Crawley Town boss John Yems wants to give non-league neighbours a pre-season boost

John Yems hopes Crawley Town can give their non-league neighbours a much-needed boost during pre-season.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 12:57 pm
Action from Crawley Town's pre-season friendly at neighbours Horsham in 2019. Picture by Derek Martin

The Reds will play a grand total of ten friendlies in the run-in to the 2021-22 League Two campaign, with the majority of those being away at nearby non-league clubs.

Crawley Town began their pre-season schedule with a 3-0 win at Walton Casuals last night.

The Reds now hit the road with four friendlies against non-league outfits.

Crawley Town travel to Horley Town on Saturday (3pm), Burgess Hill Town next Tuesday (7.30pm), Three Bridges on Friday 16 (7pm), and Horsham on Saturday 17 (3pm).

Yems' sides host Southampton under-23s on Tuesday 20 (7pm) before visiting East Grinstead Town on four days later (3pm).

The Reds then welcome the under-23s of West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur to The People’s Pension Stadium on Monday 26 (7pm) and Saturday 31 (3pm) respectively.

Crawley Town conclude their 2021-22 pre-season itinerary with a trip to Kent to take on Beckenham Town on Tuesday, August 3 (7pm).

Yems was adamant that the Reds gave their local neighbours a financial boost in pre-season after a tumultuous year-and-a-half for non-league football.

He said: “I’ve purposefully made sure that we play all the local non-league sides because they deserve the income.

“If it helps them out with the bar takings then great.

“Crawley Town wants these supporters to come and watch Crawley and vice-versa.

“We’ve helped out Horley with some for their dressing rooms. It’s what it’s all about.

“Tony Gale is the chairman at Walton and I’ve known him since my Fulham days. His boy runs the team. Once again it’s helping people out.

“If we moan about Premier League sides not helping, who are we to not help anybody?”

Yems is relaxed going into Crawley Town’s pre-season friendlies.

He said he was looking forward to seeing his players get some much needed game time under their belts before the season opener at Hartlepool United on Saturday, August 7.

But the Reds manager stressed that performances, and not results, were what he would be looking for during these friendlies.

Yems added: “It’s getting match fitness into players’ legs. It gives players match-time in their legs and gives you a chance to look at the trialists.

“I know people say the result is important and this and that the other, but I’m a little bit long in the tooth.

“Let’s just get what we want out of it. Of course you want to win, you never set a team up to lose.

“You don’t want anyone to get injured but you want it to be competitive. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword.

“You tell players not to do this, not to do that, and be careful but you still want to go out there and put yourself about.

“Let’s just get our fitness and our shape and get to know everybody again.”

Crawley Town returned to pre-season training last Monday. The first two sessions were held behind closed doors before they returned to their training base at Horsham on Thursday.

A number of trialists appeared at the Reds’ training session at Horsham on Thursday.

The pandemic has ravaged finances across English football, leading to a large number of players being released by their clubs due to financial constraints.

Yems revealed that he had never seen so many players out of work going into a new season.

But he told Reds fans not to expect the club to flash the cash in their bid to acquire more new faces.

He said: “In all my years of being in football, I’ve never seen so many players out of work.

“Players are phoning me all the time but we can’t cater for them.

“I need to look after the ones that were good for the club last year, and we don’t have an open cheque book like some other clubs have.

“You’re going to get clubs that do generate bigger money than we can, but good luck to them. That doesn’t give you success but it does help a bit.”

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