27. Mar, 2022


This Sunday Sutton United face Rotherham United in the Pappa Johns Trophy Final, a historic occasion for the Surrey club. It will be their first visit to Wembley as a Football League club. They last appeared at the National Stadium in 1981, losing the FA Trophy Final to Bishop Stortford.

Only Six years ago Sutton were plying their trade in the National League South. United won the title in 2016 and went on to to be crowned National League Champions in 2020. It was a fitting reward for one of this Country's leading non league clubs. five times winners of the Isthiman League, they also won the Anglo Italian Cup in 1979.

In 1970 Sutton played Leeds United in the FA Cup 3rd Round. At the time Leeds were one of the best sides in Europe, a year earlier Don Revie's men had won the League Title. It was therefore no surprise when the home side were beaten 6-0 by Bremner, Giles and co.. However Sutton would gain revenge when they beat the Yorkshiremen in 2019, winning a 4th round tie 2-1, the same season saw Leeds promoted to The Premier League.

But ask most Us fans to name the club's greatest day and I reckon Saturday January 7th 1989 would top the lot. It was the day First Division (now Premier League) Coventry City were beaten in a FA Cup 3rd Round tie. The Sky Blues were one of the best teams in the Country, they had won the FA Cup Eighteen months earlier and sat 5th in the First Division. Many experts expected a comfortable trip to Sutton's splendly named Gander Green Lane.

But Sutton manager Barrie Williams had different ideas. The local English teacher had a passion for the poetry of Rudyard Kipling and would recite Kipling's verse in pre match team talks. The pipe smoking Welshman was even featured on Football Focus reading his hero's work.

Sutton certainly had faith when all around had doubts. A mantra that was strengthened when the underdogs took a shock 42nd minute lead. Micky Stephens corner was flicked on by Nigel Golley (pictured above). With the Coventry defence rooted to the spot, Tony Raines stole in and headed the ball beyond Steve Ogrizovic.. Gander Green Lane went wild. But normal service appeared to be resumed on 52 minutes when City equalised. Steve Sedgley's through ball sent David Phillips clear. This time Phillips kept his head and Coventry City were level.

But the underdogs restored their lead seven minutes later. Coventry were again undone by a well worked corner. This time Stephens pulled the ball back to Paul Dawson, the midfielder's first time cross was nodded in by Matthew Hanlon. This time Coventry had no answer,,Cyrille Regis was denied by Us goalkeeper Trevor Roffe,y while Sedgley hit the post. Sutton hung on to record a famous victory. It was the first time in 3 years that a non league club had beaten a club from the top tier of English football. On that occasion Altrincham had beaten Birmingham City. But with due respect to Alty, the Blues were struggling badly when they triumphed at St Andrews. Instead many compared the victory to Hereford United's famous 1972 win over Newcastle United. The Southern League giantkillers beat the Toon in the FA Cup 4th Round. The game best remembered for Hereford's first goal, Ronnie Radford's 30 yard screamer on a muddy Edger Street pitch.

The Sutton fairytale ended in Round 4. First Division Norwich City beat the Us 8-0 at Carrow Road. Despite the heavy defeat, Sutton United will always be remembered as FA Cup giantkillers.