Speedie quickly enhances his reputation

Non-League Notebook
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The Independent Online
RUPERT METCALF

David Speedie, the former Chelsea, Liverpool and Scotland striker, is embarking on a new career challenge with Crawley Town of the Beazer Homes League. The 35-year-old's combative on-field presence has helped the Sussex club gain maximum points from their two Premier Division games to date - but he has not lost his reputation for bad behaviour.

Speedie was often in trouble with referees during his League career and, in the closing stages of Crawley's 2-1 win at Sudbury Town on Tuesday, he sinned once more. He reacted angrily to being fouled, and was sent off.

"We'll try to appeal against the sending-off," Colin Pates, Crawley's player-manager, said. "Speedie didn't head-butt the player, as has been claimed."

Despite this incident, Pates is delighted with his new recruit. "Just having him on the pitch lifts the whole team," said Pates, who played with Speedie at Chelsea and signed him after a knee injury sustained playing for Leicester City ended his career in top-flight football.

Speedie is not the only former international to make an appearance on the non-League scene this season. Mark Aizlewood, who was still playing for Wales last season, has taken on the challenge of resurrecting Merthyr Tydfil's playing fortunes following his release from Cardiff City. The 35-year-old defender is the new player-coach at Merthyr, who are now in the Beazer Homes League.

Peter Davenport, once of Manchester United, Nottingham Forest and England, has joined the GM Vauxhall Conference club Southport following his return from a spell playing in Scotland. He made his debut in last Saturday's 5-2 win at Slough Town. Also joining the ranks of Conference players is Nicky Reid, the former Manchester City and England Under-21 defender, who has signed for Woking.

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