|Too early for a beer then...|
So the play-offs are finally here then! Yippee ki-yay, motherfuckers! Well, they've been here all week actually. But that's because now we're into the semi-final stages, having finished somehow third. Oh yes, no need for any midweek shenanigans for us this time round. And that's a good thing considering our play-off record. How many wins was it that we've produced in the play-offs again?
Well none actually, if you're counting them, but that's not bloody the point. Well I suppose it is really, if you think of it in that way, but anyway, I'm getting as confused as Mr McFall was at teaching us sex education back at school, so let's not dwell on it too much (and Mr McFall) and instead steam on in like a Walton Casuals fan at the King George V Arena.
|Glutton for punishment...|
It's Tuesday night and I'm down the club for the Surrey Senior Cup Final. Yeah I know, a clear case of the "here's what you could've won" syndrome, talk about rubbing the old salt into your wounds cliche. It felt like trying to compete for the affections of a woman, losing out to someone else and then being present for the first time he gives her one in the Tradesman's Entrance.
Paying £10 for this so-called privilege, I take a spot on The Shoebox with Rax and a few of the Leatherhead supporters. Merstham, in their bloody fifth consecutive (do you remember those days?) final appearance, eventually ran out comfortable 3-1 winners against a lacklustre Leatherhead side, with the third goal coming from ex-U Tommy Kavanagh. I didn't even stick around to flip the bird to Hayden Bird at the presentations either. And judging by the speed that Sammy Moore & Jack Midson fucked off to Concord Rangers after the final whistle, I wasn't the only one.
Wednesday night saw me back down the club, once again, for
|Cash in the bar, seems obvious really...|
With one or two rumours about that their might not be enough tickets to go round if every season ticket holder turned up tonight and brought themselves one and three extra, we make it first to the office where card payments were being sorted out. In the presence of not only the Club Chairman, but the Honorary Treasurer as well, Taz calm as you like asks for ten tickets. "Ten?" was the reply and then Taz is forced to roll of any name he could muster. "Well, there's Wardy, Mad Bob, Magnum P.I., Cyanide Fred, Chalmers, Bondage Bill, Jack the Hat" to maybe name but a few, to try & prove he wasn't on the tout.
Into the bar and I grab a solitary cash ticket and am quite surprised by the lack of people present. What about all those cars? Where are all the crowds? Well, it turns out that the hoodwinks at the Morden & District league were having a league cup final outside on the pitch. This led to lively discussion between Taz, Dr Bell & myself about over some considerable amount of seasons between us playing in that very Sunday league, how many finals we'd been involved in.
For me, absolutely fuck all. Then again, I was never sent off, ever! How very Gary Lineker of me, yes I know. Especially considering I was a old-fashioned centre back. Now some might say that I was just lucky, and others that I was just that good of a defender. Well I've no comment on it whatsoever, other than to deny that it had anything to do with giving several of the refs lifts to the games. Move on people, nothing to see here.
|Four schnill!, four schnill!|
Anyway, Taz reckoned that he was in at least two (It was two! - Ed). And he's an honest sort of chap, if only you could see his interview for SUFCTV from last week (We're working on that! - Ed). Dr Bell gave a vague notion that he was in 'several' over the number of years. Well don't forget, he's a lot older than most of us and he reckons it would've been a lot more if only it wasn't for the stoppage due to the War. We also got to watch some of the Aldershot vs
Oh, and I better bloody mention Ipswich Lee's better half and Daughter to Father Outlaw Neal, Kirsty. As they were down picking up some tickets. She put me in my place for having not mentioned her by name in my last blog. So here you go, job done. And well done for picking up Ipswich Lee after his one pint with us the other week. Still, they couldn't solve the mystery of the Yorkie bar in his possession. But more about him later.
Luckily I didn't have to go down the club for the third consecutive night this week and instead had to receive notifications that our opponents for this match were beating Flid. Gotta say that, making a club make the long trip for a seven o'clock kick off is not the best of ideas in the world. Still, it's better than seeing the Liberal bloody Democrats hold power in the local election! At least I managed to win two whopping double bubble bets off Mr X! That's right, we smashed the 5p regular limit and went for 10's on this one.
|Beer always tastes better when it's free...|
So onto Sunday. And after seeing Tranmere book their place at Wembley, Casuals (of the Corinthian kind) getting beat by Casuals (of the Walton variety) on penalties and Haye got destroyed by the little Liverpudlian, it's finally game day for Sutton. And what better way then to head down to the cafe. Well it's Sunday after all, and some of us have 'Church' to attend to.
The weatherman had said it was going to be balmy today (a cool 73 degrees in old money, if the man on the box is to be believed) and without a stratocumulus or stratus in the sky (ask Mr X, he did Geography) it was going to be a scorcher. Not the ideal playing conditions for the players though or a lot of the reprobates that will stand on the Shoebox either for that matter!
There was a general discussion that the usual plan of O'Neill's for breakfast at around eleven was going to be the way forward. Obviously. Me and the Firm Leader had already sampled the delights of an early cafe, but he managed to bribe me into going to O'Neill's. "I'll pay for your two beers there..." was all it took. Yeah I know, I'm a cheap date.
Actually making an earlier train for once in our lives eventually had me & The Firm Leader standing outside O'Neill's nice and prompt. One problem, the place was shut! Yep, we were that good that we arrived too early. You've got to be something special to arrive before the pub is even open, but you all know that this isn't the first time for us.
The Firm Leader heads off to buy some smokes, shock horror! And this leave me on my lonesome. Luckily enough it isn't long before Superman Jono turns up to open the place. Taking me through the side door, I'm soon at the bar with a couple of beers in front of me. I didn't even have to pay as Jono didn't have the till in yet. Cheers fella!
After opening the doors, the crowds begin to head arrive. Pete the Perv, with his still uncut hair, was the first to arrive. Shortly followed by 4 "he's Welsh, he loves sheep" Days & Lil' Chris. Taz
|Foster's Gold? Rolling back the years...|
Some of The Firm have a spot of breakfast, except Magnum P.I. who instead aimed for a Tuna Melt, Tuna? For breakfast? Weirdo! Soon enough it's time to head to the club for those that are not on the bar boycott, namely just me. Wardy was going to watch the Fulham match at a mates house before the big one down the Lane, so decides to stick around for a while and keep me company.
And before you know it we're still in O'Neill's, with a fella called Neil surprisingly, and the time is approaching quarter past two. So much for a boycott of the Club prices. And as there is no trains to West Sutton again this weekend, I decide to walk but am rebuked by Wardy, who decides we're going to sherbet it in style and grab a black cab. £7 later and we're dropped off outside "The Plough". Could we sneak in a quick drink? Well we'll give it a go!
A quick beer successfully ordered and we finally get to see the team line-up. There is disappointment that once again the Legend that is Dundo has not made the squad and can now not make 500 appearances this season, even if we make it to Wembley. The only change from the
Butler, John, A Thomas, T Thomas, Eastmond, Collins, Bolarinwa, Bailey, Wright, Taylor, Beautyman. Bench Warmers: Beckwith, Laffayette, Cadogan, Davis, Harrison.
With the weather being as hot as it was, this wasn't going to be a ninety minute thrill-fest. Especially when you had Wright upfront on his own against a very rigid and tall defence. This in turn then starts a midfield battle that never had an outright winner. With the wingers not supporting Wright, the chances of us scoring are reduced considerably.
I have absolutely no recollection of it, but apparently the game had to stop when a drone was spotted above the ground? Fucked if I know. Afterwards Sutton started to come into the game a little bit with some half chances. One that I remember is from Bolarinwa who got the ball into the six yard box, only to then smash it as high as he possibly could that it cleared the stand and netting behind the goal. Fair play fella, maybe next time try placement over power?
As it fast approached half-time, it was my turn on the half-time round so off I trudged towards the bar. Needless to say that the queues were at least five deep. The positive was that "Sleepy" Joe was already at the bar so I slipped him a score and and asked for five pints of piss. No surprises as he came back with Foster's. The negative of this was that I was still able to watch the match going outside on the telly inside.
And another disappointing goal to concede as well. From what I can gather, Collins fails to head clear a forward pass and after a simple one two, the fella is through to the box ad calmly knocks it past Butler. Being on the box, you get the replay and it's even worse second time round as Bailey is left for dead. poor marking, letting ourselves down again.
A surprise double half-time substitution is made with Lafayette & Cadogan coming on for Beautyman & A Thomas. Bailey drops into left-back and we have two up front. Unfortunately it works a charm and soon enough we're two down. A well hit free-kick into the Sutton box which appears to come off Lafayette's nut and loop over Butler. Bollocks!
To try and get us back in the game, Harrison is brought on for Wright in a final throw of the dice. Not a lot happens until there there's less than ten minutes left on the clock and Wood looking a bit knackered. A free-kick is whipped in by Cadogan and is met by the head of Bolarinwa. 2-1! Suddenly it's game on. But the hope doesn't last much longer than five minutes.
With a free kick in our half, there is only three Wood players that bother or are able to make the trip up. Two are standing by the ball and a solitary figure heads to the box to be greeted by six Sutton players. A hail mary of a shot crashes against the bar and loops up into the air. Before you know it there is only one person, besides Butler to react and he nods into the goal, what our players were doing is beyond me but it s a bad case of ball watching from us and then some.
Time was fast ticking out and Sutton once again generate some of that fatal hope to pull Boredom Wood back when Lafayette meets John's cross for a powerful header. 3-2! Much like the Maidenhead game a few weeks back we try to desperately search for a reply, but it's too little too late again and after another over hit cross the ref blows up and it's all over.
After the game and it's club duties for the final time this season for me & 4 Days. Putting the corner flags back and there is a clear contrast between the two changing rooms. I'm not as angry as I thought I'd might be but it's still disappointing to go out in the manner in which we did. Oh well nothing for but to have a drink. As the rest are already in a whip I somehow manage to end up in rounds with Ipswich Lee. Being the only git to have to work on the Bank Holiday Monday I tell him I don't know how long I'll be around. He replies "I'll stay as long as you then..". One pint that is then...
Once again Robbo could be seen trying to get various people to put on his "one and only" favourite song on the jukebox. No guesses for what sort of crimes against humanity piece of so-called art it is. A cry of dismay came from the Gandermonium faithful when it finally airs, only for innocent cries of "It wasn't me!" to be heard from the man who is about as complicit as a 1940's German railway worker.
At one point, I'm outside feeding the habit with Mr X & Ozzie (another mention in the blog for you there) when out of nowhere, a wasp fly directly into the path of Mr X. He calmly, flicks it off but it lands straight into his beer. Tipping out what he can to rescue it all lands on the floor with the drunk wasp right in the middle, who then continues to drink what he can. He was last seen swaying from side side by the bins. The wasp that is, not Mr X. Or maybe....
|A picture from Razzle?|
More drink continues to flow and at one point I hear what I think is abuse coming from the exclusive Vice Presidents Bar by none other than the Macca Clan who'd attended the match. Not refusing an invite, I head into the Vice Presidents despite the fact that I ain't one, and I'm not even wearing a fuckin' tie! Still, I'm a guest of our guests, so you can't chuck me out. Well I don't think you can.
Can you believe that he'll be manager at Tonbridge now for his fifth season? And not even a Wikipedia page. Even more surprising was that Tommy Warrilow was only there for seven. We also cover how he never scored for Sutton, yet his boy has. His solitary man of the match appearance is also brought up, and I wonder who awarded him that little accolade then? There is also a big discussion about something dubbed "Date of conception" that involved Hayes, but I was well on my way by then so I'm not sure. Magnum P.I. might know because all of a sudden most the remaining Gandermonium members are also in the VP's. Talk about lowering the tone of the joint.
In no small way thanks The Grass known as Taz, and unbeknown to us at the time, we managed to rile the wrath of someone due to our drunken behaviour. If we'd known about it at the time we may have made amends, but alas. So apologies for that. As a punishment, I will try and get down to see Mckimm's Tonbridge at some point next season. See, the punishment should always fits the crime.
Back at the club, and we're laughing and joking about some of the trips we've made this year. We also enlighten Ipswich Lee & The Macca Clan of "that" trip to Newcastle, Ninja Taz at Cheltenham & plenty of other stories. I'm not sure if it's the beer, the way that we tell them (Frank Carson-style) or what. But they seem to get funnier over time.
Using my influence I even get a lift home from Macca for Ipswich Lee, because I'm just that nice! Don't mention it Kirsty, my pleasure. He only had one pint. With 4 Days the only other person still around, we walk back down to Sutton just as my bus homewards pulls up by the Gas Works. Result! And soon enough I'm stumbling through my front door for the last time this season.
Well it's been emotional. One of the most thoroughly enjoyable days, if you forget about the football. Include the football and it was a disappointment like that your parents had of you when you were growing up. No trip to Wembley, no trophies & no 500 club appearances for Dundas. Oh well there's always next year I suppose. Enjoy your summer detox and don't do anything I wouldn't do, unless that involves CONIFA, then maybe I'll let you...
|"There may be clear skies above..."|