Pic: Andy Nunn
AFTER the season they’ve just had, it would take a heart of stone to deny Sutton United one more big moment.
With so much talk about their pitch this year, it was fitting that it was their 3G surface that helped them scoop one more victory at the National Game Awards on Wednesday.
Some of the club’s fans raised eyebrows when the decision was made to dig up their grass two years ago. No-one is asking any questions any more. It’s not just to do with what the club has achieved on the pitch, either.
The facility has made breathed new life into the club and into the borough. Over 40 clubs use or train at Gander Green Lane and they are proud of the fact their walking and disability football is helping break down barriers.
Of course, getting the community to embrace their surroundings helps with something special to put before them – and with bargain £99 season tickets available to everyone, if you are teenager you get to see games for £1.50 a match!
Who knows, next year could see a repeat on their incredible FA Cup run where Sutton beat Forest Green, Cheltenham, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United on their 3G before hosting mighty Arsenal.
For Bobby Childs, community fund manager as well as first-team physio, the award is recognition for many hours of work in south west London, from players, staff and community alike.
“It’s fantastic for the club, there was a lot of work before I started at the club, so for those guys who have put the groundwork in over the years is great for them,” he said as he collect the NGA, supported as ever by the Football Foundation.
“Things like this bring people into the club who wouldn’t normally be involved, who wouldn’t necessarily come to games, and it raises our profile too. We’re not just there to pay players, it’s deeply-rooted in the club.”
Chairman Bruce Elliott added: “It’s absolutely unbelievable, we’ve had a surreal season anyway so it’s a great way to end it. When we put the 3G pitch, people had their opinions of it, but we’ve had it there for two years now and it’s the best decision the club has ever made.”