Crawley Town identify potential new training ground site

Operations Director Kelly Derham alongside Commercial and Communities Manager Joe Comper 'Picture courtesy of Crawley Town FC
Operations Director Kelly Derham alongside Commercial and Communities Manager Joe Comper 'Picture courtesy of Crawley Town FC

Crawley Town are closing in on finding a new training ground which will give them an all year round base worthy of a Football League club.

Over the last few years, Worth School, Oakwood Football Club, the Sikh Gurdwara and Community Sport Centre at Ifield Green, Bewbush Pavilion and venues in Brighton and South London have all been tried.

Ultimately the club wants to move to a permanent base they can use everyday for the long haul.

Locations in Crawley are afflicted by clay soil which causes them to be unplayable on a regular basis when wet winter weather sets in.

Crawley currently train on nearby 3G artificial pitches.

Commercial and communities manager Joe Comper said: “There’s been a problem here for so long and I have been looking to identify a new training ground.

“We are conducting more thorough research after other venues fell through after we experienced unexpected problems.

“We are going through a proper process and so far had the input of several off-field and on-field staff including Kelly Derham (operations director), Bruce Talbot (general manager) and Gabriele Cioffi (head coach) and the head groundsman Ben Harwood.

“A location down the A23 was turned down because of the effect of added travel to get there for our London-based players.”

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Comper stressed a final decision on using the new venue has yet to be made but so far the reaction of all parties who have been involved has been positive.

He said: “We think we’ve got a good option to rent somewhere from July which would be a proper base with pitches, a gym and all the facilities we need.”

Longtime Crawley fan Comper has been commercial manager for 18 months after first being employed by Crawley Town Foundation.

He worked there as employment and skills manager to help young people into work through traineeships and BTEC Education programme, having previously gained experience of working in a foundation at Fulham.

Comper greatly enjoys his current role. He revealed: “There’s more pressure here as you have tight deadlines and you are not in complete control all the time.

“Last year my whole working life was based on getting us a new stadium sponsor (The People’s Pension). Before that I was working on the main shirt sponsor (also The People’s Pension).

“Over the last month or so we’ve been tying up back of shirt sponsors, back of shorts sponsors and training kit sponsors for next season.

“If you don’t get it done by the end of January and into February you’ve missed the boat as you have to place the order for the kit.”