advertise our coaches, something that we really needed to be addressed if we want to increase numbers travelling, our previous advertising efforts on the Club Forum, Facebook, Twitter, the Real Mad Red Fanzine are limited. Since having had our details published on CHT and recorded interviews on their CHT TV channel, we have seen a marked increase in numbers travelling on the coaches, enabling us for the match at Dagenham & Redbridge to offer a reduce fare of £7.50p for supporters as a thank you for their support over the season. CHT were guests of ours for this trip, and have commented on the website how much they enjoyed the day.
Our financial state is good, considering how we started, thanks to the supporters who have made generous donations, everyone who has entered the “Crawley Last Goal” competition and with the small profit made on the coaches themselves we are free from any debt. All coaches have been paid for and we go into next season with money in the bank.
I would like to thank Andy Huggett (United Roofing) for sponsoring the GHCoaches “Away player” award – this has been a unanimous decision, with Dannie Bulman winning, he received 90% of the votes cast, and by the cheers from the fans at the game was a popular choice. We would like to thank the Accrington Stanley Football Club for allowing us to present the Trophy on the pitch before the game last Saturday.
Congratulations to Kyle MacFadzean for his inclusion in the League 2 Xl, with former Red Tyronne Barnett also making the team.
As always, Kevin gets the short straw (not being able to have an alcoholic drink), having to drive us around the country. I would personally like to thank him and the other drivers – Trevor, Toddy and Manny who have helped on the occasions we needed two due to the distances involved. Other supporters that need a thank you are Kelly for organising the refreshments on the longer journeys, Ann for keeping us and the coach free from litter and rubbish, who also acts with Patrick as our first aiders on the coach should there be a need.
We venture into another unknown season, another new set of grounds to visit and some big clubs – who’d would have thought 4 years ago we would be playing the likes of Portsmouth, Coventry, Preston at the Broadfield Stadium in a league match. Over the next couple of weeks, Kevin and I will sit down with Dave Brown at Crawley Luxury to agree details for next season. As soon as these are agreed we will amend all the details on our website, which in itself will be revamped over the summer. The new Division 1 fixtures are due out in Mid June, so we will know what we are looking at for the overnight stops – at the moment we are planning 3 – Carlisle, Hartlepool and Preston. With Carlisle and Preston stopping we will be stopping at previous hotels at Morecambe and Blackpool. We are on the case for Hartlepool.