CRAWLEY Town have unveiled their impressive new East Stand which has now been completed and will be open to fans for the first time at Good Friday’s home game against Crewe Alexandra.
It contains 2,154 seats and will increase the stadium capacity from just under 5,000 to nearly 6,000.
The structure has taken a year in planning but only took a week to build and has been completed comfortably before the May 1 deadline imposed by the Football League.
It cost £1million to build shared 50/50 between the club and a grant from the Football Foundation. But with increased gates it should pay for itself in a year.
Chief executive Alan Williams said this is a thank you to the fans for years of loyal support and hopes to see a bumper crowd come to Broadfield Stadium for its opening.
Speaking at a press preview on Monday, he said: “It looks like a stadium, not just a three-sided stadium with a wall, which wasn’t pretty. We are sorry the fans have lost their terrace place they have stood in for the last 15 years but hopefully we have given them something a lot better to sit in for the next 15 years. This is a thank you to the fans’ wonderful support.
“It’s a massive project I have been working on from the second we knew we won promotion at Tamworth one year ago.
“It ticks so many boxes and means we now have a capacity which complies with Football League regulations.”
Williams would like to see the ground improvments, which also include new floodlights and turnstiles, lead to increased gates from 3,500 so far this season up to 4,700 next season when the club could be playing in League 1.
The Reds are offering a deal to supporters where for the last four remaining home games they can sit in the stand for the same price as they would pay for standing on the terraces.
He said: “It will make the match-day atmosphere fantastic. With four home games left it’s vitally important we win them and if get draws in our away matches we can make our dream of promotion to League 1 a reality.
“It’s not going to be easy winning these four games. We’ve got to make the fans our 12th man. Buy a terrace ticket and sit in the stand, see what you think of it and choose your seats for next year. We want to encourage as many people as possible to come and support us and help us get into the next division.”