Sutton United F.C.
|Full name||Sutton United Football Club|
|Founded||5 March 1898|
|Ground||Gander Green Lane, Sutton|
|Capacity||5,013 (765 seated)|
|2015–16||National League South, 1st (promoted)|
|Website||Club home page|
Sutton United Football Club is a professional association football club currently playing in the National League. They are based in Sutton in the London Borough of Sutton, England, and play their home games at Gander Green Lane. The ground is situated 100m from West Sutton Station. The club is an FA Charter Standard Community Club affiliated to the Surrey County Football Association.
The club started out playing in junior, local leagues, but progressed into the Athenian League in 1921; the Isthmian League in 1964; and the Conference in 1986. The team fell back into the Isthmian League in 1991. They appeared in the Conference for one more season in 1999–2000, and were founding members of the Conference South in 2004.
The team has had several cup successes, including getting to Wembley twice for the FA Amateur Cup final and once for the FA Trophy final. Sutton won the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1979. The club is most famous for its FA Cup "giant killing" exploits, when the U's defeated Coventry City, then of the First Division and composed mostly of star international players, in the Third Round in January 1989. This was a 24 year record before the next non-league side beat a team from the top flight of English football, when Luton Town of the Conference National went to Norwich City and won 1–0 on 26 January 2013.
Formation and the early years
The club gained a reputation locally in junior leagues and in 1910 decided to become a senior side. They joined the Southern Suburban League and won it on their first attempt. During this period the team moved between several grounds, including what was then known as the Sutton Adult School Ground. After the First World War, the team moved in for good and have not left the stadium since.
Sutton gained election into the Athenian League in 1921. The team did not challenge at the top of the table and in 1926 finished last, but were re-elected. Only two seasons later, in 1928, the team won its first Athenian League Championship. The thirties were a good time for Sutton, who twice reached the semi-final of the FA Amateur Cup (in 1929 and 1937).
During the Second World War, Sutton kept playing football but on a much smaller scale. The Athenian League had been suspended and so organised competitions were rare and sporadic, but Sutton won a number of honours. This put them in good stead for winning the league again when the war came to an end. With the help of 42 goals from Charlie Vaughan, Sutton ran away with the 1945–46 season. This was also the first time the club won the Surrey Senior Cup and got through to the FA Cup first round.
The 1950s brought little success for Sutton, though the team is said to have progressed off the field. Assets were transferred to a limited company, something which was unusual for the time. In addition, the main stand was constructed, which today holds over 700 spectators. It was not until George Smith became manager that success returned; the Athenian League title was won for the third time in 1958 and the club won the London Senior Cup for the first time. Progress continued into the 60s under Sid Cann in Sutton's most successful period. In 1963, the club reached Wembley in the FA Amateur Cup, but lost 4–2 to Wimbledon.
The summer after the cup success marked Sutton's election into the Isthmian League. In 1967, they won the league title. Two seasons later the club was at Wembley again for the Amateur Cup final, but surprising lost 2–1 to underdogs North Shields.
1970 brought great cup success to the club once more, but this time in the form of the FA Cup. Sutton beat Hillingdon Borough in the third round and went on to play Don Revie's top flight Leeds United, one of the best teams in Europe at the time, at Gander Green Lane. The match saw 14,000 spectators squeeze into the ground and Leeds, with 11 full internationals in the team, won 6–0.
Unfortunately, the next decade proved to be one of little success for the club and Sutton went through a succession of managers, including Ted Powell and Dario Gradi, both of whom played for the team and went on to manage at higher levels. It was not until Keith Blunt took charge that success returned to Gander Green Lane. His biggest achievement was to win the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1979, after a surprise 2–1 win over Chieti. This was the only time an English club won the honour in its semi-professional era.
Soon after the continental win, Keith Blunt moved on to manage Malmö and Barrie Williams took over. He guided Sutton to Wembley for the 1981 FA Trophy final, but the side lost to Bishop's Stortford. This was to be the club's last appearance at Wembley, a place which saw little success for them. During Williams's reign the club finished runners-up in the Anglo-Italian Cup twice more, in 1980 and 1982. The club also finished runners-up in the 1981–82 Isthmian League and in 1983 won a treble of the Surrey Senior, London Senior, and Hitachi Cups. The Surrey Senior Cup win was the first of six in as many years, a record that remains unbroken, as of May 2011.
The club won the Isthmian League championship for the second time in 1985. After refusing promotion to the Football Conference because of issues with the stadium, they retained the championship the following year and this time accepted promotion after supporters helped in a large redevelopment of areas of the ground. Sutton managed to cement their place in the league, often finishing mid-table.
The club enjoyed a memorable FA Cup run in 1988–89 in which they entered the national consciousness. Entering the competition at the Fourth Qualifying Round, they beat Walton & Hersham, Dagenham and Aylesbury United to set up a third round proper tie with First Division Coventry City, who had won the trophy 18 months earlier. In a memorable game, Sutton won 2–1 with goals from Tony Rains and Matthew Hanlan, joining a small number of non-League clubs to beat top-division opponents in the competition. This was a 24-year record before the next non-league side beat a team from the top flight of English football, when Luton Town of the Conference National went to Norwich City and won 1–0 on Saturday 26 January 2013.
Back into the Isthmian League
Two seasons later in 1991, the club suffered relegation to the Isthmian League because of a goal drought and a number of injuries. Despite two top-three finishes following the relegation, a quick return to the Conference did not come until Sutton were Isthmian League champions in 1999 under former captain John Rains. During this period, Sutton claimed the scalps of several league clubs in the FA Cup, including Colchester United and Torquay United in 1993 alone. Unfortunately, the stay in the Conference lasted just one season as the U's were relegated again in 2000.
The early 2000s were quiet times for Sutton, although the club is notable as the first-ever opponent of AFC Wimbledon, defeating the Dons 4–0 in a pre-season friendly in July 2002 in front of 4,657 at Gander Green Lane. Sutton won the Surrey Senior Cup in 2003 and the following season saw the team start well and recover from a bad spell over the winter to finish second.
The Conference South
For the 2004–05 season, The FA planned for the introduction of two new divisions: the Conference North and Conference South. Because of Sutton's high finish in the Isthmian League Premier Division, they were selected to be a founding member of the Conference South. The next three seasons were unremarkable, with Sutton finishing mid-table each time and no real success in cup competitions.
John Rains stepped down as manager in March 2006 and Ian Hazel took over the reins. By October 2008, the team were at the bottom of the Conference South and looking destined for relegation. A string of managers, including Ernie Howe, Stuart Massey and Jimmy Dack failed to save the club, and Paul Doswell came in as manager during the 2008 close-season.
Sutton finished fifth in their first season back in the Isthmian League Premier Division and 2nd the following season, losing in both seasons' play-off semi finals to Staines Town and Kingstonian respectively. But the 2010–11 season saw Sutton win the championship with three games to go and secure promotion back into the Conference South. After beating Hastings United on 16 April, nearest rivals Bury Town had to beat Cray Wanderers on 17 April 2011 to remain in contention. Cray won 2–1, thus making Sutton champions.
Back in the Conference South for the 2011–12 season, Sutton finished 4th but lost to Welling United in the play-off semi finals. In the 2013–14 season, they achieved their highest ever Conference South placing (2nd place), but again lost in the play-off semi finals to Dover Athletic. In the 2014–15 season they finished 15th.
National League South
For the 2015–16 season, the Conference South was renamed the National League South. Despite losing their opening game at home to Maidstone United 2–0, Sutton lost only two more games before a 1–0 home defeat to Hayes & Yeading United on 7 November. The U's then put together a remarkable run of 25 league games unbeaten, including a notable 2–0 victory over fellow title contenders Ebbsfleet United on 16 April 2016 in front of a home crowd of 3,142 (a club record for league match attendance). On 23 April, Sutton defeated Chelmsford City at home 2–0 and were crowned champions of the National League South with a game to spare.
After losing their opening home game of the 2016–17 season to Solihull Moors 3–1, Sutton bounced back to claim a 1–1 draw with Forest Green Rovers at The New Lawn on 9 August 2016 before securing a 3–1 victory over Lincoln City at Sincil Bank on 13 August 2016, earning their first win in English football's fifth tier in 16 years. Following two further home victories against Torquay United and Macclesfield Town, for a brief period Sutton were ranked third in the league, the club's highest ever position in the English football pyramid (95th), before losing 4–0 to Chester City at the Deva Stadium on 27 August 2016.
Paul Doswell celebrated his 500th game as manager of Sutton United on 8 October 2016 and the club made a special presentation to him before kick off. The game, a Surrey derby against Woking, ended in a 4–1 victory for Sutton.
Shirt and crest
The club's crest is derived from that of the Borough of Sutton, the difference being that United selected only the parts of the crest which represent Sutton and Cheam, as opposed to the parts of the Borough's crest which signify Beddington, Wallington and Carshalton. The gold and silver discs on the shield are from the arms of the old Borough of Sutton & Cheam. The keys inside the discs symbolise the ownership of Sutton by the Chertsey Abbey (as recorded in the Domesday Book). The popinjay which sits at the top of the badge is from the arms of the Lumleys, former lords of the Manor of Cheam. The crosses (now golden on the club's crest, but black on the borough's crest) represent the See of Canterbury, which held Cheam in the time of Cnut the Great. The badge also features a medieval helmet.
Sutton began playing in the early 20th century wearing amber and chocolate brown stripes. The club made a brief experiment with green and white stripes for a season during the 1920s, but the team's form was poor and they soon reverted to amber and chocolate, which became hoops rather than stripes during the early 1930s. By the late 1930s, the home shirt had changed to amber and chocolate halves and this remained so until after the end of the Second World War. Another experiment was made with amber and chocolate quarters but by the late 1950s, home shirts were amber with chocolate numbers, worn with white shorts and white socks. Socks reverted to amber in the early to mid 1960s but the kit remained otherwise unchanged until 1974–75, when the shorts became chocolate.
By the late 1970s, Sutton wore an all amber kit with chocolate trim and it remained virtually unchanged until the club's centenary season in 1998–99, when a special design of amber and chocolate quarters worn with chocolate shorts was used. In the early 21st century, the home shirt became thick amber and chocolate stripes before new manager Paul Doswell ordered a return to an all amber kit for the 2008–9 season. The home shirt was redesigned for the 2016–17 season to be all amber with a single chocolate stripe running down the centre and chocolate trim on the v-neck collar and sleeves. The colours have become synonymous with Sutton and fans at home games can often be heard chanting "we're the amber and chocolates" (to the tune of Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes).
Amateur football teams began wearing away or change kits after the end of the Second World War and Sutton initially wore a red and white away kit during the 1950s. Sutton first began wearing an all white away kit by at least the time of the 1963 Amateur Cup semi-final, when their opponents Hitchin wore red. Light blue and black and then brown kits (both modelled on Coventry City's kit at the time) appeared briefly in the late 1970s before the club reverted to all white. The away kit remained all white for the rest of the 20th century and into the 21st century, except for the 1998–99 centenary season when green and white quarters were worn, and a brief period using a broad green and white strip. The away shirt was redesigned for the 2016–17 season to be all white with a single red stripe running down the centre and red trim on the v-neck collar and sleeves.
|Season||Kit Manufacturer||Home Shirt Sponsor||Away Shirt Sponsor|
|2005–2006||Kitz||G4S plc||G4S plc|
|2006–2007||Kitz||G4S plc||G4S plc|
|2007–2008||Kitz||Falcon Builders||G4S plc|
|2008–2009||Erreà||P.G.Marshall & Sons Ltd.||HSS Hire|
|2012–2013||TAG||Paris Smith||Drew Smith|
|2013–2015||Joma||Drew Smith||Paris Smith|
|2015–2016||Joma||Banstead Downs||Paris Smith|
|2016–2017||Joma||Green Go Waste||Champion Timber|
Sutton United play their home games at Gander Green Lane, officially named the Borough Sports Ground.
There is a club in The Gambia called "Sutton United FC". In July 1999, Young Stars FC was formed by Father Andrew Cole and the team originally consisted of people going to Bible classes. The team was later renamed Sanchaba United, which means "Downtown" in the Mandinka language until an English visitor, known only as Walter, donated equipment to the club and suggested they change their name to Sutton United FC (Gambia). The club, which is located in Lamin Village on the outskirts of Banjul, plays in the third tier of Gambian football known as Nawettan.
|National League South||1||2015–16|
|Isthmian League Premier Division||5||1966–67, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1998–99, 2010–11|
|Athenian League||3||1927–28, 1945–46, 1957–58|
|Anglo-Italian Cup winners||1||1979|
|Athenian League Challenge Cup winners||4||1946, 1956, 1962, 1963|
|Bob Lord Trophy winners||1||1991|
|Isthmian League Cup winners||4||1983, 1984, 1986, 1998|
|Isthmian League Full Members' Cup winners||2||1992, 1996|
|London Senior Cup winners||2||1958, 1983|
|South Thames Cup winners||3||1955, 1967, 1968|
|Surrey Senior Cup winners||15||1946, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2003|
- Source: "Sutton United FC: Official Programme". 16 April 2011.
Notable former managers
- George Smith
- Sid Cann, manager 1962–1974, during which period the club reached two FA Amateur Cup finals
- Barrie Williams, defeated the 1987 Winners of the FA Cup, Coventry City in 1989
- Alan Gane, manager 1991–1996
- John Rains, manager 1997–2006, won Isthmian League title 1999
Notable former players
- For all Sutton United players with a Wikipedia article see Category:Sutton United F.C. players.
Rivals and Fans
Sutton's fiercest rivalry is with Carshalton Athletic, with both sides within the London Borough of Sutton. Derby matches have been contested in the Athenian League, Isthmian League and the Conference South, as well as twelve different cup competitions. The teams generally play together on Boxing Day, New Year's Day and other bank holidays. Sutton have the better record, one of the most famous meetings being a 6–0 win in 2002. In total, the two sides have met 133 times (as of August 2011), with Sutton winning on 72 of those occasions, Carshalton 33 and there have been 28 draws. Sutton have scored 283 goals, and Carshalton have scored 173. The two sides last met in July 2011, in a two-legged friendly competition for the "Sutton Advertiser Cup", which Sutton won 3–1 on aggregate having won the home leg 3–0.
Sutton have never shared a league with AFC Wimbledon, but due to the geographical proximity the two clubs share a rivalry. Sutton were the first team to play the club, defeating them at home 4–0 in July 2002. The most recent competitive match between the two sides was a Surrey Senior Cup semi-final at Gander Green Lane on 11 April 2013; a 5–2 Sutton win.
Sutton relaid the pitch at Gander Green Lane in August 2015 with 3G artificial turf and since then the club have contested matches with Maidstone United, who also use a 3G pitch at the Gallagher Stadium, in what has been named by fans El Plastico (a reference to El Clásico). Maidstone won the first game at Gander Green Lane 2–0 but Sutton won the return fixture 2–1 to take a decisive step towards winning the National League South title. Maidstone joined Sutton in the National League, having beaten Ebbsfleet United in the play-off final, and the most recent fixture at Gander Green Lane on 25 October 2016 ended in a 2–2 draw. El Plastico IV is scheduled to be played at the Gallagher Stadium on 21 March 2017.
Sutton United's most famous fan is comedian Tim Vine.
Mascot and motto
Sutton's mascot is Jenny the Giraffe. She attends all home matches and can be seen before kick-off. Jenny wears a Sutton United shirt and has been known to wear a scarf during the winter. On 3 October, Jenny took part in the 2010 Mascot Grand National at Huntingdon Racecourse and finished 5th out of 41 runners.
All squad caps and goals are up to date. They are updated every game. Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Club management and support staff
|Assistant manager||Micky Stephens|
|Assistant manager||Steve Beck|
|Head coach||Ian Baird|
|Sports Therapist||Bob Childs|
|Massage Therapist||Catherine Chambers|
- "Club Info – The Borough Sports Ground". Sutton United official website. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
- "Club Information". Sutton United official website. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
- "Manager's Column". Sutton United official website. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- "Non-League Restructuring 2011/12" (PDF). The Football Association. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
- "Sutton". SurreyFA. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- "Club History". Sutton United official website. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
- "Sutton United on the Football Club History Database". Archived from the original on 1 September 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
- "Ground history". Sutton United official website. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
- "Athenian League History". Retrieved 15 August 2010.
- Perkings, Jeff (2010). A Tale of Two Uniteds. Sutton United F.C. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-9545796-9-2.
- Perkings, Jeff (2010). A Tale of Two Uniteds. Sutton United F.C. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-9545796-9-2.
- Perkings, Jeff (2010). A Tale of Two Uniteds. Sutton United F.C. pp. 166–167. ISBN 978-0-9545796-9-2.
- "When Sutton Met Coventry". Twohundredpercent. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Anstead, Mike (10 March 2008). "Top 10 greatest shock wins in the history of the FA Cup". The Sun. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
- Hunt, Ben (10 July 2002). "Match report:Sutton United v. AFC Wimbledon". AFC Wimbledon official site. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "Honours Gallery". From the Lane. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "Past Seasons". From the Lane. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "Conference History". Football Conference official site. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- Fitzjohn, Simon (14 May 2008). "Dack U-turn leaves Sutton stunned". Sutton Guardian. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- Amos, Stuart (21 May 2008). "Doswell's new broom at Sutton". Sutton Guardian. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Moody, Graham (17 April 2011). "Sutton United win promotion". Sutton Guardian. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
- Tervet, Steve (16 April 2016). "Sutton United 2 Ebbsfleet United 0 match report". Kent Online. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
- Ashton, Tim (23 April 2016). "CHAMPIONS – Sutton United win the National League South title". Sutton Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
- "Sutton United 1 Solihull Moors 3". BBC. 6 August 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- "Forest Green Rovers 1 Sutton United 1". BBC. 9 August 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- "Lincoln City 1 Sutton United 3". BBC. 13 August 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- "A Sutton United front: Professional and thorough, Macclesfield had no chance". Sutton Guardian. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- "Chester City 4 Sutton United 1". BBC. 27 August 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- "Sutton United 1 Tranmere Rovers 0". BBC. 17 September 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
- "Sutton United 4 Woking 1". BBC. 8 October 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- Note similarities between Sutton United's crest and the Borough's
- "Coat of Arms (Archived)". London Borough of Sutton. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
- "SUFC Gambia – Club History". Sutton United official website. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "SUFC Gambia – An Introduction". Sutton United official website. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- Official Programme: Sutton United v Carshalton Athletic. Sutton United F.C. 25 April 2011. p. 14.
- Sutton Advertiser. 29 July 2011 http://www.thisiscroydontoday.co.uk/U-s-big-steps-Advertiser-Cup/story-13032732-detail/story.html. Retrieved 9 August 2011. Missing or empty
- "Sutton v. Wimbledon: Match Report". Sutton United. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "The Giraffe, the Pelly & Emily". Gandermonium. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
- "Sutton United Community news". Sutton United official website. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "Women and Girls Football Festival". Sutton United official website. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "Jenny enters the world famous race". Sutton United official website. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
- "Jenny enters World Famous Race". Sutton United official website. 17 October 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- "First Team Squad". Sutton United official website. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
- United We Stand. A history of the club produced on its centenary. 1998.
- Sutton United FC 1898–1973. Book charting the first 75 years of the club. 1973.
- Perkins, Jeff (2010). A Tale of Two Uniteds. Story of the 1970 match between Sutton and Leeds United. ISBN 978-0-9545796-9-2.
- Official website
- From the Lane – unofficial club website
- Gandermonium – blog from a group of Sutton United supporters
- Sutton United fans forum page
- Sutton United match videos website