Friday, 9 September 2011

Sutton United blog: Paul Telfer, Kevin Scriven and Harry Carpenter

On Tuesday night I was flicking round the TV channels looking for something interesting to watch. I made it as far as ITV1 which was gearing itself up to show highlights of the England versus Wales clash from Wembley.

To be honest, the show shouldn't have taken that long. From what I can remember, the only highlight was that glaring miss from three yards out by Robert Earnshaw. So I skipped on to Channel4 which was showing a rundown of the top 100 testcards of all time featuring comments from a host of non-entities such as former Big Brother winners and other has-beens. It was infinitely more interesting than the football.

In this classic testcard clip a young Paul Dipre can be seen to the right of the chalkboard.

Any rate, what struck me about ITV1's highlights programme last Wednesday was that it really wasn't all that long ago that football fans only had that kind of coverage to look forward to.

I remember tuning into Midweek Sports Special or Sportsnight on Wednesdays when I was a lad and sitting through what seemed like hours of boxing coverage featuring Barry McGuigan, Alan Minter, Terry Marsh, Frank Bruno and Duke McKenzie, before we even got a sniff of the football.

In this clip, the otherwise loveable Sportsnight presenter Harry Carpenter tries to whet your appetite for the late-night feast of sport by telling viewers to expect coverage of football, boxing and skiing. But Carpernter shows a devious side to his nature, what he doesn't tell us is that the running order will be boxing, skiing and only then, will we get to watch any football.

To maintain interest in the show they had to put the football on last so people would sit through it all. This was, of course, in the years before multi-channel TV in this country.

In fact, I blame Sportsnight and Midweek Sports Special for ruining my education, and in doing so, my life. I used to go to sleep bleary-eyed having waited up until midnight to watch coverage of Luton Town against Sheffield Wednesday in the Milk Cup, for example. Before I knew it, the shrill of my alarm clock woke me up just as Popeye was making his daily appearance at 7.25 on TVAM.

As a result of all that, my grades at school were poor and I ended up on the dole.

Thankfully, these days, football coverage is much better, so sitting through dour highlights of England versus Wales is just for those saddos in their mid-50s who still live at home with their parents and sit watching the match surrounded by their ever-growing programme collection.

Of course, the break for the international matches meant only one thing - Non-League Day. Woohoo.

Premier League and Championship fans, whose season tickets gave them free entry to Sutton's game with Dorchester Town, boosted the attendance to a whopping 645 as United picked up another three valuable points.

It's been a mightily impressive return back to the big time for the Amber and Chocolates despite getting walloped by Woking (0-5) on the opening day of the season. Since then results have been good, with four wins, a draw and a defeat.

I had a feeling we might struggle against Woking, but I wasn't expecting that. Thankfully, booze came to my rescue at the final whistle as I headed back into Sutton on a mission to get smashed.

By the time we played Tonbridge Angels the following Tuesday my hangover had just about subsided and by the final whistle it had gone completely after the boys swept the Kent club aside 4-1. There was only one thing for it, a few celebratory pints.

Win or lose I'm on the booze. Well, even if we don't play I'm on the booze.

Further victories against Basingstoke (2-1) and Staines (1-0) meant that Paul Doswell's boys had more than made up for the opening day's almighty mess.

Of course, we can't win them all and ten minutes of madness at Bromley cost us dearly and meant we suffered a 0-3 setback.

However, since then we have reacted well once more and I thought our performance against Dover on Bank Holiday Monday showed real grit and determination. We could have won it, and easily lost it, but for a 0-0 it was a decent advert for the Blue Square South with both goalkeepers earning the post-match plaudits.

The boys built on this well-earned point to come back from 0-1 down at home to Dorchester last Saturday to triumph 3-1 with super-sub Craig Watkins bagging a brace.

It's good to have the likes of Watkins, Harry Beautyman and Romone McCrae to come on and give us a burst of energy for the final half-hour or twenty minutes of a match.It can make all the difference between drawing and winning, as was the case last weekend.

 It's also nice that Dos is looking after the elderly too, giving old timers such as Paul Telfer a runout. Personally, I always feel that Telfer plays better in the second half of his matches. I reckon it's something to do with his half-time packet of Werther's Original.

Sweet tooth: Paul Telfer badgers Wayne Shaw for a Werther's Original as he edges towards the dressing room at half-time against Dorchester. By the time Telfer made it to the tunnel the other players were already coming out for the start of the second half.

Of course, one of the main reasons for getting promoted was to play Truro City. Planes, trains and automobiles are all on standby to take the Sutton faithful down to Cornwall next Saturday.

But, first things first, tomorrow's match. It's not going to be easy, and I'll tell you why, we're playing a team representing TWO towns. I am, of course, talking about Havant and Waterlooville.

You've always got to feel sorry for the second-named town when clubs amalgamate, haven't you? I never think of Mitcham, Ewell, Richmond or Hersham as having football teams.

Any rate, there'll be some guys in our ranks aiming to prove a point against their old club tomorrow, namely Watkins, Tony Taggart and Kevin Scriven.

Thank crikey for Scrivs. Behind our other goalkeeping superhero Wayne Shaw, he is my favourite Sutton player. I love him, and I don't mind telling the world.

If there's one man I want between the sticks as we prepare to do battle against two towns then Scrivs is my man. What a guy. He saves us time and again.

Right, before my eyes start to well-up due the the shear emotion of talking about Scrivs I'd better wrap it up there. Besides, it's 8pm on a Friday and I need to hit the boozer.


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