Thursday, 20 September 2012

Sutton United blog: Dreams of Blue Square South success

I had a dream the other day that my old headmistress, Mrs Cox, was playing as a roving left winger for Sutton United.

It proved to be an inspirational move by Paul Doswell to introduce 90-year-old Mrs Cox into the fray as she weaved her magic and left defenders trailing in her wake.
When Kezie Ibe latched onto a particularly impressive delivery to secure Sutton a 3-1 success over Borussia Dortmund in a crucial Blue Square South encounter the pair of them embraced and ran to the fans at the Gander Green Lane end of the ground.
The Sutton faithful were in raptures and surged towards the elated players, much like the Kop used to when Keegan and Toshack were at their deadliest.
Ibe ruffled Cox’s blue rinse and the old girl was in a dreamland of her own when Craig Dundas and the rest of the boys joined the bundle by the barriers.
I occasionally see Mrs Cox walking down Sutton High Street, fending off pick-pockets and chavs with her walking stick.
But in my dream she threw her stick aside and virtually turned into a modern day Micky Stephens - the Sutton wing maestro of the 1980s - to create chance after chance for the United attack.
It was Mrs Cox’s finest performance since she took to the stage to start a rendition of Auld Lang Syne just before we broke up for the school Christmas holidays back in 1981.
Her performance against the German giants made her name the first Doswell would write on his teamsheet every week and endeared her to the Sutton fans forevermore.
In fact, the club named the main stand at the Borough Sports Ground The Mrs Cox Stand after her legendary displays. It was a wonderful gesture from Bruce Elliot and the board.
I used to love watching Micky Stephens play for the Amber and Chocolates.
He was the artist of the team. He could run at defenders and send over enticing crosses for the likes of Paul McKinnon, Lenny Dennis and Micky Joyce to convert or fluff, depending on if their luck was in.
There's no doubt about it, we need someone inspirational like Stephens or Mrs Cox to ignite our season.
My dream came hot on the heels of Sutton’s latest display, a 1-1 with Havant and Waterlooville.
The first half was as woeful a my half-time pint at the Plough.
I know, I know, I was asking for trouble. The place isn’t so much a pub as a drop-in centre for West Sutton’s dopey, dazed or confused.
In my case, I was driven to such drastic measures as going to one of the borough's worst boozers by Simon Downer’s own goal just before the interval.
An old man who was stood near me on the terraces just turned around, looked at me and buried his head in his heads whilst shaking his head. It was enough to turn anyone to booze, so off I popped across the road for a pint of Stella.
Anyway, after 20 minutes I returned to the match full of gas and otimism for a better second half - it's amazing what a pint of Stella can do.
And so it proved. Sutton attacked in search of an equaliser which duly came from Dundas, despite three players' best efforts to miss from one yard out.
The lads had better luck missing the target for the remainder of the game as the Hawks, who showed very little in the way of attacking intent - most unhawk-like - held on for the draw.
Well, a point is a point, I guess, and beggars can’t be choosers. All we need to do is string six or seven wins together and all will be forgiven.
In my dreams...

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Sutton United Blog: Boreham Wood and biscuits

There are few things more disheartening in life than letting a much-anticipated custard cream biscuit slip from your grasp and watching it plonk straight into your mid-morning cup of coffee.
The whole regrettable episode is over in a second, but the shock, bitterness and self-loathing which follows lingers for the rest of the day.

That's the problem with a heavy multi-layered biscuit such as the custard cream, lose your grip during the dunking process and the dream  is over.

The emergency response time is very short and before you know it, biscuit debris has ruined the drink which was meant to kick-start your day.

You're better off sticking with a good old Rich Tea biscuit where a quick in-and-out is an easy enough method to perfect. 
My coffee, which soon resembled sick in a mug, was a write-off, and so was the performance by my beloved Amber and Chocolates at Boreham Wood on Monday night.
The 3-0 reverse suffered at the hands of the Hertfordshire side, in which our defence disintegrated almost as fast as my soggy treat, has far-reaching consequences for me personally; I’ve got no option but to keep a low profile down the pub on Friday night.
I have already conjured up a list of suitable subjects to throw into conversation for when the dreaded 'football chat' rears its ugly head.
There's the Paralympics, X Factor, the up-coming Sutton and Croydon Beer Festival and impending holidays.
I'll even throw 'who's you favourite Spice Girl' into the mix if it means I don't have to talk about football.
Just for the record, I’m an Emma Bunton kind of guy, although I must confess to recently taking a shine to Mel C.
Inevitably someone will ask 'hey Amber, how are Sutton getting on this year?'
I wouldn't mind, but it'll be my mate Dave - a Manchester United fan of 30 years standing who's yet to visit Old Trafford - who'll ask me the question and then proceed to take the micky.
If the situation gets too tricky, then I'll reach for my iPhone and show the guys a picture of my niece’s new kitten, Monty.
As if our start to the season wasn’t bad enough, my football battery is running low to be honest, and it appears it isn’t just me who's feeling this way.
Not only are crowds down, generally speaking, across the board (just 59  people turned up last weekend to witness Walton Casuals take a point from pacesetting Crawley Down Gatwick in Ryman South – SHOCKING) , but the boys in amber and chocolate are playing as if traumatised by their own biscuit nightmares.
They maybe training at the plush facilities at Surrey Sports Park down in Guildford, but if the custard creams aren't up to scratch then we could be in for a long hard season.

What if the lads aren't into custard creams at all? What if they prefer Jammie Dodgers but nobody knows this vital piece of information? I think the authorities need to hold a thorough investigation before we go any further.

The importance of the humble biscuit in boosting morale on a daily basis should not go overlooked.
It's difficult for me to really comment on performances because I've only been to one game so far - the 2-2 draw with Dover -  but from what I can gather the lads have yet to really put in a decent 90 minutes.
A good first half here and an average second half there, isn't going to get us very far.
The defeat at Boreham Wood has set the alarm bells ringing louder than a cop car careering round the Sutton one way system.
Unless it's absolutely necessary I don’t like to focus on negatives. I'll leave that to the message board miseries who like to dwell on the bad stuff.
I still think it's too early to call for radical changes. I trust Paul Doswell to sort it out. He's ambitious and has spent a lot of time transforming our club on and off the pitch.  
We're bound to get a few bad results here and there.  I just hope the drive and passion of some of the players matches that of the manager sometime soon... like the next game.
Doswell's record in football management is just as impressive as my own.

During the long hot summer of 1984, following relegation to the Fourth Division, Southend United announced that a 12 year old rookie would be taking over as manager from the great Bobby Moore who had been relieved of his duties.
It was a move which shocked the world Subbuteo to its very foundations but reaped dividends for the bold board members who appointed me as I masterminded SUFC's rise through the divisions, taking them to heights they'd never reached before. Just like Doswell did at Eastleigh.

Having been instrumental in leading the Spitfires from the Wessex League to the Blue Square South Dos then switched to Sutton, a club stuck in a rut at the time of his arrival. 

He's delivered the goods at Gander Green Lane too, earning a league title, three FA Cup runs and three play-off finishes. I wouldn't bet against him landing a top-five spot once again this year, despite our poor start.
There are many fans of other clubs who cast an envious glance at what’s been happening at Sutton in recent seasons. We should have the utmost faith in our leader, just like the the Southend fans did with me. You ask them about the 1984/85 season – the season Amber Rambler led them out of the doldrums, through the divisions and into Europe.
One saving grace this term is it's still early enough in the season to pull it around. If the Amber and Chocolates can string a couple of wins together then things will start to look brighter once again. Weston-super-Mare seems like as good a place as any to start.
It has to be said, the result at Boreham Wood was a bit of an eye-opener.
When the scoreline filtered through I felt like drowning my sorrows and reached for my four-pack of Tennent's Super (9%) - not ideal for a Monday night, or any other night for that matter.

But my spirits were lifted by the appearance of the Banbury United avatar on my Twitter timeline and suddenly the world didn't seem such a bad place, so I settled on supping just the one can of Super.
Often it's the simple things in life which give you the most pleasure. So, here it is, I hope it has the same calming effect on you as it did with me.
There’s no need to push the panic button or reach for the emergency four-pack just yet.
Keep the faith and buy a packet of Rich Tea biscuits. You won't regret it.


Email me at or be a Twit with me @itsamberrambler