Sutton United F.C.
Sutton United Football Club is a professional football club in Sutton, South London, England, who play in the National League, the fifth tier of English football. They play home games at Gander Green Lane, close to West Sutton Station. The club is an FA Charter Standard Community Club affiliated to the Surrey County Football Association.
|Full name||Sutton United Football Club|
The Amber and Chocolates
|Founded||5 March 1898|
|Ground||Gander Green Lane, Sutton|
|Capacity||5,013 (765 seated)|
|2019–20||National League, 15th of 24|
Sutton 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 (now known as National League South) in 2004. Sutton won the National League South in 2015–16 and since 2016–17 have competed in the National League, one tier below the Football League.
The team has had several cup successes, including playing at Wembley in the FA Amateur Cup final twice and in the FA Trophy final in 1981. Sutton won the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1979, but the club is most famous for its FA Cup "giant killing" exploits, most notably in the 1988–89 season, when they defeated Coventry City 2–1 in the 3rd Round. The Coventry team was composed mostly of star international players and had won the competition in 1987. In the 2016–17 season, Sutton reached the 5th Round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history, beating three Football League teams (Cheltenham Town, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United) before losing 2–0 at home to Arsenal.
Formation and the early yearsEdit
The club was formed on 5 March 1898 when Sutton Guild Rovers F.C. and Sutton Association F.C. (formerly Sutton St Barnabas F.C.) agreed to merge during a meeting at the Robin Hood Hotel.
The club gained a reputation locally in junior leagues, including the Clapham League, 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 one 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 smaller scale. The Athenian League had been suspended while this happened  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 surprisingly 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[update].
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 were second in the First Division and 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 LeagueEdit
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. 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 SouthEdit
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 SouthEdit
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 at that time). 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.
The club's first ever televised league game, broadcast live on BT Sport 1, was played against Tranmere Rovers at Gander Green Lane on 17 September 2016, a game which Sutton won 1–0. 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.
On 29 January 2017, Sutton, captained by Jamie Collins, a part-time builder, beat EFL Championship side Leeds United, who had lost only three league games in the previous three months, 1–0 in the FA Cup, and reached the 5th round of the competition for the first time ever. They became only the 9th non-League side to reach the 5th round since 1945. They hosted Arsenal in the last 16 of the competition on 20 February where they lost 0–2. The game sparked a betting controversy surrounding the actions of Sutton's reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw, who ate a 'pastry' on the bench after Sun Bets offered odds of 8-1 against him eating a pie during the match. Shaw offered his resignation over the incident and Sutton were forced to play defender Simon Downer in goal in their next league game, against Torquay United, when first-choice goalkeeper Ross Worner was injured in the 15th minute. Sutton won the match 3–2.
On 4 March 2017, Sutton kept their first away clean sheet back in the non-League top flight at Barrow, a game which ended 0–0, the club's first since a 9–0 victory against Gateshead on 22 September 1990. Sutton finished the 2016–17 season mid-table in 12th.
On 19 August 2017, Sutton beat Chester in a league game to take them top of the National League, the highest league position in the club's history. In the penultimate game of the 2017-18 season on 21 April 2018, Sutton recorded their first ever win at Ebbsfleet United's home Stonebridge Road, assuring a National League play-off place. In their final game on 28 April, and in front of a record league attendance of 3,541, Sutton beat Aldershot Town at home 2-1 to claim a play-off semi-final place and a best ever league finish of third in the fifth tier. The play-off semi-final took place on 6 May 2018 against Boreham Wood in which Sutton lost 3-2.
Following a temporary break in mid-March 2019, one month later Paul Doswell resigned after 11 years as manager, as Sutton finished 9th in the league. During that time his achievements included leading the club to two league promotions, a run to the 5th round of the FA Cup, a National League play-off semi-final and a first win for an English team in the Scottish Challenge Cup. The club also prospered off the pitch with regular match attendances increasing significantly, ground improvements and the formation of an academy for young players. On 1 May his successor was announced as Matt Gray, who had joined the club as head coach in December 2018.
The yellow highlight indicates League sides beaten by Sutton.
5th Round (last 16)Edit
Sutton have one appearance in the 5th round:
- Sutton 0–2 Arsenal, played on 20 February 2017. Sutton were the 8th non-League side to reach the 5th round since 1945.
Sutton have appeared three times in the 4th round:
- Sutton 1–0 Leeds United. On 29 January 2017, while 16th in the National League, Sutton beat Leeds, 4th in the Championship, a gap of 84 places.
- Norwich City 8–0 Sutton. On 28 January 1989 Sutton lost to Norwich of the First Division.
- Sutton 0–6 Leeds United. On 24 January 1970 Sutton lost in the 1969–70 FA Cup to Leeds of the First Division, managed by Don Revie. This match also featured the record attendance for Gander Green Lane of 14,000.
- AFC Wimbledon 1–3 Sutton. On 17 January 2017 Sutton beat Wimbledon of League One in a replay, following a 0–0 draw at Gander Green Lane on 7 January.
- Sutton United 2–1 Coventry City. On 7 January 1989, Sutton, of the Conference, beat Coventry, of the First Division, in the 1988–89 FA Cup.
- Sutton 1–1 Middlesbrough. On 9 January 1988, Sutton drew with Middlesbrough of the Second Division, in the 1987–88 FA Cup, before going on to lose the replay 1–0 at Ayresome Park.
- Sutton 2–1 Cheltenham Town. On 3 December 2016 Sutton beat Cheltenham, of League Two.
- Torquay United 0–1 Sutton. On 4 December 1993 Sutton beat Torquay of the Third Division.
- Peterborough United 1–3 Sutton. On 5 December 1987 Sutton defeated Peterborough of the Fourth Division.
- Colchester United 3–4 Sutton. On 13 November 1993, Sutton defeated Colchester of the Third Division.
- Sutton 3–0 Aldershot. On 14 November 1987 Sutton defeated Aldershot of the Third Division in the 1987–88 FA Cup.
Sutton's Wembley appearances:
- Bishop's Stortford 1–0 Sutton. Sutton lost the 1980–81 FA Trophy final.
- North Shields 2–1 Sutton. Sutton lost the 1968–69 FA Amateur Cup final.
- Wimbledon 4–2 Sutton. Sutton lost the 1962–63 FA Amateur Cup final.
- Sutton 4–0 AFC Wimbledon. On 10 July 2002 Sutton became AFC Wimbledon's first-ever opponent in a pre-season friendly, ahead of Wimbledon's entry into the Combined Counties League for their first season.
- Airdrieonians 0–1 Sutton. On 8 September 2018 Sutton became one of the first two teams from England to play in the Scottish Challenge Cup, beating Airdrieonians in the second round.
Shirt and crestEdit
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 United began playing in 1898 wearing amber and chocolate brown stripes, adopting the colours of Sutton Association F.C., one of the two clubs who amalgamated to form United. 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 collar and sleeves. It changed again in 2018-19 to amber with chocolate sleeves and trim. 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 collar and sleeves. It changed again slightly in 2018-19 to all white with red trim.
|Season||Kit Manufacturer||Home Shirt Sponsor||Away Shirt Sponsor|
|2005–2007||G4S plc||G4S plc|
|2008–2009||Erreà||P.G.Marshall & Sons Ltd.||HSS Hire|
|2012–2013||Paris Smith||Drew Smith|
|2013–2015||Joma||Drew Smith||Paris Smith|
|2016–2017||Green Go Waste||Champion Timber|
|2016–2017||The Sun/Sun Bets|
Sutton United play their home games at Gander Green Lane, officially the Knights Community Stadium for sponsorship reasons. Sutton United received the seats for the grandstand at Gander Green Lane from the remodelling of Stamford Bridge and were given to them by the Chelsea F.C. Pitch Owners.
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|
|President's Trophy winners||2||2010 (shared), 2011 (shared)|
- Source: "Sutton United FC: Official Programme". 16 April 2011.
Notable former managersEdit
- George Smith
- Sid Cann, manager 1962–1974, during which period the club reached two FA Amateur Cup finals
- Dario Gradi, manager 1976–1977
- 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
- Paul Doswell, manager 2008-2019, won Isthmian League title 2011, National League South title 2016 and took the side to the 5th Round of the FA Cup, beating league sides Cheltenham Town, AFC Wimbledon, and Leeds United, before losing to Arsenal. He also took the club to their highest ever finish of 3rd place in the National League in 2018.
Notable current and former playersEdit
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Rivals and fansEdit
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, which has been dubbed the 'friendly derby'. Sutton were the first team to play the club, defeating them at home 4–0 in July 2002. On 11 April 2013, Sutton defeated AFC Wimbledon 5–2 in a Surrey Senior Cup semi-final at Gander Green Lane. In the third round of the 2016-17 FA Cup, Sutton were drawn to face AFC Wimbledon at home and the tie, played on 7 January 2017 in front of a sell-out crowd, ended 0–0. The replay took place at Kingsmeadow in front of another capacity crowd, including 809 Sutton supporters, on 17 January. Goals from Roarie Deacon, Maxime Biamou and Dan Fitchett saw the U's complete a historic comeback and win the match 3–1, putting Sutton through to the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1989.
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 use a 3G pitch at the Gallagher Stadium, in what has been named by fans El Plastico (a reference to El Clásico). Bromley also laid a 3G pitch at Hayes Lane in 2017.
Sutton United's most famous fan is comedian Tim Vine.
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.
- As of 9 August 2020
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Club management and support staffEdit
- As of 5 June 2019
|Assistant manager||Micky Stephens|
|Goalkeeper coach||Seb Brown|
|Sports therapist||Bob Childs|
|Sports therapist||Catherine Chambers|
|Fitness coach||Craig Dundas|
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