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Crawley Town's FA Cup run: Focus on the commentator

The FA Cup
This year is the first time Crawley have made the fifth round of the FA Cup

Crawley Town's footballers and supporters are not the only people looking forward to their FA Cup fifth round tie against Manchester United.

BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey commentator John Barnett has been covering the Reds since the start of the 2003/04 season, and has been anticipating the game ever since the draw was made.

"It's easy to say it now, but you almost knew it was going to happen," he said.

"When Manchester United came out you knew it would be Crawley next.

"My excitement as a commentator is different to supporters. You know you're going to get a great view and the media facilities are top quality.

"It'll be more comfortable than Torquay!"

Ahead of this season, the Reds had only beaten one Football League team and had only reach the third round once (overcoming Northampton Town in the first round in 1991/92 before being beaten by Brighton & Hove Albion).

John was expecting a similar story this season.

BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey's Crawley commentator John Barnett
John went to his first Crawley match 20 years ago this month

He continued: "I thought if they could get a replay at Newport County in the fourth qualifying round it would be a decent result.

"Then I thought it would end at Swindon with that cold Tuesday night and the second round replay.

"And to beat Derby was the greatest night in their history."

John's away trips so far this season have included league matches at the likes of Kettering, Histon and Hayes & Yeading.

His previous reporting highlights have been covering the club winning the Southern League title at Welling in 2004 and Crawley's LDV Vans Trophy defeat at Gillingham the next year.

"I've commentated at some big ground before but they've never been particularly full.

Wayne Rooney
John cannot wait to commentate on the likes of Manchester United and England forward Wayne Rooney

"To commentate at one of the biggest clubs in the world is surreal.

"Even if they pick their second string team, to commentate on the likes of Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney will be awe-inspiring."

John cannot wait for Crawley's team to run out at Old Trafford.

"I want to cut out all the build-up and get the game underway," he added.

"The moment I want to jump to is ten past five on that evening.

"The fact it's an evening kick-off means the floodlights will be on and it will be pretty special.

"I'm looking forward to it immensely."

BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey are bringing you build up to the Manchester United v Crawley Town FA Cup tie all week, culminating with full live commentary of the match on the radio and for UK internet users.

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