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The Alex are our next opponents to go under the microscope

10 August 2017

Crewe Alexandra are the latest team to go under the spotlight as we continue our look at this season’s opponents.

Nicknames: The Railwaymen, The Alex

Club Colours: Red

Who are they?

Crewe Alexandra were founded in 1877 and were founding members of the Second Division in 1892. Their stay lasted only four seasons, but they regained their Football League status in 1921.

It took until 1963 for Crewe to achieve their first promotion, and they really kicked on following the appointment of Dario Gradi in 1983. Gradi quickly set about developing youth talent and lifted the side to Division One in 1997 after a play-off victory.

Dario Gradi

They remained in the second tier until 2002 when they suffered relegation, only to bounce straight back up the following year. Relegation from the then-renamed Championship came in 2006, with the club since bouncing between the third and fourth tiers.

Did You Know?

+ The ‘Alexandra’ in the club’s name comes from Princess Alexandra, the Queen of England at the time of their formation.

+ Crewe’s first cup success actually came in the Welsh Cup, which they won in 1936 and 1937 before being banned from the competition.


+ In 1995, the Railwaymen went 56 games without winning away from home, until a 1-0 win at Southport stopped the rot.

How did they get on last season?

Having been relegated from League One in 2015/16, many expected Crewe to be challenging at the top end of the table last season. But they struggled early on, with manager Steve Davis sacked in January with the side sitting 19th. David Artell took over and lifted Crewe to an eventual 17th place finish - nine points clear of relegation.

Steve Davis

Who’s in charge?

An experienced centre back in his playing days, David Artell took his first steps into management when he took over the reins at Gresty Road in January. His playing career saw him turn out for Rotherham United, Mansfield Town and Morecambe amongst others, while Artell also made 70 appearances for Crewe during a two-year spell at the club.

David Artell

He ended his career at Droylsden, combining his later playing days with a role in the academy at Crewe. Following the departure of Steve Davis, he was appointed manager and lifted the side clear of relegation.

How has their summer transfer business looked?

Despite losing two of their promising youngsters in Ollie Turton and Jon Guthrie, Crewe have been busy bringing in some quality additions over the summer.

Michael Raynes

Michael Raynes swapped Brunton Park for Gresty Road, and is joined by the experienced Chris Porter and Eddie Nolan. Brad Walker was snapped up for an undisclosed fee from Hartlepool United, with striker Jordan Bowery also putting pen to paper on a permanent deal after a loan last season.

They’ve Played For Both

Goalkeeper Ben Williams made the move to Cumbria in 2008 after a spell with Crewe Alexandra. The former Manchester United youngster joined Crewe in 2004, initially on loan, before making the move permanent. He made 125 appearances during four years with the Railwaymen before moving to Brunton Park. Williams played only 31 times for the Blues before moving on to Colchester.

Ben Williams

Current Blues’ Shaun Miller and Mark Ellis have also both spent time at Crewe in their careers.

Memorable Meeting - Carlisle 4-2 Crewe (16 August 2008)

In their first home game of the League One season, United registered a comprehensive win which saw them top the table at an early stage. Danny Graham netted twice in four minutes to hand the Blues the lead, before Chris McCready reduced the deficit. Second half strikes from Scott Dobie and Simon Hackney then put the game out of sight, with Tom Pope’s late goal only a consolation.

When Did We Last Meet?

Crewe visited Brunton Park in March of this year and ran out 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Callum Cooke and loanee Jordan Bowery.

See below for highlights of the 1-1 away draw from last season at Gresty Road:

When Do We Meet Next?

We make the trip to Gresty Road on 23 September, while the Railwaymen travel to Brunton Park on 13 January.

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