Outside the Box: Crawley to pay the penalty after fourth points deduction

Having points deducted by the authorities once may be considered a misfortune, but suffering that fate for four seasons running must surely constitute a record. Crawley Town of the Blue Square Premier have just achieved it and this latest punishment may prove the worst yet, ultimately costing them a place in the Football League: until last week, the Sussex club were in the play-off places, but losing four points dropped them to sixth. The whole sad saga, involving an exceedingly colourful cast, began in 2005 with the takeover by the SA Group, owned by the Majeed brothers Chas and Azwar. Chas was initially chairman but failed the Football Association's fit and proper person test when it was revealed that he was an undischarged bankrupt. In their first season, the club breached the competition's agreed wage cap, which brought a £10,000 fine and a deduction of three points. Come June 2006 and, with the finances suddenly dire, the brothers took Crawley into administration, leading to an automatic deduction of 10 points, before selling the club. A year on, and more "financial irregularities" led to a three-point deduction. And before the start of last season, the Conference imposed a six-point punishment for "bringing the league into disrepute". On each occasion, Crawley managed to avoid relegation, finishing 17th, 18th and 15th. This season, with a new consortium having taken over, they were challenging Burton and Histon at the top of the table but have now lost four more points for playing an ineligible player, the former Arsenal striker Isaiah Rankin. Rankin was signed last summer amid much fanfare by Crawley's manager, Steve Evans, whom Boston United fans will remember as having been suspended from football for 20 months after an FA inquiry into contract irregularities at the club in 2002. Meanwhile, Azwar Majeed will next month stand trial on eight charges including allegedly stealing more than £1.4 million, evading tax and perverting the course of justice; he denies all the charges. Last year he received a jail sentence for sending someone else to do his community service after he was found guilty of assault.

Hatters needing peak form

In the circumstances, it would be ironic if Crawley still made it to the Football League and replaced Luton Town, who have been firm favourites for relegation since receiving a 30-point deduction this season. Luton last week finally knocked off those points, but statistics from the past 10 seasons suggest that to finish out of the bottom two places they will need to take 45 points from 23 games in the second half of the season, which is promotion form; only the leaders, Wycombe, managed it in the first half of the campaign.

No sign of wobbly finances

And finally... the credit crunch does not appear to be bothering Crystal Palace supporters. The club have shifted more than 200 tickets at £80 a head to hear Bruce Grobbelaar address a Sportsman's Dinner at the Croydon Hilton later this month. Expect questions on failed allegations of match-fixing, the wobbly-legs routine in the European Cup final and a less successful FA Cup semi-final which ended Liverpool 3, Crystal Palace 4.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone