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Formed in 1896, Crawley Town began life in the West Sussex Junior League where they remained for five years before transferring to the Mid-Sussex League, winning the League in only their second season. The club were reformed twice in 1905 and 1938. In 1949 Crawley moved from their Malthouse Farm base to a new ground in West Green called Town Mead.
They stayed at the same footballing this level until they entered the Sussex County League in 1951 before switching again 5 years later to the Metropolitan League. The league was a competition for both professional and amateur sides. Crawley retained their amateur status and went on to win the Metropolitan League Challenge Cup in 1959.
Crawley turned semi-professional in 1962 and the following year they joined the Southern League First Division. In 1969 they were promoted to Premier Division of the Southern League but the joy was short lived as the following they were relegated back to the first division where they remained until the 1983-84 season when they were promoted as runners-up.
The club have enjoyed many cup successes, winning the Sussex Professional Cup in 1970, the Gilbert Rice Floodlight Cup in 1980 and 1984, the Southern Counties Combination Floodlight Cup in 1986, and the Sussex Senior Cup in 1990 and 1991. The Sussex Floodlight Cup was won in three consecutive years from 1991 to 1993 and also again in 1998/99.
Despite several cup successes, Crawley’s most successful cup run at the time was in the 2010/2011 season when they reached the The FA Cup fifth round proper. During the cup run they defeated Derby at home 2-1 in the Third Round. The club enjoyed a money-spinning tie with former Premier League with Manchester United at Old Trafford in front of 75197 fans.
In 2004 The Red Devils signed off their 20-season stay in the Premier Division of the Southern League by wrapping up the championship in convincing style, ending up 12 points clear of the field and adding their second successive League Cup success and the league’s Championship Match trophy. The title was wrapped up with four matches remaining, as a 3-0 victory at Welling sparked emotional celebrations from a large travelling contingent. Crawley would now be playing in the Football Conference, the highest level of Non-League football, for the first time in their history.
In 2011 after major investment into the club, the team was promoted to the Football League for the first time. They also reached the fifth round of the FA Cup, playing in front of 74.000 fans against Manchester United at Old Trafford including 10,000 Crawley fans. In February 2012 they again reached the fifth round after knocking out Bury, Redbridge, Bristol City and Hull City before losing 2-0 to Premier League Stoke City at the Broadfield Stadium.
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