As this is my first column for the Crawley Observer I would just like to start by introducing myself. I'm Steve, I'm Crawley born and bread and an avid Crawley Town follower home and away.
I first started watching Crawley as a six year old in 1983, and my love for the town and team has grown ever since.
I also run the ever growing Crawley Town supporters facebook group 'CRAWLEY TOWN 4 LIFE' which has almost 700 members now. Something I'm very proud of. We are a friendly group that welcomes all Crawley fans new and old.
I write this after an epic 688 mile round trip to Carlisle.
After attending the same fixture last season and witnessing the same scoreline another 3-1 defeat you would be forgiven for thinking this was a case of deja vu. But you would be very much mistaken.
The scoreline was the only similarity. Last season's team under Mark Yates was completely played off the park that day.
This time around under the impressive Dermot Drummy and this exciting new Crawley team that he is assembling we more than matched an unbeaten Carlisle team.
The only reason we came away empty handed was down to our inability to defend set pieces and crosses. Caused without a shadow of a doubt by the absence of the rock that is Joe McNermey at centre back.
He and Mark Connolly have built a great defensive partnership this season and when they don't play together our frailties at the back are evident.
When you travel to an away game you get to meet Crawley Town fans from all over the land. It amazes me and makes me feel proud to be a reds fan when I'm sharing an away end with Crawley fans from Liverpool, Newcastle and Dundee!
A special mention has to go to a 15 year old Crawley fan from Newcastle 'Connor Brown' who attended yesterday's game with his mum and dad, just like they attend the majority of our away games in the north.
Connor started supporting the Reds several years ago for the simple reason that he always chose to be Crawley Town when he played the EA Sports game 'FIFA' on his games console. It's a fantastic story and I look forward to seeing Connor and his parents at even more Crawley away games in the future.
Someone else who I met for the first time on my trip to Cumbria and deserves a mention is Reds fan 'Peter Sayers' a Crawley fan from Dundee.
Peter moved to Dundee from Horley as a 5-year-old, but due to being born in such proximity to Crawley he has grown up supporting the football club closest to where he came from and Dundee as well of course!
I wish more people would support clubs for geographical or family reasons and not just because they play on the TV every other week.
Supporting Crawley and following them all over the country is something which myself and many others just can't get enough of. Why else would you ever visit outposts such as Morecambe or Wrexham on a Tuesday night! It's a passion that unless you've got the bug, you just can't understand.
Bristol Rovers at home this Saturday and hopefully the start of another FA Cup journey! COYR!!
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