Sunday, 26 December 2010

Sutton United blog: David Seaman's ponytail, Kenny Sansom, Carshalton Athletic and X Factor winner Matt Cardle

Well, thank crikey that's over.

Christmas was good, thanks for asking. There was plenty of booze, sleep, booze, presents, booze, sleep, booze, chocolate, booze and booze.

I was definitely in Santa's good books this year. Not only have I been rewarded with some Old Spice, a new dressing gown, some argyle socks, a jar of Werther's Original and some Just For Men, but my team also pipped X Factor's Matt Cardle to the number one spot in the Ryman Premier League Christmas charts. Many thanks to Dos and the boys for their efforts this season, may 2011 be even better.

Second best: Matt Cardle was beaten to the number one spot for 2010 by Sutton United.

I am writing this on Boxing Day evening and, to be honest, I don't hold out much hope that our derby day ding-ding with Carshalton Athletic will go ahead. That means no Twickenham Naked Ladies, no Carshalton pub crawl and no three points. Balls.

I hope I'm wrong and the match is on. Oh well, I suspect my old pal Ten will tap me up for some other alcohol related fun and games, so come what may we'll have a good day tomorrow.

Any rate, on to the crux of today's post...

How We Used To Live #2

Remember the other week when I mentioned I found some old Sutton United stuff while having a bit of a tidy up? No? Well nevermind. Any rate, one of the programmes I found was one from a home match against Carshalton Athletic in the Ryman Premier League (RPL) from 27th December 1997.

Of course, back then we secretly harboured dreams that the mighty Us would be setting the Football League alight by now. But hey ho, we now find ourselves back in the cuddly embrace of the dear old RPL after flirtations with the Conference and Conference South and will once again be doing battle with the Robins. Bugger.

I just hope that in December 2023 I won't be writing about our up-coming clash with Carshalton in the Ryman Premier League. If I am, then I will pack it all in and move to Muckle Flugga lighthouse to live a simple, solitary existence.

So what did you get for your £1.20 back in 1997?

The front cover wouldn't win any design awards, that's for sure. As it was our centenary season you'd have thought there would be a treasure trove of pictures to choose from. But no, all we had on the front cover were words, words, words. Thank crikey we've got Paul Loughlin snapping away these days.

On the plus side, on page nine, there was a cracking advert for Icis Sportswear featuring former England internationals Neil Webb and Kenny Sansom who were wearing Aldershot and Croydon kits respectively.

The team line-ups on the back page make for interesting reading. Sutton's frontline  featured those lethal predators Joff Vansittart and Nassim Arkrour, while the Robins had folk singer Richard Thompson and that curious troll-like creature and former Sutton man Neil Robson pencilled in to play for them.

In goal for Sutton that day was Carshalton legend Les Cleevely whose ponytail in the early-to-mid-1990s provided the inspiration for fellow goalkeeper David Seaman's much maligned hairstyle when he hit his mid-life crisis.

Aside from Vansittart and Arkrour the Sutton squad boasted another lethal marksman in Dominic Feltham who had netted 148 goals in 311 matches for the Us at that time.

What's his name? If only he'd had shorter hair we'd know the answer to that. I think it's David Seaman. Les Cleevely would be proud.

The RPL was so competitve back then that it took a team from two towns to top the table at Christmas in 1997. The Us were in second place having just won 2-0 at league leaders Dagenham and Redbridge. Kingstonian were five points behind us at that time having played a game more.

Other opponents who we crossed swords with back then included Enfield, Aylesbury United and Purfleet. Remember them? Enfield of course were old adversaries of ours for many years and we also enjoyed some exciting tussles with Aylesbury, most memorably in 1988 and 1999. Non-league football is the poorer for the demise of both of these clubs.

As for Purfleet. Well, call them Purfleet, call them Thurrock, call them what you will, it just sounds like a venue for darts rather than football. Dullsville I'd call it. That said, I'd be more than happy to play Dullsville next season if they don't go down.

A quick look around other divisions saw Halifax Town top of the Conference, Hampton led Ryman Division One ahead of Grays Athletic and Aldershot Town, while Canvey Island topped Ryman Division Two with Met Police, Braintree Town and Wealdstone hot on their heels.

Sutton triumphed over Carshalton 3-1 that day and went on to finish third in the league on 78 points behind champions Kingstonian (87) and Boreham Wood (80). Carshalton (48) finished 17th.

Yeading, Hitchin Town and Oxford City were the relegated sides.

Now to the present day and it's time to get our shovels out of the shed. I'm sure we all want the game to be on tomorrow, a re-arranged Christmas fixture just doesn't have the same feel to it. If it is on then I'd settle for a repeat of our 3-1 success from 13 years ago.

Come on you Yellows!


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