Crawley chief warns of painful cutbacks

Michael Dunford admits Crawley cannot continue to spend beyond their means

Michael Dunford admits Crawley cannot continue to spend beyond their means

First published in Sport by

Chief executive Michael Dunford insists Crawley remain financially secure despite the club launching a wide-ranging cost cutting review in a bid to balance the books.

Dunford, pictured below, says Reds have been operating beyond their means for years and that “painful” and “unpopular” decisions need to be taken over the next few months to reduce expenditure.

Crawley’s owners have been pushing for the club to become more self-sufficient since putting Reds up for sale 11 months ago and appear unwilling to continue to underwrite substantial losses.

Dunford admits redundancies will be inevitable but that manager John Gregory will still have a playing budget capable of making Crawley competitive in League One.

Dunford said: “It is becoming increasingly evident that on average gates of 3,300 it is difficult to carry on in the way we have done in the past without expecting benefactors and investors to pump huge amounts of money in to support the club.

“The investors will continue to help the club in the coming years but whether that is to the level they have done previously is another matter.

“Nobody will avoid the scalpel. Some of the decision we have to take may be unpopular. It will be painful as some people might lose their jobs but at the end of the day we have to ensure the future financial stability of the club.

“But we don’t want people thinking we are on the point of going into administration as nothing could be further from the truth. I just think the supporters should know what the true situation is.

“The club is in safe hands. We will not allow the club to get into financial difficulties as we been there before and it is not pleasant but if we can trim costs accordingly we can look forward with renewed optimism.”

Dunford publicly stated that Crawley had the eighth biggest budget in League One two months ago and promised Gregory there would be money available to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window.

In the end Gregory saw three players leave on deadline day and failed to land his top target when three bids for Halifax Town striker Lee Gregory were rejected.

Dunford added: “John is aware of the situation. There will be a very tight budget but a competitive budget compared to a lot of clubs in this division.

“On gates of 3,300 we are probably paying over the top so we have to be realistic but we can sustain a club in this division in a healthy league position on the playing budget we will have.

“We don’t want to tread water but we can’t chase the dream and keep throwing money at it. There were some suggestions we bought our way out of the Conference (three years ago) and that might be true to a certain degree as we had a very high budget in those days compared to other clubs.

“We’d love to be in the Championship at some point in the future but first and foremost we’ve got to ensure the club functions from a stable financial background.”

Comments (4)

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11:14am Wed 5 Feb 14

Carter_Cooldancer says...

A very smart move. What Crawley have achieved over the past 5 years is fantastic, but reality bites in the end. They have surpassed expectations but with the Albion attracting such great county support and interest, I fear that Crawley will only ever get 4-5k crowds in the championship.
A very smart move. What Crawley have achieved over the past 5 years is fantastic, but reality bites in the end. They have surpassed expectations but with the Albion attracting such great county support and interest, I fear that Crawley will only ever get 4-5k crowds in the championship. Carter_Cooldancer
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Baldseagull says...

Carter_Cooldancer wrote:
A very smart move. What Crawley have achieved over the past 5 years is fantastic, but reality bites in the end. They have surpassed expectations but with the Albion attracting such great county support and interest, I fear that Crawley will only ever get 4-5k crowds in the championship.
Depends, 9,000 went up to Man Utd in the F.A. Cup, I think this is an achievable gate for home games, especially if they get into the Championship. There are a few who go to both Crawley and Albion home games, as the Football League arranges fixtures so both sides are not at home on the same day.
[quote][p][bold]Carter_Cooldancer[/bold] wrote: A very smart move. What Crawley have achieved over the past 5 years is fantastic, but reality bites in the end. They have surpassed expectations but with the Albion attracting such great county support and interest, I fear that Crawley will only ever get 4-5k crowds in the championship.[/p][/quote]Depends, 9,000 went up to Man Utd in the F.A. Cup, I think this is an achievable gate for home games, especially if they get into the Championship. There are a few who go to both Crawley and Albion home games, as the Football League arranges fixtures so both sides are not at home on the same day. Baldseagull
  • Score: 0

8:22pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Rooky says...

The only surprise here is that it has taken them so long to realise. Most people knew this 3 years ago when Bent was in charge.
The only surprise here is that it has taken them so long to realise. Most people knew this 3 years ago when Bent was in charge. Rooky
  • Score: 0

10:44am Thu 6 Feb 14

mjfjo1 says...

While our investors have been very helpful in getting us where we are now it is nothing compared to the many millions Brighton have had from Bloom and still their losses mount. So divorced from reality at the "higher" levels of the game? Hopefully it will start to dawn on people that the high prices at the bigger clubs do not guarantee fantastic football (just watch MOTD sometimes) and they will start to watch their local sides at reasonable prices and less hassle.
But then as the bigger clubs also have more money to throw at schemes to entice youngsters into their net I will not hold my breath for the ongoing health of lower league and non league football.
While our investors have been very helpful in getting us where we are now it is nothing compared to the many millions Brighton have had from Bloom and still their losses mount. So divorced from reality at the "higher" levels of the game? Hopefully it will start to dawn on people that the high prices at the bigger clubs do not guarantee fantastic football (just watch MOTD sometimes) and they will start to watch their local sides at reasonable prices and less hassle. But then as the bigger clubs also have more money to throw at schemes to entice youngsters into their net I will not hold my breath for the ongoing health of lower league and non league football. mjfjo1
  • Score: 0

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