What a time to be a Crewe fan! The star of last season gets sold to one of the biggest clubs in the world, once again showing what a fantastic academy we have in place, we win our first competitive game of the season 5-0 and our transfer window actually excites the fans…oh, and we’re also unbeaten since January.
After the mammoth season Crewe fans experienced last year, nobody could blame us if we hoped for some downtime and an opportunity to recover from the sunburn after our epic win at Wembley in May. Realistically, this was never going to happen. At the start of June, we saw one of our most gifted youngsters get a deserved move to Manchester United. Eighteen year old Nick Powell, scorer of one of the best goals at Wembley last season, moved to the Manchester giants for a fee believed to be around £4 million.
I personally thought this was great news. Crewe were never going to be able to keep hold of him and it was the first transfer of an Alex player to a top flight side since Dean Ashton’s £3 million pound move to Norwich back in 2005. Our youth system, so famous for the likes of David Platt and Danny Murphy, was back on the map.
With the departure of Powell, this left a gap in the side. He had been the top goalscorer last season and had created a number of others. Our manager Steve Davis had easily won over the fans with the results and promotion, but now he faced another hurdle to climb. The transfer window.
I’m pleased to say he delivered! Five new faces came into the squad, and from what we have seen already, quality has been added. Mark Ellis, was the first to arrive. We had seen from our matches against Torquay that he was a solid defender and its fair to say with the departure of David Artell, we needed a strong centre halve to be brought in. Another stand out signing was Mathias Pogba from Wrexham for a free. Brother of Paul, Mathias is a striker who will battle for the ball and cause problems for the opposition defense.
He was prolific in pre season and followed that up in the Capital One Cup, scoring two against Hartlepool. As well as filling the left back role and bringing in another winger, eventually we signed former Northampton man Abdul Osman. We have two sensational creative centre midfielders in Ashley Westwood and Luke Murphy, but we desperately needed another body in the centre of the park to add some hustle and bustle in the centre, and that’s what we have found.
Looking to what we already have, this season will see Max Clayton take it up a notch. He has already scored two last minute winners last season, as well as scoring a fairly important goal in the playoff semi-finals at Southend! He has just turned 18 years old and there is no doubt he will be the player everyone will be talking about this season. Like Pogba, he has already notched two goals already in the easy Capital Cup 5-0 win over Hartlepool (Jeff wont be amused) and has also had a decent pre season.
I’m excited and optimistic about the coming season. I think we can continue our unbeaten run, but as we haven’t lost in such a long time, it will be important that we react well when we are eventually beaten, as lets be honest, we are not going to go the whole season without losing. I would say I would be happy with staying in the division, but would it be bad to expect a top half finish? I think not…We have the squad, we have the manager and we have the belief.
Written by Hugh Wilson, We Are Going Up’s Crewe Alexandra blogger
Hugh tweets at @Hugh_Wilson