Welcome dear reader to the first Gandermonium missive of the new year people appear to be calling ‘2022’. We’re not that taken on the name if we’re honest, bit unoriginal if you ask us and it also sounds a bit too much like ‘2020’, which is just confusing for people like us what are easily confused and also that year was a proper honker, so we’d quite like to not be reminded of it cheers.
Still, 2021 despite all its pandemic and people dying type misery was actually pretty kind to those who use the Association Football in the Western part of sunny Sutton to shut out the real world. An already strange 12 months topped out in May with us stumbling into the bright lights of the Football League somehow. Something we’re still largely trying to come to terms with if we’re honest, mainly as due to Covid, we got to watch practically fuck all of it in person, so it all seemed a little unreal and remote despite the joy it provided. Oh, had we mentioned that we’re a football league team now? We had? Oh, ok. Just checking.
The latter stages of ’21 have generally been just as daft as the first bit with the U’s adapting to the rarified atmosphere in the 4th tier of English football fairly well and tipping into the Big Ben bongs on New Year’s Eve in 4th spot, just a point behind Tranmere in the auto promotion spots. Nope, we’ve still no idea how that’s happened either if we’re honest and we’ll be getting right onto trying to figure it out once we’ve processed the National League title win. So bare with us. We’d suggest getting the kettle on an making yourself comfortable, as it might take some time knowing us.
We hope that you and yours had a nice Christmas and that you found something to do other than play Monopoly and eat mince pies as Covid once more turned its beady little eye to the football and binned off all the seasonal action. Sadly, I and Mrs Taz finally drew the short straw mid-December and picked up the plague. Of course, this was all entirely my fault as I was doing crazy out of control stuff like, uh, going outside. Worst of all, I only felt like gash for 2 days, whereas her dose lasted double that. And as any chap knows giving your missus your cold\illness is generally a major offence, but giving her it and it then being worse than yours? Fate worse than death my friends. It’ll take more than a couple of bottles of red and an extra helpings of pigs in blankets over the seasonal period to smooth that one over I can tell you. I’d probably have got less earache for shagging Salma Hayek on the side.
Despite the infection, I only missed the one game isolating and that was the Harrogate dust up ably covered by my colleague Totts who happened to be on a special pre-Xmas beano back to the smoke for Dirty Barry’s Xmas shindig. I’ll leave you to check out that entry for some of the gory details, although I understand the more racy stuff is only available to his subscribers on OnlyFans. Whatever that is. Ahem. Still, having done 10 days in Covid chokey, I was properly looking forward to the Colchester game on the 29th only for those Essex slags to bin it off the day before with plague, which was quite ironic given that our original visit there was sacked off earlier this season for the same reason and featured us being called tinpot and being told to fuck off back to Non-League by some knobbers on the socials. Of course, the apologies from that part of the world literally flooded in to West Sutton after the announcement was made. Like bollocks. Still, this at least meant we spent ALL day in the pub rather than just 3-7pm we’d been planning. And we got to see proper ale boozer Indy drink Strawberry daiquiri’s. So it was educational.
And so to the start of a new year. With the New Years Eve ‘celebrations’ passing quietly at HQ with some gin, red wine and a bit of Netflix, I rise the following around 9.30 and head for the kitchen. First, the kettle needs to be put to work and then I need to start bashing out a New Years fry up for my beloved. It had been requested by her a couple of days prior and as she is the love of my life and nothing is too much when it comes to her happiness, I of course accepted the assignment. The fact I’m still in the fucking doghouse for giving her the ‘rona had absolutely nothing to do with it, no siree bob. So, with a bacon sarnie in me and her ladyship tucking into a finest full English, I head for the shower and once sorted, I’m out the door into some lovely January sunshine. With buses on Sunday times, I can’t be arsed with a 407 and instead get my march on to the station and a Thameslink round the loop direct to the Republic.
I’ve got enough time for the stroll but as I get to the bottom of the slope, the train trundles into the station. Shit! I must have mistimed it! So of course, not wanting to be stuck in the badlands for half an hour wasting VDT, I have a jog up and hop onto the service, panting and sweating like Prince Andrew at a university house party. Of course, the train has rolled in a couple of minutes early rather than me getting the timing wrong, so my unplanned exercise was unnecessary and I sit there in my mask fogging up my glasses and wiping my brow for no reason. I’m soon stepping off at West Sutton International though and with the sun still shining, it’s a walk round to the old lady on GGL and I head for the bar for a much needed pint.
There’s already a few people about and the bars are fairly busy, including a few Bristol Rovers fans who’ve popped along today after their mob have cried off for Covid again this morning, an hour after their supporters coaches had left and the day after assuring everyone they’d be playing at Orient. Still, it might benefit us as those coaches are allegedly also on their way here for our game! Swerving the queues in the MBA, I dip into the players bar and get served instantly before heading back outside. Here I spot Burgers with a bottle of Heineken in hand and we exchange seasons greetings. He then also explains how he’d had to avoid getting run over by the Exeter team coach as it drove in by jumping into the ‘pit’ next to the MBA lounge. He also reveals that he doesn’t like to be pictured drinking on TV. Over time, the usual faces drift in with a hungover Sleepy Joe passing by, a finally crutchless Dr Bell, Rax and last of all Dukey, in shorts naturally. I also catch up with old mate Kev who’s brother Paul another long standing U’s fan is in hospital currently and pretty rough. We toast his good health naturally and pass comment that the fat bastard needed to lose some weight anyway and sedation along with a bit of hospital food should help nicely in that regard. Sorry mate!
With kick off approaching, we head for the turnstiles and the first game of 2022. Along the way, I try to flip Dukey’s trademark flat cap off his bonce from the back, but it refuses to budge at all. “Has your head got fatter?” I enquire. He reckons it’s due to the fact he’s had a fresh shave of the bonce and it’s having a velcro like effect on the material. I give this some thought, but eventually decide “Nah, it’s definitely fatter head mate”. Despite a couple of our own covid cry offs in the squad, Matt’s able to put out a competitive looking eleven to face a cobbled together Exeter side, which is good as I’m hoping we can stick one on this lot after the battering we gave them at their gaff and got fuck all for. Fingers crossed!
Bouzanis, Milsom, John, Goodliffe, KIzzi, Barden, Smith, Boldewijn, Olaofe, Bugiel, Wilson. SUBS: Dundas, House, Wyatt, Davis, Bennett
You’d never know that the visitors were chucked together with whatever scraps they had for todays game as they start pretty brightly and on the front foot. We meanwhile look a little like a side that’s not played for the best part of a month and it takes us a few minutes to shake off the rust. Issac out wide offers our early threat, but several minutes in, it’s a turn on the near touchline and dart inside from Wilson that sets up our first real chance. He gets shut out and so does Bugiel up in support, but the ball is worked wide for Kizzi to clip into the middle where Omar’s carried on his run to nut in our first goal of the New Year! Great start that lads, now let’s get set and get stuck in and finish this lot earl…..ah bollocks they’ve levelled.
After the restart follwing Omar’s opener, they move the ball about around 25 yards out and a bloke finds some space to have a poke with a dipping shot. Deano gets down to make a stop, but he parries it perfectly out for their lad darting in and gambling on just this outcome and he pokes the loose ball under Bouzanis as he tries to recover. The lead has lasted all of two minutes. To rub salt into the wound, the goalscorer goes and does that Ronaldo celebration in front of the home support. He probably thinks this makes him look proper ‘baller, although he’d be mistaken as it just makes most of us go “What a cunt”. Although to be fair to him, Ronaldo himself looks a proper minge when he does it too, so it’s probably not entirely his fault.
From here, the game kind of drifts a little. They move the ball brightly, but with little to no threat and whilst we look more threatening, a final touch or pass is usually lacking and ruins any promising looking openings from becoming truly dangerous. Omar has our best sighters, but poor touch lets hime down on both occasions, with him overrunning a little ball inside from Issac after a strong run wide and then when a high ball drops to him in space in the box, his touch takes it away from him when maybe a first time swing would have been better. So level at the break, we all mill about and generally catch up with those we’ve not seen yet today and exchange the same old stuff about our boring Christmases. We also hear that the 2 coachloads of Bristol Rovers fans didn’t materialise in the end, so we guess a day out in the Republic wasn’t that appealing after all, or they simply wanted to save the surprise for next month when they’re due here anyway! Ipswich Lee is also excited to discover that some lass off Sky Sports he fancies is in today and appears to be doing a piece from the gantry over the Rec side terrace. Naturally, he gets loads of abuse for trying to get a shit pic of her with his mobile.
The second half is largely the same as the first. Neither side really getting hold of the game and largely cancelling each other out. We have a couple of sniffs, one from Wilson having a shot blocked, but the best opportunity comes from Omar latching onto a super diagonal from the back from Louis. He pulls it back edge first time, but Wilson has to take a touch and this allows a defender to get in and block the shot about a yard out from the line. Enzio also has what looks to be a half decent peno shout when he’s felled after completely doing his man far side. The best the visitors can muster is a glanced header well wide from a teasing clip into the box when the guy behind the header of the ball being in a far far better position. Then just as it looks like a draw is on the cards, the game swings our way right near the death. Ritchie Bennett is on for Omar and we’re pushing forwards, but a winner doesn’t look likely until he has a dig from 18, it’s blocked and as he goes for the loose ball on the rebound, he’s clattered just inside the 18 yard line by a defender and the ref points to the spot.
Amusingly, the perpetrator of the foul is none other than their number 6 who’s been in the refs earhole all day about what he thinks is a foul and what isn’t. Yeah, if you need examples mate, give the highlights a watch on the way home eh? Robbie Milsom takes responsibility and he rattles the spot kick high into the net as the clock clicks onto 89 minutes, giving the chirpy keeper an earful on his way past as he peels away to celebrate. Get in there! Now lads, can we please hang onto this one please? Our nerves aren’t helped by the board going up with 6 added minutes. Yeah cheers ya prick! Fortunately however, the visitors cobbled together line up has largely run out of steam and fail to really put any meaningful pressure on Deanos goal before the final whistle goes. Welcome to 2022 Sutton United! Also a nice bit of payback for that mugging we got down at their place earlier this season…
With the boys deservedly applauded off, we head to the bar with a New Years spring in our step and even better, I hit the bar to find a pint already waiting courtesy of Magnum PI. Sweet! I could get used to this! We settle in for a couple of pints whilst checking other results. Most notably a late Walsall equaliser has denied Newport all 3 points. Todays win pops us back into 3rd and we sit back to enjoy the moment, aided by some of Papparazzi Loughlin’s excellent pics, the previews of which on twitter show the moment after the penalty award just perfectly. Check it out, you could hang that shit in the Louvre. On the telly, the Porridge film from 1979 is playing out, the one where the prisoners play a ‘Celeb XI’ containing just a Weatherman from Anglia TV as a cover for an escape attempt. After a few, Steve the bar steward is letting us know the bar is closing is 5 mins and everyone decides to call it a night.
Magnum and I wander round to West Sutton station and find a train due in a few, so we head for the platform to head back to our part of the world. He’s thinking of going for a pint in Croydon, but despite fancying another beer, I’m not going all the way into Croydon. Instead I suggest we jump off at Carshalton and either go for another one in the Sun or the Greyhound on the points. Naturally, Magnum takes little persuading in also avoiding Croydon! As we hop on the train, Dirty Barry appears to take the trundle round to Sutton on his way home, but there’s no mention made of his OnlyFans. We hop off in the Badlands and head for the Sun, finding it open and pretty quiet. So we dip in and order up a couple of pints, passing an hour or so nattering about what a mad couple of seasons it’s been. But again, time catches us up and we again get booted out thanks to the gaff closing. Oh well, time for dinner then!
A quick walk later, making sure to keep an eye out for the forces of darkness in every shadow, we find ourselves in Pizza Go Go ordering up a festive bit of pizza. And with grub in hand, we’re then pleasantly surprised by a 407 almost immediately after outside, meaning I’ll be back at HQ before my pie’s even gone cold! 2022 surely is all downhill from here?? Leaving Magnum on the bus to head up the hill and over the border into the CR postcodes, I hop off and stroll into HQ with my meat feast bounty to be greeted by the missus. “Is that a pizza?”
Why yes, it’s a Shithouse, 3rd in League 2 special feast my dear. Want a slice?
PS. Get well soon Paul. Can’t have you missing out on all this Sutton in League 2 bollocks sunshine!