Thursday, 2 September 2010

Tooting and Mitcham 0 Sutton United 3, Tom Dunford and Croydon Athletic in trouble

Unlike former Southampton manager Alan Pardew, the U’s go marching on. Goals from Mr Jolly Esquire, Fola Orilonishe and Bradley Woods-Garness in our last two outings have put us top of the tree, while ex-Saints’ boss Pardew has been shown the door at St Mary’s Stadium.

Hopefully, whoever takes over that job will be as accommodating to Paul Doswell as Pardew was because that relationship became very beneficial to our club. Not only did they help us out at short notice during pre-season and brought a decent-sized crowd into Gander Green Lane, but we’ve managed to acquire a player who might be going places in the not too distant future in the shape of Tom Dunford.

But, hold on, the latest news suggests that Pardew is one of the names in the hat for the Aston Villa job. You’ve got to love football’s mad managerial merry-go-round, haven’t you. I’m sure Villa can do better than letting Pardew take the helm at Villa Park, and I wouldn't mind betting Pardew will be back in a decent job soon.

Anyhow, back to the matter in hand. It may not have rained goals as such over the weekend, but the sun was certainly shining on us as we edged past Folkestone Invicta and brushed aside Tooting and Mitcham. As a result, we now find ourselves sitting pretty in first place. Of course, there are still plenty of miles left in this race yet, but for the time being at least, the Ryman League Premier Division table makes for satisfying reading for Sutton supporters across the land.

I made my first visit of the season to a Sutton game at Tooting and was rewarded with an excellent performance from the boys. Given the chances we missed, three-nil seemed to be just about the right result. We gave them a couple of decent opportunities to score, but equally, we could have won by a wider margin, having hit the woodwork on a couple of occasions and created some other decent openings.

My dad made it along to the game too. He arrived after Jolly had given us the lead and then left a minute or so before Woods-Garness hit our third. His aim, on departure, was ‘to beat the crowd’. I couldn’t help but think that Imperial Fields on local derby day is not exactly Wembley Stadium on Cup Final day. Apparently twenty minutes later he was sat at a packed bus stop near the ground awaiting the arrival of the 280, so he’d have been better off joining me and my pals in the bar after the game for a celebratory pint of or two.

I sat watching the TV for a bit in the clubhouse, checking out the Blue Square Premier results. To my surprise, the breaking story on Sky Sports News wasn’t our fine win at Tooting, but rather this strange sentence: PAKISTAN ARRIVE IN TAUNTON. Crikey, so a touring cricket team arrives in one of the towns where it’ll be playing a match. That’s like saying: CHELSEA ARRIVE AT OLD TRAFFORD. Please tell me that last sentence has never been on the Sky Sports ticker.

Recently, Sky Sports News, with its over-the-top way of presenting and reporting on selected sports, has been taken off Freeview and I can’t say I am disappointed. I have certainly had enough of their rather sensationalist method of reporting.

Then I almost had to rub my eyes in disbelief, were they really reporting live from Colston Avenue, the home of our dear friends at Carshalton Athletic...yes, they were! It took a minute or so to kick in before I realised it was all to do with the events off the field at their opponents of the day, Croydon Athletic, who have been i n the news because they are owned by Mazhar Majeed, the chap at the centre of the current cricket betting scandal.

I have to say that I’m not surprised that Croydon are in such dire straits. A club who can entice a player from a newly promoted Premiership side to come and play in front of one Rams’ fan and his dog has got to raise plenty of suspicion as well as a few eyebrows. I will be interested to see how Crawley Town get on in the coming months having just forked out a large fee for York City’s Richard Brodie.

The financial disarray which a lot of clubs in the Football League have found themselves in is sadly being replicated across the non-league scene. The list of clubs who have chased the dream by spending beyond their means or have just generally been run badly is getting longer with every passing week. All of a sudden Crawley has money to splash around. I just hope, for the sake of the fans, that their rise isn’t followed by an almighty fall like the one which happened at Boston United when they had a certain Steve Evans in charge.

Wherever you may be, I'd be interested to know what you guys think, about the greed in football, in not just the higher echelons of the game, but in non-league and in sport in general.

Without wanting to appear smug in any way, all this talk about football finance makes me glad I support such a well run club as Sutton United. I think the sale of Charlie Taylor to Barnet has been a good bit of business. With an undisclosed fee, a small sell-on clause and a pre-season game lined-up for next season then it seems like a good deal all round. He can be a real handful on his day, and who knows, he might just do a decent job for the Bees.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that the first National Non-League Day might see a bigger than usual crowd down at Gander Green Lane. It would be nice if the boys can rise to the challenge and beat Billericay, who sit in eighth at present. With the chance to impress some potential new support, this is not just an important game in terms of our league aspirations.

Before I sign off for now, I just want to share a little tale from the Tooting clubhouse. A pal of mine went to the bar to order a round of drinks and asked if she could pay with her cash card. She was promptly told they don’t accept card payments. This wasn’t right, I should know, I’d bought the previous round with my card, albeit the smaller bar. Anyhow, when my friend pointed the barmaid in the direction of a sign on the wall which read something along the lines of ‘WE ACCEPT CARD PAYMENTS’ she was told, and I quote ‘well, it’s like the papers, innit? You shouldn’t believe everything you read’. Thankfully my persistent pal won this minor battle and we enjoyed our second celebratory pint.

That’s enough of writing in capital letters for one week, CHEERS for now ...