By Matt Badcock
Harry Beautyman hasn’t been back at Sutton United long but he can already see they’ve got the potential to last the distance in the National League promotion race.
While many thought Paul Doswell’s U’s would be pedalling in squares by now, they’ve shown no signs of dropping off the pace and sat joint-second ahead of the weekend.
Midfielder Beautyman returned to Gander Green Lane from Stevenage this month after five years away and spells at Welling United and in the Football League with Peterborough United and Northampton Town.
The 25-year-old has been impressed with the squad he’s joined and believes anyone who saw their 2-1 win against Dagenham & Redbridge last Saturday will agree.
“Teams were possibly looking at Sutton and thinking they won’t last the duration,” Beautyman said. “Don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of games left and points to play for so we’re not getting carried away.
“But I think anyone watching on the telly on Saturday will realise we are good contenders. We aren’t mucking about – we do want to get out of the league. The most important thing in the league is obviously consistency. It’s getting to the nitty gritty now and every point is massive.”
Boss Doswell feels Beautyman’s January return is an indicator of how the club have progressed in recent years – and the former Leyton Orient youngster knows people will look to him to perform on the pitch.
“I do feel there is a bit of expectation on me, and rightly so,” he said. “I don’t really let that worry me or get in the way. When I was first here I was 19, so I was still a kid learning the game.
“Little things like inconsistency can creep in when you’re young and haven’t been there and done it. So I do feel a bit of expectation.
“But at this stage of the season it’s about staying focused. If you do take your foot off the gas that’s when you slip away – two losses and you’re moving a good few places. A few wins and you’re right near the top places. It’s all about keeping level headed.”
Beautyman and former Stevenage team-mate Joe Martin – who played in the Championship for Blackpool and won League Two with Gillingham – are getting set to launch their own soccer school.
The Beautyman Martin Academy is aimed at boys and girls aged 5-14 and kicks off this February half-term in Upminster.
With fully qualified FA coaches, they want the set-up to deliver quality coaching sessions but Beautyman says it’s about allowing children to simply play because they love football.
“Between the two of us we’ve played under some really good managers,” Beautyman said. “We want to give back to the kids what we’ve learnt over the years. We want to make it as professional as possible, but the most important thing for us is the kids enjoy it.
“We feel that in modern-day society there’s not enough importance on kids enjoying their football like we did as youngsters.
“Clubs try and get kids on contracts too early now. It’s a little bit too much, too soon. We’re all about putting good quality sessions on without it being too serious where the kids have got loads of pressure on them and they’re constantly being monitored for contracts.
“You’re getting kids at the age of nine being scouted by Man City, then all of a sudden Man United and Chelsea are looking at them. At that age, obviously it’s about learning along the way, but it’s about enjoying it more than anything.”
*This article originally featured in The @NonLeaguePaper, which is available every Sunday and Monday