THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

{mosimage} 19 February ~ Today's FA Cup ties include an archetypal "David v Goliath" match, between three-time European, 18-time English League champions Manchester United, and the so-called "Manchester City of non-League", Crawley Town. As a fan of the latter, I have to be realistic. I don't see us coming away with a banner declaring "'Into the sixth round!" as we did in the previous two. In fact, we could be being easily beaten by United's second string. That said, United have struggled against non-League opposition the last two times they have been drawn against them. Admittedly, they progressed both times, but were forced to a replay in each encounter.

The build-up to the match, however, has been far from smooth for the Red Devils (Crawley, that is). In among the press attention, with plenty of negative comments about their performance against Torquay – as well as how they're in the process of "buying the league” – there has been one particularly nasty moment. This was the now infamous FA Cup song. While most teams record a song for the FA Cup final – or did, until that became something of a distant memory – Crawley have seen fit to embrace the fifth round tie with United as “their cup final”.

The song in itself was harmless enough, a reworking of the Specials' take on A Message to you Rudy into A Message to you Rooney by local musician Mike Dobie. While the general tone of the song and video is light-hearted, one idiot saw fit to ruin it by making gestures relating to the horrific Munich air disaster in 1958, for which he was subsequently arrested. His behaviour has completely taken the gloss off of what should have been a proud moment for Crawley and the 9,000 travelling fans. The biggest match in their history will now be tainted, if not overshadowed, by this ugly incident.

While Crawley generally aren't very well liked due to the amount of money they've been spreading around (which they have earned back and then some with this Cup run), this incident has only deepened that dislike, with quite a few fans already offering their support to Goliath in the hope that Crawley are humiliated. I for one will not be too disappointed if that is the case. As long as Crawley turn up and put in a good effort against the would-be Premier League champions, I will be a proud man at half past seven on Saturday. Though we are only two wins from Wembley. Joe Doyle

Comments (5)
Comment by john chapman 2011-02-19 11:56:52

Crawley also "aren't generally well-liked" because you have a convicted criminal as a manager...

Comment by PRB 2011-02-19 18:46:58

Given that your up against a big time, big money club against Man Utd, I think most people will still be rooting for Crawley. So they have the money to spend in their league - and who can blame them for that if it moves them up the divisions - but reaching this stage of the FA Cup is still bloody impressive.

So far so good in not being embarrassed. Theyre just one down at the time of writing.

Comment by eighteen85 2011-02-19 23:20:17

Must have been an odd experience to be outnumbered by home fans in the away area. And where were 8,953 of those loyal 9,000 travelling fans at Wrexham?

The reasons, of course, that Crawley are so despised, and which you have totally ignored are the club's odious tax-dodging manager and the, erm, dubious money funding the club.

If I wanted to read another piece about the "plucky minnows" that manages to totally overlook these minor issues I'd have read any national newspaper or watched the BBC and ITV coverage, all of which managed to draw a veil over Fatty Evans' criminal past and the crooks funding the club with dodgy Far Eastern cash

Comment by alyxandr 2011-02-19 23:56:58

Arrested for "making gestures"? Doubleplus ungood.

Comment by madmickyf 2011-02-21 06:48:25

I wonder how many of those 9,000 travelling supporters will turn up for the next home game? Judging by Crawley's average crowd only about 20% of them.

The only thing more sickening than clubs with no support (but lots of mysterious foreign backers) spending their way into the league is the complete lack of concern shown by the FA and FL about where the cash is coming from and who is supplying it.

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