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Sutton United

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Title: Sutton United  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Conference South, Malik Buari, Dean McDonald, Sport in London, Wembley F.C., Carshalton Athletic F.C., Steven Old, Glen Little, 1988–89 in English football, 1997–98 in English football
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Sutton United

Sutton United
Full name Sutton United Football Club
Nickname(s) The Us
Founded 5 March 1898
Ground Borough Sports Ground,[1]
Gander Green Lane,
Ground Capacity 7,032 (765 seated)[1]
Chairman Bruce Elliott[2]
Manager Paul Doswell[3]
League Conference South[4]
2012–13 Conference South, 6th
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours

Sutton United Football Club is an English football club currently playing in the Conference South. They are based in Sutton, London, and play their home games at the Borough Sports Ground in Gander Green Lane. The club is an FA Charter Standard Community Club affiliated to the Surrey County Football Association.[5]

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 exploits though, especially when they beat Coventry City 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 Saturday 26 January 2013. Sutton's win against Coventry remains the last time a semi-professional side beat a team from the top flight of English football.


Formation and the early years

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[6] during a meeting at the Robin Hood Hotel.

The club gained a reputation locally in junior leagues and in 1910 decided to become a senior side.[6] They joined the Southern Suburban League and won it on their first attempt.[7] 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.[8]

Athenian League

Sutton gained election into the Athenian League in 1921.[6] The team did not challenge at the top of the table and in 1926 finished last, but were re-elected.[6] Only two seasons later, in 1928, the team won its first Athenian League Championship.[7] The thirties were a good time for Sutton, who twice reached the semi-final of the FA Amateur Cup (in 1929 and 1937).[6]

During the Second World War, Sutton kept playing football but on a much smaller scale. The Athenian League had been suspended[9] 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.[7] This was also the first time the club won the Surrey Senior Cup and got through to the FA Cup first round.[7]

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,[6] something which was unusual for the time. In addition, the main stand was constructed, which today holds over 700 spectators.[1] 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.[7] 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.[6]

Isthmian League

The summer after the cup success marked Sutton's election into the Isthmian League. In 1967, they won the league title.[7] Two seasons later the club was at Wembley again for the Amateur Cup final, but surprising lost 2–1 to underdogs North Shields.[6]

1970 brought great cup success to the club once more, but this time in the form of the FA Cup. Sutton beat Hillingdon Borough[10] 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,[11] at the Borough Sports Ground. The match saw 14,000 spectators squeeze into the ground[12] 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[7] 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.[6] 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.[6]

Soon after the continental win, Keith Blunt moved on to manage Malmo 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.[7] During Williams's reign the club finished runners-up in the Anglo-Italian Cup twice more, in 1980 and 1982.[7] 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.[7] The Surrey Senior Cup win was the first of six in as many years, a record that remains unbroken, as of May 2011.[6]

Conference years

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,[13] they retained the championship the following year and this time accepted promotion after supporters helped in a large redevelopment of areas of the ground.[8] Sutton managed to cement their place in the league, often finishing mid-table.[6]

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.[13] In a memorable game, Sutton won 2–1 with goals from Tony Rains and Matthew Hanlan,[6] joining a small number of non-League clubs to beat top-division opponents in the competition. As of January 2013, no non-league club has achieved this since.[14]

Back into the Isthmian League

Two seasons later in 1991, the club suffered relegation to the Isthmian League[7] because of a goal drought and a number of injuries,.[6] 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.[7] During this period, Sutton claimed the scalps of several league clubs in the FA Cup, including Colchester United and Torquay United in 1993 alone.[6] Unfortunately, the stay in the Conference lasted just one season as the U's were relegated again in 2000.[7]

The early noughties 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 4657 at the Borough Sports Ground.[15] Sutton won the Surrey Senior Cup in 2003[16] and the following season saw the team start well and recover from a bad spell over the winter to finish second.[17]

The Conference South – present

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.[18] The next three seasons were unremarkable, with Sutton finishing mid-table each time and no real success in cup competitions.[17]

John Rains stepped down as manager in March 2006 and Ian Hazel took over the reins. By October 2006, the team were at the bottom of the Conference South and looking destined for relegation.[6] A string of managers, including Ernie Howe, Stuart Massey and Jimmy Dack failed to save the club,[19] and Paul Doswell came in as manager during the 2008 close-season.[20]

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 to remain on contention on 17 April 2011. Cray won 2–1, thus making Sutton champions.[21]

Back in the Conference South for the 2011-2012 season, where they finished 4th, in the playoffs losing to Welling United in the Semi-finals.

Shirt and crest

The club's crest is derived from that of the Borough of Sutton.[22] The difference being that United selected only the parts of the crest which represent Sutton & 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.[23] The keys inside the discs symbolise the ownership of Sutton by the Chertsey Abbey (as recorded in the Domesday Book).[23] The popinjay which sits at the top of the badge is from the arms of the Lumleys, former lords of the Manor of Cheam.[23] 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.[23] The badge also features a medieval helmet.

Season Kit Manufacturer Home Shirt Sponsor Away Shirt Sponsor
2002–2003 Kitz Securicor Securicor
2003–2004 Kitz Securicor Securicor
2004–2005 Kitz Securicor Securicor
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
2009–2010 TAG A-Plant Holiday Inn
2010–2012 TAG A-Plant Allgold Coins
2012-2013 TAG Paris Smith Drew Smith


Sutton United play their home games at The Borough Sports Ground, Gander Green Ln, Sutton, Surrey SM1 2EY.

SUFC Gambia

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.[24] 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).[24] The club, which is located in Lamin Village on the outskirts of Banjul, plays in the third tier of Gambian football known as Nawettan.[25]


Honour Number Years
Athenian League 3 1927–28, 1945–46, 1957–58
Isthmian League Premier Division 5 1966–67, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1998–99, 2010–11
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

Notable former managers

Notable supporters

Tim Vine, comedian

Robert Craig, Footballer

Notable former players

For all Sutton United players with a World Heritage Encyclopedia article see Category:Sutton United F.C. players.


The closest clubs of similar stature to Sutton include Carshalton Athletic, AFC Wimbledon, Kingstonian, Woking and Tooting & Mitcham.

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.[26] 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.[26] 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.[27]

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.[15] The most recent competitive match between the two sides was in the 2013 Surrey Senior Cup semi-final, which Sutton United won 5-2. The teams' last meeting was a Surrey Senior Cup game at Gander Green Lane on 11 April 2013; a 5–2 Sutton win.[28]


Sutton's mascot is Jenny the Giraffe.[29] 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.[30] On 3 October, Jenny took part in the 2010 Mascot Grand National at Huntingdon Racecourse[31] and finished 5th out of 41 runners.[32]

Current squad

As of 21 August 2013[33]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
England GK Tom Lovelock
England GK Wayne Shaw
England DF Charlie Clough
England DF Simon Downer
England DF Mitchell Nelson
England DF Jamie Stuart
Scotland DF Paul Telfer
England MF Dale Binns
England MF James Folkes
Ghana MF Ali Fuseini
No. Position Player
England MF Steve McKimm
England MF Sam Rents
England MF Anthony Riviere
England MF Dean Sinclair
England FW Craig Dundas
England FW Dean McDonald
England FW Damian Scannell
England FW Jamie Slabber
England FW Jamie Taylor
England FW Marvin Williams

Club management and support staff

As of 12 May 2011[33]
Role Name
Manager England Paul Doswell
Assistant manager England Micky Stephens
Player-coach England Steve McKimm
Player-Coach Scotland Paul Telfer
Physiotherapist England Bob Childs
Assistant physiotherapist England Catherine Chambers
Kitman England Clive Baxter

See also


Further reading

External links

  • Official club website
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