Friday, 23 November 2012

Sutton United blog: FA Trophy dreams

I have just spent an excruciating half an hour of my life at the barbers.

I will hold my hands up and admit that I've been in dire need of a trim for about a month now, as friends and colleagues have been politely pointing out.

And sure enough, as I approached the doors of the barbers, my hair had been blown all over the place. Or, as famous Norwegian football commentator Bjørge Lillelien might say:'“Lord Nelson! Lord Beaverbrook! Sir Winston Churchill! Sir Anthony Eden! Clement Attlee! Henry Cooper! Lady Diana! Maggie Thatcher, Amber Rambler - can you hear me, Amber Rambler! Your barnet took one hell of a beating! Your barnet took one hell of a beating!"

It was true, by the time I arrived I looked like Helena Bonham Carter.

All was going well as I closed the door behind me to be greeted by Duncan, the middle-aged portly chap with scissors in hand.

But, his rather overtly feminine reply threw me somewhat and as I swept the hair from my eyes I realised I was in the presence of a beautiful blonde crumpet.

Rather like my beloved Sutton United at the moment, I realised I needed to raise my game.

Gone would be reassuring conversations about holiday destinations, beer and football. I'd need to dig deep and utilise what little X Factor, TOWIE and I'm a Celebrity knowledge I had to get me through this brief encounter.

I could cope with that. No problem.

Trouble was, from the moment I sat down I realised I had an unsightly red spot on my nose the size of Carshalton. It was primed and ready for bursting.

With my hair sticking up like antlers, I felt like Rudolph's doppleganger.

If I could see the spot then I was damn sure she could, and if she could then so could my colleagues who I'd spent all day with. Why the hell couldn't they have pointed it out. I would have done the same for them.

Well, maybe not.

Worse was to follow.

Once I'd been given the snip, she got the clippers out to attend to those hard to reach hairs that grubby guys like me tend to neglect. However, one of my guilty pleasures is ear hair, I love the stuff and can't grow enough of it.

I have been nuturing some ear hair for a while now and in moments of crisis I stroke it and it calms me down. You should try it.

The trouble was, she found it. I knew that would happen and broke out into a cold sweat as she approached my ears.

To her credit, she didn't mention it. But if I could have had a window into her mind then I'm sure the thought 'This Amber guy is a filthy swine' would have been swimming around in her blonde bonce at some stage. And who can blame her.

I felt dirty, a bit like Stig of the Dump.

There's nothing worse is there, than being unmasked as a typical bloke. Nothing worse I tell you.

Actually, may be there is.

Being eaten by a shark would have to be up there, even though that'd be over in a few brief moments. Granted, it'll hurt a bit, but it'll be over swiftly.

The point of all this preamble is that it's time my team smartened their act up and remembered just who they really are.

Imagine this. If the Amber and Chocolates lose at Maidenhead in the FA Trophy on Saturday then there's very little for us fans to look forward to until pre-season next season.

Flip me, July is eight months away which is long time in one's footballing life. By then I fully expect Chelsea to have used at least five more poor souls to keep the bench warm for Pep Guardiola to come and save the day.

I bet John Hollins is waiting for his phone to ring any moment.

Why do clubs (Chelsea, really) feel the need to do that - have a 'name' in charge. Roberto Di Matteo deserved a bit longer, but his problem is that his name doesn't fall into the A-lister category.

When Sutton appointed Paul Doswell as their new manager in 2008 I didn't have a clue who he was and that was no bad thing at all. In fact, it was quite exciting, a bit like buying a new Subbuteo team when you were a kid.

I did a little research and discovered we had only gone and appointed the 2006 BBC South Sports Award winner as our new supremo. That's totes amazeballs, as my blonde barber might say.

It's a bit like Chelsea appointing BBC Sports Personality of the Year nominees Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farah or Jessica Ennis as manager. Just a bit.

Dos, Dozzy, Super Dos, the Dosatron, the Dosmeister General, Paul  has given us four great years and we've been riding a crest of a wave since he joined us. Until now.

We’ve had FA Cup runs, a league title and play-off spots – ahhhhh, spots, I am having flashbacks to the barbers – and now, perhaps it’s time for a decent tilt at the Trophy.

Our league position of 20th is desperate. It’s nothing a string of wins wouldn’t sort out but that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen any time soon. We’ve been sloppy in defence, wasteful in attack and confidence is low.

We may have the like of Kevin Scriven, Gareth Gwillim, Harry Beautyman, Craig Dundas, Anthony Riviere and Craig Watkins in our ranks - all of whom are good players – but if we don’t raise our game soon then we could find ourselves in a relegation scrap towards the end of the season.

I think back to last year when we played Kettering Town in the FA Cup First Round. At that stage I felt we could beat anyone. Watkins played as if he wore rocket-propelled boots, Beautyman performed as if he had a point to prove and goalkeeper extraordinaire Scriven looked like he could save anything, even a split atom.

Regaining our self belief would go a long way to setting us on the right path. Ever the optimist, I’d like to think the path would lead us to Wembley, or at least the latter stages of the competition.

The Trophy offers a timely distraction. Maidenhead won’t be easy, but if we’re going to Wembley then we’ll have to roll up our sleeves and do it the hard way.

The Magpies are flying high  in 16th place in Blue Square South table, we can only cast an envious glance in their direction.

But it’s Trophy football, anything can happen. After  learning a few harsh lessons at the barbers I’ve managed to get my act together and I’m sure Sutton can too, starting by bursting Maidenhead’s bubble.

Come on you Amber and Chocolates!


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