RECALLING REDS: Richefond: Can Crawley Town do a Leicester City?

Ryan Richefond  Picture by James Boardman
Ryan Richefond Picture by James Boardman

Former Crawley Town player Ryan Richefond is lifting the lid after he suffered the setback of being released from the professional game.

The midfielder made limited appearances for Reds after securing a one-year deal in 2014 after progressing through the club’s youth ranks.

The 19-year-old, who is writing a series of columns for us, recalls his time at Crawley fondly and is still close to many former and current players as he refuses to give up on his dream.

Now that the football season has come to an end, I want to take some time to reflect on what has been a roller-coaster season, not just for me, but for all of football.

The obvious stand out, is Leicester City winning the Premier League. This is a triumph not just for the players, the staff and the fans; but for football as a community and a sport.

This time last year Nigel Pearson led Leicester to eight consecutive wins to avoid relegation, one year on and we are looking at the new champions of England.

Comparing the budget of Leicester to that of the majority of the League, you can see they have not spent millions upon millions, instead they have invested wisely and given chances to those deemed surplus to requirements at so called ‘bigger clubs’.

For me, the one major contributing factor to their success is the harmony amongst the squad. You can see they are a tight-knit team with a lack of egos, pushing each other to be better each and every day.

But this togetherness is not limited to just the playing staff. For a club to be successful in any manner or form, you need everyone to be pulling in the same direction. Thinking back on this season, the clubs I’ve played for have all had that.

The kit man is a much underrated job. At Crawley we had Marco Quasimodo. He was the personal link between the management and the players, making sure you knew what was happening, you had all your kit/boots and also looking after each player’s individual needs.

The groundsmen are a massive part of the setup, ensuring the stadium and training pitches are playable after the battering we give them every session and game.

From the office staff you see around the stadium to the chef, who is responsible for you eating the right way, everyone needs to play their part and this has been no more evident than at Manchester United. During his 27 years at the club, Sir Alex Ferguson knew everyone at the clubs name - players, staff and stewards.

This camaraderie was the driving force of Worthing getting promoted this season. Jon Meeney set the stands high and maintained them throughout the club, and I really enjoyed working with him.

The same can be said at Loxwood. Although only a County team, Mark Beard kept the professional mentality that he gained from the clubs he’s been at.

I’ve said before that football can be a kick in the teeth at times, and after starting the season without a club I was struggling to find enjoyment in anything. But I owe a lot of thanks to all those associated to Loxwood for giving me a chance and helping me to get back into the game.

As for Grays Athletic, I went to the club in the midst of financial issues, and although this meant we struggled to field a consistent starting line-up, I feel that some of my best performances of the season came due to the trust shown by the manager (Mark Bentley) and his coaching team.

I was lucky enough to pick up a few awards towards the end of the season there and want to thank the fans for their support, even through the defeats.

Looking to the future, Crawley is a progressive club and with a new board, manager and staff in place I can see good times ahead. If they can bond half as well as Leicester have done, then all will be rosey in the garden.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make this website your homepage

2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex

3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!