Scouting networks and under-21 side are hot topics in Crawley Town boardroom

Crawley Town head coach Dermot Drummy, left, with his assistant, Matt Gray SUS-160305-112848002
Crawley Town head coach Dermot Drummy, left, with his assistant, Matt Gray SUS-160305-112848002

Scouting networks, training facilities and the reintroduction of an under-21 side are hot-topics in the boardroom at Crawley Town at the moment.

Times have changed at the Checkatrade Stadium and officials are full of ideas to better themselves.

It’s fitting to hear in an FA Cup week, a competition that put the club on the map, that Reds are now trying to build in the right way.

The meteoric rise to League One no doubt propelled great times on the once minnows, but it’s clear to anyone that the priorities were on the pitch.

Rightly so, you may believe, but it’s about a balancing act - and so far it appears head coach Dermot Drummy and Crawley owner Ziya Eren are masters of the scales.

There is a big and exciting possibility of Reds reinstating a youth set-up next term after closing their previous one’s doors in early 2014.

Drummy has already met with former youth coach and ex-Millwall player Mark Beard, who now manages local side Loxwood.

And work is under way to set up a scouting network to keep an eye on 
local non-league talent next season.

Reds are backing training at the ground of Southern Combination League side Oakwood at the moment and with the land at the Sikh Gurdwara and Community Sport Centre in Ifield Green, considered to be a long-term project, new options for next season are being considered.

Community is now key in the eyes of the new Reds hierarchy as Drummy explained: “With Selim (Gaygusuz) as our football operations manager now and along with Matt (Gray), they have arranged for some scouts to go around and report any players to us.

“We are just setting up that scouting network underneath our main scout, who goes to all the first-team games.

“I met Mark Beard the other week, he popped in and it was nice to meet him and chat.

“We talked about Loxwood and we are going to go down there as he said he has some young players there.

“I think in the under-16s to 18s it will be younger talent, but if you are going to sign a player for our first team then they can come from anywhere at any age.

“If an under-21s is going to be in place then we start off at 15s, 16s, 17s from local sides that play around the areas.

“I think it will all come. If I am honest, this past six months has flown by and Selim coming in is part of that operation.

“When I meet with Selim and Ziya (Eren) I am on about next year, the training ground – are we going to have an under-21s?

“It’s a remit that is ongoing off the pitch and a few people are seeing that it comes to fruition.

“It’s a five-year plan. Financially it has to be feasible, the community has to be involved and it can happen, it does happen.

“Stevenage has a very good community based team and an academy. When you go to Stevenage you hear there are 70,000 people involved and I looked at that and think that’s something we can aim at and somewhere we can go.”

The vision for the club is clear, but that will not come at a cost of success on the pitch.

But Eren does have a goal of producing quality players that could go on to bigger things, resulting in making the club some much-needed profit in the process.

Drummy added: “If the investment isn’t there then we do have a problem as our crowd will not pay the whole budget at the club.

“So Ziya has come in and put in a substantial investment in the club. Where he wants it to go, I think, is start to work and organise and get better crowds.

“Maybe sell a player to a higher club to generate money, that is the ongoing plan, but I think that is a five-year plan and we are six months in.

“Status in League Two is paramount and then play-offs and a cup run, along with the transformation of the changing rooms and support staff I have brought in.

“If we are saying we are going to do it, then what do we need? If we sit in meetings now it’s about seeing what we want for next year and how we are going to get it. Is the finance there, the community aspect?”