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Regional editor wins national award for coverage of club’s troubled season

Mark DunfordA regional editor has won a national award for his football coverage.

Crawley Observer editor Mark Dunford, who also serves as publisher National World’s head of sport in Sussex, scored The Real EFL and Lower League Look’s League One/League Two Journalist of the Year title.

Mark, pictured, won the prize, given by football news websites The Real EFL and Lower League Look, for his coverage of Crawley Town Football Club after being nominated by supporter Stephen Dimmock.

He had covered Town’s April 2022 takeover by WAGMI United, a US consortium which made its money on cryptocurrency and NFTs.

Within the first couple of weeks of taking over, the consortium suspended manager John Yems after allegations of discriminatory language used against players. He later left the club and was found guilty of 11 of the charges by the FA.

Town then had a poor season in League Two which has seen them hire five managers and are currently only two points above the relegation zone.

Praising Mark’s coverage, the judges said: “What a season this man has had.

“Some of the stuff he’s had to cover whilst essentially having doors closed and one word answers his way from the club he covers, but he never complained. Top man, thoroughly deserved.”

Mark joined National World forerunner Johnston Press in 1999 as deputy sports editor at the Eastbourne Herald before moving to Crawley in 2004.

He said: “It’s great to win the award. It’s been a crazy season covering Crawley Town but in a way a journalist’s dream.

“So much happening on and off the pitch. There have been real challenges with the John Yems situation and the club and the owners going radio silent at times but it has been enjoyable and we just hope they stay up this season for another exciting League Two season.”

The award was initially nominated and voted for by fans on Twitter before going to a panel which included journalists from across the country.