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Well the roof has blown off the train station in Crewe and it’s pandemonium up North. With the rain still gushing down, BillytheBee catches up with Dave Tomlinson (@crewealexfan) – train driver for Arriva trains Wales, FSF national rep for the North West and North Wales and Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO) for Crewe Alexandra – about Wembley, poaching Clayton Donaldson and the weather … As you do

So the question everyone wants to know in a West London is … Is the roof of Crewe station currently lodged in the centre circle of Gretsy Road?

Ha ha no problems there at the moment apart from a few missing pitch sponsorship boards. Crewe Station had to shut because of lots of glass dropping from the roof but all seems good now unless more bad weather appears. Apart from that Crewe town suffered with just trees getting blown down and luckily no injuries.

It’s been pretty grim up there and untold games have been called off up and down the country. How is the Gretsy Road pitch holding out?

The pitch to be far looks rough and we spend lots of money on it each year but it doesn’t seem to improve. The main problems have stemmed from building the big new stand. But the pitch does drain well so as long as not torrential rain on Saturday morning or a big frost below minus 3 we should fingers crossed be fine. If the ref gets out of bed the wrong side that may change things .. only joking haha

We had an abandoned trip to Sheffield finding out the game was off whilst in the middle of our pie and ale lunch in Kelham Island. Bees fans obviously won’t want another wasted journey on Saturday. What’s your unofficial vibe. We won’t hold you to it of course.

The forecast is for lots of rain over night and strong wind. It depends on what time this ceases. If it stops during the night I’m hopeful

What was your first game ?

Versus aldershot in 1976 and I can say when the Alex have you by the balls they never let go haha

You’re flirting just above the relegation zone with the worst goal difference in the league (-24). Can you pull clear so you think?

Since mid December we have massively improved. Certain players’ attitudes have improved. Players have come back from injury and we spent wisely on a couple of loan players, so hopefully you should see a different performance than you saw at Griffin Park.

Between the start of the season and December at times it was at best abject and hard work going to the games. Honestly we have improved but we can still make silly mistakes in defence. I’m just hoping the boys are on their game between now and the end of the season, because there is no doubt we are in a relegation dogfight. But I’m very hopeful their are 4 teams worse than ourselves at the end of the season.

From Dario Gradi days all the way through to now, Crewe have always had a reputation for developing quality players. You gave us both Clayton Donaldson and Gary Blissett. And if I remember rightly, we also turned down the opportunity to take David Platt back in the day. Don’t you get p@ssed off with other teams constantly poaching the players you develop?

Strangely all Crewe fans love seeing our talent moving on and playing in higher leagues. Admittedly there are the odd one or two who leave a sour taste in our mouths, Rob Savage and Gareth Walleye to name a couple.

So who are the latest bunch of young starlets that we should be looking out for?

Probably the current keeper Ben Garrett, and we don’t normally produce keepers, so that’s pleasing. Liam Nolan, Billy Waters and George Ray. But honestly if you ever watch our young teams It blows your mind how much quality we have we have. I only hope they all progress through.

Wembley 1997. Boiling hot day. Has to be one of the worst cup finals in living history that. And for us yet another disappointment losing the playoff final. We didn’t turn up that day. In fact … We don’t turn up for any cup final.

As a Crewe fan I have been to Wembley supporting the railwaymen 4 times. We have lost once and won 3 times. I’m sure I’m like any fan each trip to the capital leaves ever lasting memories, the brentford game was possibly the most emotional game I have ever been too. So many grown men shedding tears at the end of the game because we honestly never thought we would see crewe in the championship and we didn’t do too bad with the big boys.

The two recent trips were massive shocks as we came from nowhere to get there. The manager Steve Davis deserves so much credit for getting us to Wembley. Although deep down you want to win every game I was just glad to be there and was happy with that so winning both games is a dream.

After both games the club opened the ground for all, opened the bar and welcomed all fans to celebrate. They also arranged for the players with the trophies to come down and we all let our hair down. They were both stunning stunning nights and I think there are YouTube clips still about to remind anyone including some players who celebrated too much haha.

You are the SLO for Crewe. I have to be totally honest, probably 99% of Brentford fans would have no idea what an SLO is and what you do. Give us a quick low down.

A Supporters liaison officer should be the primary link between football supporters and clubs, football authorities and the police and associated groups. All premier and football league clubs have to have someone in that position that is mandatory.

The position is a rewarding and time consuming and it certainly isn’t just a match day role. But at times it is a tough position to hold because to be doing the role correctly you can never be on the supporters’ side all the time. Nor can you be on the clubs’ side all the time.

At times you can even find yourself between two sets of supporters of your own club involving an issue because different sides want different things ie the pyro issue at present.

To do the job right you must have some kind of respect and help from all sides, and very importantly have experience of being a supporter of the club in lots of ways certainly being a home and away fan. I think is imperative you must attend most games home and away and be with the fans because that’s mainly when you can mix and speak with them.

But you must have the ability to contact the relevant people within the club immediately to sort issues and at times this could mean the chairman or chief exec. With the above in mind I believe the best person for this position must come from the fans but at present not many clubs are heading down that road. To name a few Crewe, Wigan, Scunthorpe and Doncaster have appointed from the fans.

For the position to work completely at clubs, fan involvement needs to happen in the role. Maybe clubs fans can in the future ask questions about this to improve the situation

So is your job basically to make it an easier and a better experience for away fans travelling to Crewe.

Certainly part of the job is to try and make it an easier and better experience for ALL supporters coming through the turnstiles at Crewe. But this really is only part of the job.

The mantre must be for an SLO help make everything better for all football supporters. Whether that be in the ground, travelling to and from the stadium or just dealing with clubs.

So can any fans contact you if they have any queries or need help?

Definately that is one of main parts of the role.

How do fans get hold of you and other SLOs and your information? Is there a twitter or a website?

At Crewe we have our own email addy which is [email protected] or call us on 01270 213014 ext 100. We also have a section on the club website informing supporters who we are and what we are and where to find us in person prematch.

For other club SLOs have a look at the SLO section of www.fsf.org.uk or just contact the club and ask for them.

And any specific advice for the Bees game?

Firstly I’m afraid there is no alcahol available to away fans inside the ground sorry. I am working to improve this situation but it will not be fixed for your visit.

Locally to the ground there is a wide selection away fan friendly pubs and eating establishments on Nantwich road on the same road as the station. Further away if you like real ale there is the Borough Arms on Earl St about a 25 min walk close to the town centre. The station is only 5 mins walk away.

Head to head, Crewe are just shading it winning 17 games to the Bees’ 16 with 8 games drawn. Can Crewe maintain their lead?

I’m really hoping so but we need to be on top form and possibly have a bit of luck. I think there will be goals

Give us a score prediction

3-2 to crewe

Give us a 1, 2, playoff prediction …. and a relegation quartet prediction.

I think the top six will finish in the too six with Brentford and Wolves as top two and Rotherham up in play offs.

Bottom 4 is gonna be tight but I think and hope it will be Stevenage, Shrewsbury, Crawley and Carlisle to go down.

Where do you recommend away fans hang out pre-match?

Unusual boozer is The Borough Arms, Earle St. Near to the ground, awayfans normally go to Bar 7 and the Royal Hotel corner bar.