Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Sutton United blog: Kevin Scriven, Rick Wakeman and Evel Knievel

I hadn't allowed myself the luxury of even considering watching my beloved Amber and Chocolates in the Blue Square South play-offs until last Saturday's match at Salisbury was over.

We may have lost the big match 3-1, we may have had our goalkeeper sent off and we may have limped over the finish line like two tubby tearaways tied together for a junior school three-legged race, but thank crikey, at least we got there.

As that wise old sage Bornatotter said on the fans' forum: 'It's better to limp into the play-offs than limp out of them.'

Kevin Scriven, the Sutton goalkeeper, is my hero. I love the guy.

If all the goalkeepers in Sutton United's 114-year history were to gather at Gander Gander Green Lane for the Great Goalkeeper-Off (excuse the pun, Kev), then Scrivs, Scrivo, Super Scriv, Kevin, Super Kev, Kevo - whatever you'd like to call him - would win the contest hands down (puntastic).

Attendees at the event would include such illustrious names as Dave Collier, Ron Fearon, Gareth Howells, Trevor Roffey, Phil Wilson, Dave Roffey, Les Cleevley, Chris Vagg, Doug Hatcher, Andy Iga, Andy Harris, Rick Collyer, Nicky Sullivan, Wayne Shaw, Fitrzroy McCaulsky and Tony Rains.

Yes, you heard. Tony Rains.

Rains may be better know for his defensive capabilities, but he is elligible for the Great Goalkeeper-Off after his heroic effort at Colchester in 1991 when he took over from the injured Sullivan after something like 15 seconds of the match.

Yes, you heard. Fifteen seconds.

Sutton lost that GM Vauxhall Conference match 1-0 but Rains won many admirers for his performance between the sticks.

However, as great as Super Scrivo is, he's not quite as good as Rick Collyer's beard.

For those who don't know what Rick Collyer looked like in goal for Sutton in the early 1980s (possibly late 70s too?), imagine a young Rick Wakemen swapping his colourful prog-rock attire for a green goalkeeping jersey and dispensing with such new-fangled pieces of equipment as gloves.

Rick Collyer did not need goalkeeping gloves - he was proper old school - although one of life's great unanswered questions, to me at least, will always be: Is it Rick Collier or Rick Collyer?

For the purposes of today's post, it's Collyer.

Any rate, Kevo's dismissal at Salisbury means he'll be inelligible to play for the Amber and Chocolates in the big play-off semi-final second-leg.


However, turning up to such a big occasion without the Scrivertron is no worse than turning up to the school football trials without your football boots on a wet and windy afternoon in September 1981.

That's exactly what I did.

I felt like a right berk.

In my first year since the much-anticipated transfer from infant to junior school I was keen to prove myself at the higher level after having a relatively fruitful few years kicking an airflow ball around the playground.

But my dreams were put on hold when I rummaged through my kit bag to find my shirt and shorts, but no socks or boots. 

I was crestfallen.

There was only one thing for it - blame mum.

Despite having a quivering bottom lip, I managed to put a brave face on the situation.

I went through my usual pre-match routine, putting my white shorts on first, followed by my blue shirt, then my socks and boots, all while chewing a Curly Wurly.

I am being a bit liberal with the truth because I didn't have to put my socks on, I just kept my grey school socks on. No sooner did I pull them up than they fell back down again, but it didn't matter because some of the best players of the day wore their socks down around their ankles.

I had no boots either, of course.

Wearing slip-on shoes as part of a football kit just feels plain wrong - a bit like wearing your school uniform on mufty day. To the eyes of my fellow footballing hopefuls, it looked bloody stupid too.

In their minds, they'd already written me off. They didn't have to worry about Amber Rambler making the school team because he was the sad lad who forgot his kit.

I was a laughing stock.

Any rate, I took to the near water-logged school playing field in my slip-ons, which on such a terrible surface were as much use as a glass hammer.

For me, the football trial turned out to be a trial in more ways than one, but I used my slippery slip-ons to make some great sliding tackles before belting the ball upfield.

By the final whistle I was caked in mud and ready to head home where I could forget about the whole regretful episode by watching other kids making fools of themselves on We Are The Champions.

An hour later I'd swapped my slip-ons for a good old pair of plimsolls and was riding my Chopper bike up and down the road when I couldn't believe my eyes.

The sports teacher, lets call him Mr Sporty, was walking up the road in his Bukta tracksuit with the glamorous history mistress. I think Mr Sporty was looking to get sporty with her once that evening's episode of Crossroads had finished.

I was slightly embarrassed to see them holding hands but I soon forgot all about it when Mr Sporty - who was still wearing his whistle round his neck - said: 'Hello young Rambler, you're in the team for next week's big match. You made some great tackles today.'

I couldn't believe it. I rode off faster than Evel Knievel and even pulled a celebratory wheelie before arriving home to let mum know she was off the hook.

That school football trial was a triumph over disaster and is something that Paul Doswell, Scrivvy and the boys can take heart from during the play-offs.

So long as Kevin Scrivener is in goal for Sutton United on the day of the Blue Square South play-off final then we can all sleep easy knowing we're in safe hands.

Chin up Kelvin lad, we still love you.

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1 comment:

  1. I was at that game at Colchester. Was it really 21 years ago? Crikey.