Welcome back dear reader to our little corner of the interwebs! Please, do step inside, make yourselves at home and then slowly wonder why you bothered in the first place as we rabbit on about all sorts of random bollocks vaguely related to the activities of League 2 side Sutton United. Don’t sit in the big old leather wingback chair though, that’s Totts spot. He’ll kick you out quicker than you can say “What on earth am I doing wasting my time on this shit?”.
It’s been another busy week in Gandermoniumland. First off, I could be found mixing in somewhat more rarified circles on Thursday night with an appearance on the GoonersPod on YouTube to look back on the intervening years since our last chat prior to our meeting in the FA Cup, just how on earth we managed to go get ourselves promoted to the Football League and talk nonsense in general (you can listen back HERE if that sort of thing tickles your fancy) and then on Friday night, possibly the highlight of the PRoWS social calendar to date, the unveiling of the ‘new’ Shoebox Terrace at Cheam Sports ground. Yes folks, someone thought that the loss of the oldest remaining part of Gander Green Lane that was sadly demolished this summer deserved a memorial of some kind. So it seems there are people out there just as mad, if not a little madder than our good selves. The mind boggles.
So, we all assembled in the corner of a field in leafy, charming Cheam Village to witness this heartwarming event. And I must congratulate Colin & the gang at Cheam Sports here as the crazy bastards didn’t so much put up a memorial as literally rebuilt the bloody thing! Using some salvaged railings, they’ve actually built a small 3 step concrete terrace, complete with blue plaque! The occasion was marked by the appearance of Vice Chair AB, complete with ‘Strikers are Key’ sequinned jacket, to cut the ribbon and a sing song from West Sutton’s finest banjoist, Totts, who was playing his world famous hit single dedicated to the Shoebox for what he swears will be the final time ever as he’ll be moving more into the Skiffle Punk genre after he relocates to the South Coast and wants to leave his old catalogue behind him. Of course, we all think that’s complete bollocks. I mean, look at ABBA. Never say never!
All the PRoWS great and good were in attendance, with Greek, Steve, Dirty Barry, Big Malc, Kingy, Crooked Cess & Dancing Marcus all putting in an appearance amongst others. Although a close eye was kept on Cess in case he popped out a pack of cards and tried to rinse the unwary in another of his DILF Bingo scams. The evening was brilliantly tinpot however and it’s nice knowing that the Shoebox lives on in some form and also providing a place to stand and watch a game of football, as the lord intended.
After the ceremony, I find myself scolded by Malc for not including in the blog Keepo’s confession on the way home Saturday that he used to dress up as a monkey for some reason in his youth. Now, as I have absolutely no recollection of this conversation whatsoever, that probably explains the omission! And I didn’t think I was that pissed on the way home, clearly I was mistaken! And so, with a couple of paragraphs of cobblers out the way and this nonsense suitably padded out I think we can safely move onto the actual focus of this piece. Sutton at home to Carlisle United in a League Two encounter. Well, when I say move onto, I don’t mean straight away obviously…
Despite having errands to do, I chanced a lie in this morning and of course this meant that my departure PRoWS-wards was a little delayed once all that had been wrapped up, meaning I couldn’t join Steve for breakfast in O’Niells as originally hoped. The 407 is also now fully back to pre-covid normality, as the fucking thing turns up properly late. This means I’m hitting Sutton just after 1pm and this allows a possible deviation from the oft repeated pre-match routine of mine as the lads responsible for the ‘Brunton Bugle’ podcast are due in town and heading for a pint in the Old Bank around the same time. Be rude not to pop my head in and say hello in person after my appearance on their fine broadcast this week. Sadly though, as I hop off the bus at the Post Office and head for the boozer, the update is that they’re not due in for another 15 mins or so and as such not wishing to look billy no mates on my tod in the boozer, I declare the sack off and divert back to the usual, pull some cash, obtain some of Greggs finest and begin the sweaty march to paradise.
Outside the bar, I find all the usual mob sunning themselves, along with Loffers who’s joined us for a pre-match snifter. After greetings are exchanged, a pint is obtained and then I walk, refreshment in hand, back to AB’s ticket desk to sort out my brief for Northampton next week. I spot Tatey along the way with his brood in tow, much relieved this week as he’s managed to divert them away from the club shop and putting another dent in his wallet! With my admin sorted, it’s back to supping and talking bollocks. First victim of the day is Kiddo, whose smart dress draws some comments. “You been serving lunch today then?” quips Dr Bell. Kiddo’s having none of it though and retorts by asking if the esteemed Doc has any Big Issue and offers a couple of quid from his pocket. Touche sir! Next up is Magnum, who in trying to do his carpark attendant bit of course starts copping dogs abuse. Tatey delivers the most withering attack commenting “At least they’ve got your age right on your jacket this week mate!” as the bib in question is displaying a large ’80’ on the back of it.
TEAM: Bouzanis, Kizzi, Goodliffe, John, Milsom, Smith, Eastmond, Boldewijn, Ajiboye, Bennett, Wilson. SUBS: Chalupniczak, Bugiel, Rowe, Olaofe, Beautyman, Randall, Wyatt
After a couple of beers and a quick catch up with Mr Cook, it’s time to head in and soak up the atmos before kick off. Back on the Curva I find Juan and his old man in place and catch up with them. Juan having just returned from a holiday in Cyprus where Greek, also there sunning himself at the same time, has completely blanked him via text to meet up and have a drink! Charming! At the far end, the visitors are well backed and whilst it doesn’t quite look a sell out, there’s got to be close to 500 in the away end.
The lads are bang at it early doors and with our first serious attack of the game, we’ve managed to do inside 3 minutes what we couldn’t over the 90 down in Exeter last week. And that’s score. Dave skips in down the right, pulls it back near post and Wilson’s there with a defender to bundle in. Was it Don’s goal or was it an OG? “Don’t give a shite” is of course the one and only correct answer. It’s in the onion bag, that’s all that matters! After this though, the visitors get at it and for a good 20-25 mins, they’re on the case and moving the ball well. We’re defending decently, but they’re certainly causing us as many problems as any side this year. Deano has to slap away a great ball in from the far side from under his bar and also has to get down to push away a decent strike from inside the box. It’s a bit of a worry, but with the half entering is final stages, we slow things down a bit, get some possession and take the sting out of their pressure. Then nick a second. A ball up to Wilson, a little turn and he finds space on the 18 yard line before slipping the ball inside to Ali Smith who slides a shot under the keeper and into the corner. 2-0 Lovely stuff! There should be a 3rd right on the break, but first a header and then a hit from close range after a corner are both somehow blocked right on the line. Still, two to the good, that’ll do for starters.
Second half is underway with the lads looking for a killer third, but the visitors are still there. Deano has to stand up well to a fierce angled shot after a Goodliffe slip lets a lad in on the far side. Dave should also add that third goal on a quick break, but with support alongside, he elects to go alone and the keeper beats away his rising effort. A couple of good chances come our way, but again we’re not putting them away with Louis nutting over from a free header, Kizzi heading into the side netting with the goal at his mercy and a fierce volley from Easty bringing a decent save out of the keeper. In the end, it’s the returning Tanto on for a knackered Wilson that does the damage. Skipping away from his man down the far side, he pulls the ball back across the box and a defender’s prod only succeeds in finding Ali who whips a smart low drive back across the keeps and into the far corner. Have it! Things then get worse for Carlisle immediately after the restart when their sub 19 clatters Kizzi in the air and the ref shows him a second yellow to reduce them to 10 men.
From here, we really should go on and rack up a couple more to the goals for tally, but chances are missed and a solid pen shout is ignored and in the end, a jinking run from Dave polished off with a composed finish rounds off the scoring at 4-0 late on. The ref’s whistle for full time seriously aggrivates Tanto and he goes running clear with the goal at his mercy right at the point he blows up. His little tantrum has us all chuckling up on the Curva. Good to have you back Issac! we applaud the lads off and then get into the bar for some celebratory scoops. Outside as we wait for pints, Frakey walks past and comments that today was the first day he’d truly felt we looked like a Football League side. Can’t argue there mate!
Pinted up, I sit chatting with Cooky in the main bar as the players is like a bloody oven and slowly others filter out to join the party. Plus Chesterfield v Turkey is on the telly. Of course, we sit there commenting throughout about how lovely it is to see these little non-league outfits get the exposure and applaud the efforts of the plucky amateurs. Naturally, as it’s La Bastarda, the old girl also provides a stark reminder she’s not changed one little bit in the few months since we left. The hosts leading 2-0 late on and cruising, they let Torquay pull one back with a minute left and then in the 95th minute don’t defend a corner which is bundled in at the near post to get the Gulls a point and us sore sides from laughing so much. National League gonna National League baby!
I also find out that following last night’s Shoebox ‘gig’ that Greek is angling to get himself some Colonel Tom Parker type action to Totts Elvis. So much so, he’s trying to rebrand the Bard of West Sutton from his current ‘Comrade X’ persona to something ‘the kids’ would more readily identify with. I’m not quite sure how the Mediterranean lad’s not ended up with a punch in the bracket for his suggestion of ‘Poppa T’ to be honest, so I can only assume that with retirement lurking Totts is softening in his old age or he was just humouring Greek to get a pint of Guinness out of him.
A couple more rounds are sunk and before long, people start drifting away for dinner and what have you. So with my own belly rumbling, I rustle up an Uber home before having to change my route to accommodate Greek who’s own efforts have proved fruitless. Our driver is a nice chap and along the way we discuss the recent petrol panic buying fuckwittery and how it must be affecting lads like him who need juice to actually work and not simply to ferry little Mortimer to and from primary school 2 minutes away.
It’s at this point Greek notices he actually has a full tank of juice and we start jokingly asking how many people he’s had to kill to get that and that he’ll be the busiest Uber driver in South London tonight as his motor can actually run whilst his colleagues fall by the wayside like the bunnies in those Duracell ads. Having dropped Greek, I’m soon back at HQ and heading in to knock up a late dinner for me and Mrs Taz before taking in some of Disney+’s finest Marvel based entertainment whilst curled up on the sofa. A successful day all round.
Onto Northampton next week and some more cobblers. Both figuratively and literally.