Monday, 2 April 2012

Sutton United blog: John Rains, Terry McDermott and Paul Doswell

Much has happened since I last jotted a few lines about all matters Sutton United, so I am going to make up for lost time and have a bit of a catch up.

Just pretend you're spending five minutes with one of those red-faced old soaks you get talking to in one of Sutton's two Wetherspoons pubs.

The Amber and Chocolates have played 22 matches since my last post in December, losing only three - to Woking, Eastleigh and Dartford.

They've consolidated their place in the Blue Square South play-off positions and progressed to within 17 minutes of the Surrey Senior Cup Final before the lights at Corinthian Casuals literally went out.

Yes, we've come a long way since Paul Doswell's first league game in charge of Sutton back at Harlow on August 16, 2008. We've secured two Ryman Premier League play-off finishes and a league title as well as three FA Cup runs, and look set to land a play-off berth yet again, despite the step up a level.

Doswell is God in my eyes. He literally can't get any higher praise than that.

Since my last post players have come and gone and a true club legend, John Rains, has sadly passed away.

I took an instant liking to Rainsy when I first started watching the Amber and Chocolates back in 1980.

Not only was he club captain - making him a figure to respect without question - but he also sported a fantastic bushy moustache and would soon be the latest entrant into my autograph book which included Diana Dorrs after her visit to Allders department store in Sutton.

Other noteable entrants over the years were as follows: The Wimbledon squad of 1986, magician Ali Bongo, QPR's legendary goalkeeper Peter Hucker and my mate Steve from across the road who set aside a whole page for himself then simply wrote 'To Amber Rambler, from Steve'.

I was desperate to grow a moustache like JR but I was still at an age where Action Man, Kiss Chase and Atari games consoles where higher up my list of my priorities.

To be honest, I still love to play Kiss Chase when I get the chance.

Any rate, all my heroes during those formative years sported moustaches. Here, in no particular order, is a rundown of my hairy heroes:

10 Bruce Grobelaar
9 Phil Defreitas
8 Ian Botham
7 Graeme Souness
6 Cliff Thorburn
5 Alan Lamb
4 Tom Selleck
3 Chewbacca
2 Ian Botham
1 Terry McDermott

I also liked John Cleese, Matthew Kelly and Ricardo Montez who played the Spanish student in 1970s sitcom Mind Your Language.

In later years I took a shine to US talk show host Montel Williams, he was cooler than cool, but there was no denying that Terry McDermott was my number one.

I couldn't believe my luck when my new-found team had a player who was as close in looks to McDermott as I could get.

Apart from Swap Shop minx Maggie Philbin, crime-cracking crumpet Glynis Barber of Dempsey and Makepeace, and Hollywood hottie Farah Fawcett-Majors, I loved Terry McDermott.

Fall in love with him yourself by watching these two video clips. The footage may be a bit dodgy but marvel at the Kop crowd surge when he scores his first goal and watch out for a wonder goal at Tottenham.

Terry McDermott had class, a gold chain, a perm and a bushy moustache - what more do you want from a player?

Oooh, before I move on, here's another classic McDermott goal in the list of contenders for the 1980/81 goal of the season competition - the season John Rains entered my world.

John Rains had class, a perm, a gold chain and a big bushy moustache, meaning he ticked as many boxes for me as the Liverpool legend, and better still, he was captain of my local team.

Sadly the perm wasn't a permanent fixture for JR but his class most definitely was.

I have a lot to thank him for, not least the time he made the 278.54 mile journey home (according to the RAC) from Scarborough in 1987 more bearable by nicking a late leveller for Sutton in an FA Trophy clash just as I had given up hope and was edging towards the exit with my hands in my pockets.

Rainsy's goal allowed me to dream about Wembley for a bit longer which was great because I wanted the Amber and Chocolates to get to the famous Twin Towers above all else.

Sutton lost the replay a few days later but at least the journey home only took 15 minutes.

JR typified the Sutton team of the 1980s - the team I grew up with. He led the side out at Wembley in 1981 and led them into uncharted territory in the GM Vauxhall Conference. He was strong, vocal, a great defender, a handy striker and the kind of guy a manager like Barrie Williams would build his team around before the big man himself went on to build Sutton teams of his own, notably in 1999 and 2005.

We'll all miss Rainsy and his moustache.

Since Sutton played Notts County I have to confess I've only seen three games, and one of them was Godalming Town v Walton Casuals.
As I stagger out of the clubhouse for the
second half all eyes are on Godalming Town's
game with Walton Casuals who, I was told,
had just scored twice.

Walton won 2-0 with goals in the 46th and 50th minutes. Unfortunately I missed both of them while finishing a pint of John Smiths in the clubhouse.

I did see Sutton's win over Havant and Waterlooville (2-0) and the draw (1-1) against Eastbourne Borough but the latter was a test of endurance that Bear Grylls would have been proud of.

I watched the game wearing a pair of wet socks after I'd walked onto a soaking bathroom floor before dashing off to get the bus to Gander Green Lane. It was only once I was on the bus that I realised the extent to which my socks were sopping.

I really don't recommend it to the thrill-seekers among you, it's not a pleasant experience. Stick to base jumping or wingsuit flying.

Not sure what wingsuit flying is? Google it. You'll all be at it soon.

The Amber and Chocolates have responded well to their 6-1 demolition at Dartford with two consecutive clean sheets to keep the points tally ticking over.

Two 0-0 draws at both Welling and Hampton and Richmond are not to be sniffed at, even if they did make for two relatively boring Saturday afternoons following proceedings on Twitter.

We're at the business end of the season now and we'll soon find out what the team that Dos built is made of. If you ask me, they've done bloody well so far.


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