The New Town Effect: Brutalism & Abrasive Personalities At Crawley And Stevenage


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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11 Responses

  1. SteveinSoCal says:

    Slightly biased perhaps, but my views of Stevenage are somewhat clouded by a rather fractious FA Cup tie against the Mighty U’s. After kicking us off the park at the Abbey Stadium they then proceeded to con the ref into sending off to of our players. in fact so piss poor was Brian Coddington’s performance in the middle of the park, he never refereed another matching featuring Cambridge United… But as we say, Stevenage Borough, Peterborough – just sh*t holes on the A1…

    As to Crawley – the Conference Prem is so much better without them. A team that bank-rolled itself out of the league with a complete lack of financial transparency. managed by the most odious convicted criminal in football. Now Steve Evans to Stevenage… there’s a thought.

  2. Matt says:

    I wrote quite a similar piece to this last week regarding Stevenage and MK Dons, so that’s all the excuse I need to chuck in a cheeky plug for that!

  3. Dermot O'Dreary says:

    I have no time for either club, however they are not the worst New Town football, erm, thing not by a long shot.

  4. Sam says:

    It seems that you base your dislike of Crawley purely on the fact that Steve Evans is the manager here? Many teams have managers whom it is easy for opposition supports to dislike, and I can even think of a Premiership manager who is in a spot of legal bother for his tax troubles. Most supporters will tolerate any manager so long as they’re winning no matter how ungenial they are.

    I think most supporters’ real problem with Crawley is perhaps jealousy derived from both our sudden rise up the leagues and the fact that we are a ‘New Town’ – both completely understandable.

    As written, we have had torrid financial times ourselves under the Majeeds so we’re just happy to not have to worry about going bust (yet….!), winning is just a bonus.

    Keep up the good work.

  5. mike says:

    The basic problem I have with both Crawley and Stevenage is the ‘Johnny-come-lately’ element – and the feeling that their success has been bought rather than earned. I don’t think either club was much liked in non-League circles – certainly not in those which I frequent. In addition, Crawley’s well-publicised financial difficulties should really have seen them demoted a few years ago, before the present backers (who may well be entirely honiurable men – and women) and Mr. Evans (of whom I offer no opinion) came on the scene. Mr. Westley may do well at Preston, but he may equally put a lot of folk’s backs up.

  6. Dave says:

    Unfortunately Mike you are ill informed, as Stevenage have not brought their success. We have no real money, and run debt free as our chairman who is wealthy doesnt put money into the club, as he rightly believes it should pay for itself. The only time our club makes money is through cup games or finishing positions. All profit is then put back into the club either buying players or ground improvements

  7. Ian says:

    “and the feeling that their success has been bought rather than earned.”

    Mike, that comment can only be levelled at Crawley. Stevenage are in a sound financial state but this is on the back of the club being run in a prudent business-like fashion by our Chairman Phil Wallace. This has been helped by the sales of George Boyd and Steve Morison (including a sell on of IIRC £500,000 when he moved to Norwich) and the income received from our 3 recent Wembley appearances in the FA Trophy, our recent FA Cup runs and league successes.

    Crawley have made several big-money signings on the back of money received from their backers, often out-bidding clubs from a higher level, whereas Stevenage’s record signing was Craig Reid for an undisclosed fee that could potentially have reached 6 figures, but that included 2 players in part-exchange. Most of our squad were signed on frees or fairly small sums of less than £20k

  8. Tahn says:


    How on earth can you say Stevenage’s success has “been bought rather than earned”? What are you basing that comment on? Utterly bizarre comment. If anything, it’s the absolute opposite. How Stevenage have achieved their success is the polar opposite to how Crawley have achieved theirs.

    Stevenage’s current squad of players, of which most were part of the Conference winning squad in 2009-10, have worked tremendously hard over the last few seasons (putting in 9-5 shifts in training) – this is what has given them an advantage, a USP, and a constant fighting chance of upsetting the odds as they have been doing. Comparing our budget to a lot of League One, and indeed League Two sides, it is clear to see that Stevenage are punching well above their weight.

    You go through the squad:-

    – Alan Julian (free transfer)
    – Lawrie Wilson (free transfer)
    – Scott Laird (small undisclosed fee)
    – Darius Charles (“small four figure” tribunal fee)
    – Jon Ashton (small undisclosed fee)
    – Phil Edwards (free transfer)
    – Darren Murphy (free transfer)
    – Stacy Long (free transfer)
    – Craig Reid (record transfer signing at £50k)
    – Jennison Myrie-Williams (free transfer)
    – Ben May (free transfer)
    – Joel Byrom (£15,000)
    – Mark Roberts (£4,000)
    – Luke Freeman (undisclosed fee – but under £50k)
    – Chris Day (free transfer)
    – Peter Winn ( free transfer)
    – Don Cowan (undisclosed fee – but under £50k)
    – Michael Thalassitis (youth player)
    – Chris Beardsley (free transfer)
    – John Mousinho (free transfer)
    – Chuks Aneke (loan)
    – Rob Sinclair (free transfer)
    – Michael Bostwick (free transfer)
    – Ronnie Henry ( free transfer)
    – Robin Shroot (free transfer)

    Throw in the fact that Stevenage have had three recent FA Trophy Finals (at Wembley), two FA Cup runs that have generated the best part of a £1Million, two play-off campaigns, and a number of bumper 4,000+ crowds, and it is clear to see that Stevenage have been extremely prudent with their dollar.

    What’s happening at Stevenage right now is a MASSIVE modern day success story in football – a small team built on a small budget and a strong work ethic, upsetting the odds by sitting in the play-off places in League One, indeed nestled alongside Charlton, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Huddersfield – all of which have signed players recently that equate to three times the amount of the whole of Stevenage’s squad put together, throw in the wages on top of that, too.

    As you can probably tell, ignorance like Mikes really gets my goat, but then again, it’s probably easier for him to spout such ill-informed garbage than to actually research the facts.

  9. Dave says:

    I can certainly understand why Westley puts people’s backs up…but the notion ( Mike ) that its been achieved by throwing money at it simply isnt true. Stevenage have never had ‘big gates’ for their level..even in the Conference to be honest..these days they average around 3800…in League 1 !! You cant buy and pay the wages of players with silky skills with that kind of gate money..The chairman isnt a Russian Billionaire and the books balance so theres no bank rolling. The achievements are on the back of team spirit, fitness and hard work. Its true the tactics are sometimes ‘in yer face’ ..but if all these other lovely clubs play such nice football…they should be able to cope with that surely ? No the fact is that Stevenage are the Stoke city of League one..not pretty but effective. I hope that now Westley has moved on some grudging admiration might come Stevenage’s way. After all we all had a soft spot for The Crazy gamg at Wimbledon..and there are lots of comparisons.

  10. sssalop says:

    As Dave said, there are many parallels with Wimbledon. Good on Stevenage!

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