Walker calls for more fans as Crawley climb league ladder

BBC's Dan Walker with Crawley Town's Matt Tubbs at the Broadfield stadium today (Pic by Jon Rigby)
BBC's Dan Walker with Crawley Town's Matt Tubbs at the Broadfield stadium today (Pic by Jon Rigby)

BBC TV presenter Dan Walker would love to see more fans come and get behind the club as they battle to establish themselves as League 2 promotion contenders.

The well known star of Football Focus returned to Crawley yesterday (Wednesday) to do a feature on his home town club leading the table in League 2 in their first season in the Football League.

He interviewed chief executive Alan Williams, manager Steve Evans and topscorer Matt Tubbs about the latest events behinds the scenes and how the Reds are enjoying such a great debut league campaign.

The feature will go out in the first of the third series of BBC1 football magazine Late Kick-off London which will be shown this Monday, January 16, starting at 11.05pm.

Each week they will feature four or five of the 14 Football League clubs in the London and South East region, including interviews with regular guest Mark Bright and football managers such as West Ham boss Sam Allardyce.

Crawley Town will also be covered in the BBC South edition of the show, Late Kick-off South, which will be hosted by Channel Four’s former Italian football presenter, James Richardson.

Walker stresses the idea of the show is to concentrate on non-Premier League football. He said: “Football Focus and Match of the Day tend to concentrate on the Premier League so this is the BBC giving a great opportunity to give as much coverage as possible to League clubs. I’ll even try to get Steve Evans in, but even though I’m a fan, I’ll have to ask him all the difficult questions as well!”

Walker used to watch Crawley in the lower levels of Non-League football alongside his dad Austin and fondly remembers watching players such as Tony Vessey, Cliff Cant and David Speedie.

He revealed he has now relocated from London to Salford, where the BBC has a new base, so keeps tabs on Crawley’s progress through his dad and through reading the Crawley Times’ sister paper, the Crawley Observer.

He said; “Everyone at the club would say they bought their way out of the Conference, because you have to do that really. But most of the money they have spent this season has come from their cup run last year. They are frugally spending and building up a good team.

“With the quality they have on the pitch with Barnett and Tubbs, Torres and Bulman and the back two or three, they are proving they are very very good in League 2 and could do a job in League 1 as well plus they’re having a good cup run too!

“Lots of teams have been through very dark days - Crawley have been in administration twice. If you’d tell any Crawley fan then that one day they would be on top of League 2 they wouldn’t believe you.

“People hate Crawley because of money and now because they don’t get the large crowds. People here support London clubs and unlike some of the longer established league clubs in other places, they don’t have the bedrock of support to fall back on.

“The big challenge for Crawley is to educate people who support other clubs to come and support them when the others are away and keep coming back.

“The quality of players is such that I think Crawley can go up this season in the top three and could even win it!”

l CRAWLEY Town have turned down two bids for star striker Matt Tubbs.

Bournemouth are reported to have made a verbal bid initially, and then a written offer for the frontman, who scored his 57th goal in Crawley colours on Saturday in the 1-0 FA Cup Third Round defeat of Bristol City. Both offers were turned down, according to reports.

Tubbs has already had one spell with the Cherries, during a 2008 loan spell, but has already attracted a number of ofers in this transfer window after scoring 17 goals this season. Earlier this season League Bournemouth signed Wes Thomas on from Crawley.