Sunday, 5 September 2010

Here's to the Ewes and the Rams - Sutton United and Croydon Athletic

Ok, strictly speaking the title of this post isn’t quite right, what with Sutton’s nickname being the U’s, but I just couldn’t help myself.

Anyway, through the modern wonder that is Twitter I managed to follow our game yesterday against Billericay.

It wasn’t that long ago that, if I couldn’t make it to a match, then I’d have to try and catch a glimpse of the score on BBC’s Final Score, or Sky Sports’ Gillette Soccer Saturday. But yesterday, I was able to sit on the train and check our progress at regular intervals via Twitter on my mobile phone.

An early Tweet brought with it news that Bradley Woods-Garness had put us ahead as we looked to continue our good work from our clash with Tooting last Monday. Despite not being able to attend the match, I gather we didn’t have things all our own way, with Billericay hitting our crossbar. However, not only did we manage to see the remainder of the game out to claim three more valuable points, but we also kept yet another clean sheet.

I think Tuesday night’s battle at Hastings will be a real test of our early season form. They sit lurking in our shadows, currently occupying fourth sport as the league table has an intriguing look about it already. Kingstonian are right being us in second with Lowestoft in third – all top three sides having won four out of their first five games. Check it out for yourself http://www.suttonunited.net/firstteam_table.php

As if three points and another clean sheet wasn’t enough, the National Non-League Day initiative I’ve been barking on about drew in an extra 200 fans to Gander Green Lane. The attendance was 733, which is very encouraging for a small club such as Sutton United, and the extra revenue that generates is vital.

Elsewhere in the Ryman League Premier Division today, Croydon Athletic suffered a home defeat to Concord Rangers. They are a club in real trouble and, as a fan of football, I don’t like to see other clubs in meltdown. Manager Tim O’Shea has now left the club and, with the season just over two weeks old, what promised to be an exciting season for O’Shea and his team, has already turned into a nightmare. An old pal of mine supports the Rams and he really is crestfallen by the events off the field and the way his club has been run by Mazhar Majeed. The News of the World hits the streets in a few hours and although I don’t read that particular paper, I wonder if there’ll be yet more revelations to come.

Before arriving home tonight, I nipped into the Old Bank pub in Sutton for a swift pint and was amazed to see a poster advertising the arrival of the FA Cup at that very pub next Wednesday night. Not only that, but there will be a question and answer session with for Crystal Palace and England midfielder, Geoff Thomas, and ESPN presenter Ray Stubbs. I’d had a busy day of it, but I almost had to rub my eyes in disbelief. Apparently it’s all to do with ESPN’s coverage of the Cup this season and word on the grapevine is that there’ll be some cameras at Gander Green Lane next Saturday when we hit the Wembley trail against Alton Town.

Of course, Sutton’s name is synonymous with the Cup and I have a feeling our hero from the win over Coventry City in 1989, Matthew Hanlan, may well be there on Wednesday too. We must be careful though, we’ve enjoyed a good few days in the FA Cup sunshine over the years, so we must treat Alton with the utmost respect next Saturday.

Anyway, it’s time I scuttled off and opened that bottle of Hoegaarden which has been in the fridge for the past week. There’s plenty to celebrate today; a win for the U’s, a clean sheet and a bigger than usual crowd...oh, and while I’m about it, I’ll raise a glass to the Rams of Croydon too.

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