End of Term Report

As the season drew somewhat painfully to a close on Saturday, most of us were left wondering what is likely to happen next. Clearly we are a club in need of a rebuild both on and off the pitch, but whilst the direction off the pitch seems to be taking shape, we are all still somewhat in the dark over what Mr. Drummy and his assistants have in mind.

Dermot has talked previously about the style of play that he wants to see and having the right players to match that particular style, but it won’t be until we get clarity on the players retained, those let go and those brought in that we will have a better idea ourselves of what this particular style is likely to be. There is much hypothesizing among the fan base that this style will be fast and flowing, but I can’t help but wonder if this hypothesizing is more out of hope than expectation.

This morning we saw confirmation that Bond, Della-Verde, Preston, Deacon and Barnard have all been released at the end of their contracts and our loanees have all now departed, but there is still a significant question mark over the three contracted and 9 out of contract players that remain.

We must consider in our thinking the demise of the loan system next season that will need us requiring a far bigger core squad than we managed with this season. Perhaps there is more sense than some believe in retaining some of the out of contract players, especially if we can do it at a reduced rate, albeit with a reduced expectation of a regular start.

With the above in mind and as a form of End of Term report I thought it might be interesting to look back over the contribution of all of the 37 players we have used in the Football League and Cup matches this season. [At this point I’d just like to say a huge thanks to Bruce Talbot at Crawley Town FC for supplying me with the data to do this article. Without the data he sent me this article would have been a mammoth task that I would have been unlikely to have invested my time in.]

For reference the numbers after the names will be Starting Appearances – Substitution Appearances – Goals

Jon Ashton 26-5-0
A player I’d personally like to see retained. I think he has done a generally good job for us this season with a severe lack of protection from the midfield in front of him. – B

Chris Atkinson 5-2-0 (On loan from Crewe)
Sadly I wasn’t impressed the first time I saw him come on and he showed little after that to change my mind. One of the few weaker loans that Mark Yates made. Whilst not calamitous in his inclusion, he added little. – D

Lee Barnard 15-15-1 (Released May 2016)
Where to start with this one…? If ever the phrase “stealing a living as a footballer” was intended for anyone it’s Lee. Glad to see that he was swiftly released. – F

Bobson Bawling 7-9-0
Now I do like Bobson and I genuinely feel that Mark Yates never rated him or he would have got more game time. When you consider the players that got the nod ahead of him, it’s hard to see why he didn’t get a decent run, particularly when you see the effort he put in when he was on the pitch. And the nutmeg! We all remember the nutmeg… – C

Andy Bond 11-1-0 (Released May 2016)
Flattered to deceive on too many occasions for my liking. A good touch would be followed almost immediately by a loss of position. Almost like he stopped to admire what he’d just done in either self-admiration or disbelief. Not one for the future. – D

Sonny Bradley 49-1-0
Before I say any more, just look at the games played. 49 starts and one as a sub. That’s a pretty heavy load for a player at any level and doing that as a Centre Back in League 2 is a hell of an achievement. It’s not been is best season by any means, and the captaincy does appear to have weighed heavy on him. Always a better player with McNerney next to him and absolutely a better player without Walton in front of him. Sonny’s a lovely guy and a player I feel we should keep. He’s young enough that with the right coaching (which I hope we now have) that he could develop in to a great player. For me I’d give the captaincy elsewhere and let him focus on his own game. – C

Tom Dallison 1-0-0 (On loan from Brighton)
One great game and then an injury. Not much more to be said. – A

Roarie Deacon 24-16-5 (Released May 2016)
When I first saw Roarie play against Burgess Hill and open the coring pre-season I really thought we had something. Sadly, he never really hit the heights and his recent omissions and somewhat rapid departure would indicate that the writing’s been on the wall for a while now. – C

Lyle Della-Verde 10-2-0 (Released May 2016)
Great talent mixed with great wastefulness. Struggled to find any form in his first few matches and showed patches of brilliance in his last few, but all to few and far between. – D

Liam Donnelly 11-1-0 (On loan from Fulham)
Another decent defender placed in the Crawley Alamo. Did what he could under difficult circumstances. C

Charles Dunne 12-0-0 (On loan from Blackpool)
One of the bright spots of the season for me. I liked his pace, size and touch and when playing on the opposite side to Oyebanjo gave a good balance at the back as well as meaningful support for whoever was ahead of him. – B

Josh Emmanuel 1-1-0 (On loan from Ipswich Town)
One of those strange “blink and you missed it” loans. Here for three months, but only made the one start an substitute appearance. One of those moves that begs the question: “why did we bring him here if we’re not going to play him?” – E

Gwion Edwards 42-3-8
Our own little Welsh Wizard and one we all grateful to have under contract. The move to extend his contract for another year appears a very smart one and one that could pay dividends with the right coaching and exposure. 8 goals and some of the high points in an otherwise dull and depressing season explain very clearly why he got the end of season awards that he did. – A

Shamir Fenelon 10-22-2
Industrious when introduced as a substitute, but offered little when given a start. Whilst some talk about him being a useful squad addition I’m not convinced. I think there is better out there already without the need to gamble. – C

Daryl Flahavan 16-0-0 (Left January 2016)
Rumours that his exit was due to a recall from Snow White are apparently untrue. A poor signing in my view and one I was glad to see the back of. At fault for too many goals and his being muscled off the ball by Big John away at Barnet were reasons enough to show him the door. – F

Mitch Hancox 16-0-2 (On loan from Birmingham City)
Not hugely impressed, not hugely disappointed. The footballing equivalent of beige for me. – D

Matt Harrold 34-4-9
No longer the comedy goalkeeper of Milton Keynes fame, but a good, solid, dependable player in his own right. Thrown up top on his own for most of the season and had the dubious pleasure of being supported by such footballing greats as Barnard and Tomlin, which makes his 9 goals even more impressive. With his friendly demeanor and connection to the fans pinned against his ability and work rate I’d love to see Matt offered another contract. – A

Conor Henderson 2-1-0 (Joined Grimsby January 2016)
Poor for us, and rightly released. Went to Grimsby where he still hasn’t played in the league for them. – F

Paul Jones 8-0-0 (On loan from Portsmouth)
Great golfer, good goalkeeper. Not one of the most conversational players you’ll ever meet, but it was nice to have him back for the eight games we were able to enjoy his confidence and solidity at the back. – B

Ross Jenkins 7-7-0 (Joined Poli Timisoara January 2016)
Without a club for a year before he joined us and now struggling to get in a side propping up the lower reaches of the Romanian Liga 1. I hope he’s got a backup trade. – E

Liam McAlinden 5-1-1 (On loan from Wolves)
Not one that impressed I’m afraid. Another player that promised a bit but delivered little. – D

Joe McNerney 12-1-1
A great player for Crawley and one I’m glad is still in contract. Injuries have obviously been an issue, but at 26 he’s at a great age to get settled in to a new side. As I’ve said previously, he makes Sonny a better player when he’s next to him and probably plays more of the captain’s role. – B+

Rhys Murphy 16-0-9 (On loan from Oldham Athletic)
There’s something really grating about having to thank a player that finished the season at Wimbledon for our survival, but sadly it’s probably the case. Really showed what a good striker can do for a side and his 9 goals from 16 games is an exceptional statistic, particularly when you see how we finished the season without him. – A

Lanre Oyebanjo 7-0-0
It was like getting a new signing when he came back from injury. We’d almost forgotten how good he was he’d been out for so long. A natural right back with pace and drive. Good going forwards and excellent tracking back. I’d like to see him offered a contract for next season and at 26 he might be young enough to fit the mold. – B

Callum Preston 10-0-0 (Released May 2016)
A really nice young man with a great talent. Forced to sit and watch the diminutive Flahaven take his place on more than one occasion and something of a surprise to see released. – B

Luke Rooney 11-10-1 (Joined Phoenix United February 2016)
Some talent and a lot of attitude. Sad to see him leave in the manner that he did, but not sad to see him leave. He’s let a few managers down now in his career and it’s hard to see that trend arrested. The odd flash of genius largely surrounded by the cheap gift of possession to the opposition. If his ability matched his ego we would have been fine and he would have been playing for Barcelona – F

Jack Rose 5-0-0 (On loan from West Brom)
A good goalkeeper who was never really given a chance to show his general ability as his time was divided between making some spectacular stops to save the reputation of his defence and picking the ball out of the net, usually through no fault of his own. Sadly he joined us just at the wrong time. – C

Christian Scales 8-0-0 (On loan from Crystal Palace)
A good player trying to fit in with a team below his ability. His first game away at Cambridge showed what he was capable of and his return to Palace was a shame for us. – B

George Smith 4-0-0 (On loan from Barnsley)
The four game run came and went too soon. George showed the signs of being something special and you were left wondering why he wasn’t playing for Barnsley. Since his return he’s got his season total up to 23, so maybe the arrangement really was reciprocal. – B+

Jimmy Smith 33-2-1
From serial pointer to midfield general in one summer. The new slimmed-down Jimmy started off the season well and continued to improve. Without the injury sustained against Portsmouth (where again, he was one of the better players on the park) I honestly think he could have given Gwion a decent run for his money in the awards. I just hope that Mr. Drummy has seen enough of the new Jimmy to see what we all did and consider offering him a new contract. – B

Frankie Sutherland 10-1-0 (On loan from QPR)
Another one of those beige players for me I’m afraid. Didn’t do much wrong, didn’t do much right. – D

Gavin Tomlin 11-6-0
Gavin appears to have reached full pantomime status now. I’ve written enough about him previously not to go over old ground again, but I honestly believe that for his own sake he needs to move on as much as for the good of the club. He is as far away from being a fan’s favourite as you could possibly get and the sad truth now is that he will never be accepted at the club. If for some bizarre reason he gets offered a new contract I’d expect the fans to vote with their feet, and I can’t see that the new owners would see that as a risk worth taking. – F

Bryan Van Den Bogaert 2-0-0 (Joined Whitehawk September 2015)
Came in. Didn’t do that well in a very short window. Left. – E

Simon Walton 33-6-4
Now here’s a divisive figure. Although under contract for another season and having put in a few good shifts, his performances of late have left many wondering if it’s not better that we cut our losses early. Too slow on the turn, too ready for a fight (with both players and fans!) and simply not good enough for a more free-flowing football that our new Manager is apparently looking to implement may well see him heading for the door. – D

Freddie Woodman 12-0-0 (On loan from Newcastle)
One of those players in years to come that we’ll be able to say “started at Crawley”. A great talent that we would have loved to retain for the season. Sadly the pull of his home club was something we could not compete against and all too soon he was gone. With our best wishes for the future and half an eye on his next steps from many of the Crawley faithful. – A

Josh Yorwerth 24-0-0 (On loan from Ipswich Town)
A good, young player that I would have liked to have seen us hang on to. Did a solid enough job for us while he was here and would be well suited to where we appear to be heading next. – B+

Lewis Young 30-9-0
I spoke to another squad member about Lewis a short while ago and we shared the same view: Lewis needs coaching more than he needs game time. Sadly though, now nearing 27, his time for development has passed and we’re left with a player who doesn’t appear to know where his best position is. We’re often told he’s a midfielder, but his best games have been at right-back. Maybe though that says more about his performances in midfield than it does his appearances as right-back. I like Lewis and having spoken to both him and his family I’d like to see him settle and enjoy his time at Crawley. If Dermot Drummy is as good as people say, then maybe he’s worth a shot. But this might prove to be one risk that the club isn’t willing to take. – D

So there you have it. Quite a long list and one that I would expect to be significantly different and shorter next season.

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