Friday, 17 September 2010

The Alton Aftermath...

Is it safe to come out yet?

It’s been almost a week since our atrocious FA Cup exit at the hands of Alton Town and I’ve spent the entire time at home with the curtains closed. As a matter of fact, I have barely made it out from under my duvet. Did that really happen? Well, the harsh, cold light of this autumn day tells me it truly did.

Crikey, what a difference a week makes in football. Seven days ago we had just edged a five-goal thriller at Hastings, to continue our fine start to the season and all in the Gander Green Lane garden was looking rosie...then, cue the record scratching...

Now, not only are we out the cup, but now there’s talk of our beloved leader leaving. Yep, that’s right, Paul Doswell has said he might walk out on the club. Thankfully, he only said he would leave if Sutton fail to gain promotion this season, which is nothing new to us supporters.

When he arrived at the club, Dos was like a breath of fresh air. We were having a pretty tough time of it after a string of managers couldn’t halt our descent back into the dark realms of the Isthmian League.

We had become awfully stale under John Rains, not only as a team, but also as a club. I was fully prepared to give Ian Hazel a chance but soon realised, like many others, that, perhaps he couldn’t cut it as our boss. I was bitterly disappointed when we appointed Ernie Howe as manager as I felt, rightly or wrongly, our club was trying to get out of the mire on the cheap, and I was gutted when Jimmy Dack didn’t take over. But, Dos, was brimming with self-confidence which, thankfully, penetrated the inner sanctum of the boardroom, so Bruce Elliot and his brigade of wise old suits decided to take a punt on him.

Ok, this may seem like a bit of shameless hero worship, but I don’t care. Dos not only thinks about the game which takes place on the field, but also what makes the club, as a whole, tick. He’s a businessman and had a great track record with Eastleigh, so he must have brought a good few ideas to the table when he got the Sutton job. I’ve never met him, but I’m guessing he’s a good talker. After all, he’s convinced a fair few players to travel up from the Hampshire coast and surrounds to come and join us over the last couple of years.

I think he’s great for our club. Obviously, I would love to see us go up at the end of the season and continue under his stewardship to have a crack in the Blue Square South. That has to be the aim.

In short, I don’t think Dos is going anywhere. Perhaps it was just a reaction to his frustration at the Alton result or just a newspaper trying to benefit from an eye-catching headline, but I’m sure, with us having won five out of six league games, Dos is eager to kick-on from our good early season form.

The boss didn’t waste time in wielding his axe following Saturday’s result, with both Tom Dunford and Jerson Dos Santos being shown the door. I know several supporters I’ve spoken to had high hopes for these youngsters. But, in Dunford’s case, he’s probably better off being closer to the south coast, and Dos Santos failed to live up to great expectations. In my view, Dos has made the right decision. I mean, how many chances can you keep giving a player?

This Saturday we find ourselves without a game. We were due to play Croydon Athletic in what would have been a much-anticipated clash, but obviously events have taken a nasty turn for the Rams. I don’t like to see a club go under, and hopefully they won’t, but if I’m being selfish, then I hope we might benefit from their downfall and sign one or two of their players. Well, if we don’t, then other clubs will only be too happy to take advantage of the situation.

No doubt, a number of clubs are watching the situation like hawks, ready and waiting to swoop should some of their better players become available. Anyway, the good news for the Rams is their game at Aveley appears to be going ahead next weekend, so with any luck, they’ll be up and running again.

The break might just be a good thing as it gives Dos a chance to take stock, help the team regain focus and overcome injury concerns. Hopefully, come Tuesday night when we take to the field against Harrow, we'll be up for it once again as we get back to the all-important business of winning league matches.

Finally, I emerged from my deep slumber to find that news of our poor result had almost been overshadowed by the other big story of the week. Our mascot, Jenny the Giraffe is entering the Mascot Grand National at Huntingdon racecourse. It's a bold step for such a fledgling mascot, but if I was to stick my neck out then I would say it’s a tall order to ask her to come home with the title.

Ok, I hear you. That’s enough puns for now...

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