FANS' ZONE 28/05/2021
ALL CREDIT TO SUTTON - WORTHY CHAMPIONS AS THE BEES PROVE TO BE TOO IRRITATING BUT THERE IS ANOTHER ROUTE TO THE EFL Congratulations to National League Champions Sutton United for a dream promotion into the EFL or the first time in their 123 year history - and still with one round of matches to play.
Go back 48 hours and United fans- the 1561 lucky ones with tickets - were looking forward to not only returning to Plainmoor but more importantly to three points against lowly Barnet. But then, how many teams like Saturday’s visitors come to Torquay and spoil the party?
In reality, socially distanced inside such a small ground and masked-up, is not conducive for relentless chanting and vocal support and so it proved and that mythical 12th man never really materialised. If only…..
Still, 2-0 ahead, it has to be said against the run of play, and Torquay were doing what was required. But even before the penalty give-away the warning signs had been there as United’s defence seemed to crumble against speedy forwards, the most notable being Adam Randell’s diving header off his own goal-line.
With seven shots on target and three off fans would have been forgiven thinking all could be put right but these stats remarkably belong to the visitors so it was no surprise when Barnet’s endeavours were rewarded with an equaliser. And, in truth, nobody would have been shocked had they gone on to win.
So, ever the optimists many of the Yellow Army went into Sunday expecting Hartlepool to give Sutton a tough encounter but nothing could have been further from the truth as the visitors never had a look in with the Champions comfortably collecting their title, trophy and medals.
As Adam Virgo, BT Sports, said on Sunday, “ Champions by chance? No, by quality.” Sutton can now go ahead with digging up their 3G surface as they have been planning for this eventuality for some time. And, when asked on BT Sport, their chairman did suggest that the work could be done in time without needing to ground share.
What next for United? Well, clearly the play-offs to prepare for after this Saturday’s final league fixture at Altrincham. With six dropped points from the last three matches Gary Johnson would want his side to go into the play-off semi-final with some kind of positive momentum. And if his lengthy managerial experience hasn’t been needed from time to time already it’s certainly going to be in the next month as he settles not just the players’ nerves but the Yellow Army’s too.
With a potential final not until June 20 that’s a long old time in which to remain mentally sharp. Waiting until then to know if you’re promoted raises other issues too, players need a break, managers, coaching staff need a break before pre- season training starts.
Have some sympathy for on-loan Adam Randell, for example, with his final game now hopefully June 20, his Plymouth Argyle colleagues start their pre-season on June 23. Still, he’s young and fit!
Add in the date for the first round of League 2 fixtures being August 7 and you can see things are tight. Factor in retained lists and players released and signed and it’s easy to see there are many varied and complicated football decisions ahead. Guess it’s called the business end of the season for a reason!
The Government’s fan-led review on football governance is building nicely as Tracey Crouch’s ten person panel was announced over the weekend with former England manager and recently retired Crystal Palace boss, Roy Hodgson, added to the committee who met for the first time on Monday.
It has been interesting to note how a number of clubs have begun to make moves to involve their supporters. Take for example Chelsea who have made a move to improve transparency by promising to elect three ‘supporter advisers’. There’s talk, too, about clubs offering a ‘golden share’ along the lines that Brentford do as their trust has a fan director who holds one.
And don’t forget there’s still time for the Yellow Army to be involved in having a say as to how football is run by joining the TUST social next Tuesday, June 1 at 6.30pm. Join us to welcome Football Supporters’ Association Chair, Malcolm Clarke who will show us how to be involved and get our opinions across to Tracey Crouch. It promises to be an important evening, find full details at: TUST EXCLUSIVE! CONSULTATION EVENT WITH THE FSA CHAIR
Although the visit to Altrincham doesn’t carry the weight it did, nevertheless it is a vital part of the build-up for the play-offs.
Back to ‘Three Word Fun’ - can you sum-up in three words the season we’ve all just watched over the past nine months? Send yours to: firstname.lastname@example.org or to Twitter: @FanszoneT
To all the Yellow Army stay safe and with the age groups dropping, when offered, get your vaccination.
SUPPORT TUST - SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY
COMING SOON - OUR NEXT MEMBERS' ZOOM EVENING Tuesday 1st June at 6.30pm Your opportunity to discuss the fan-led review and other matters in the footballing world with our special guest, Malcolm Clarke, Chair of the FSA and FA Council member. Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83615632012?pwd=S243bVF3QTNhVmo5UzJhaUtPWWdBQT09