Sutton continue a tremendous FA Cup tradition to set up mouthwatering tie with Leeds
BENCHES borrowed from Surrey County Cricket Club’s Oval headquarters were needed to pack in more fans the last time Sutton United hosted Leeds in the fourth round of the cup.
00:02, Thu, Jan 19, 2017
| UPDATED: 00:13, Thu, Jan 19, 2017
Sutton hosted Leeds in the FA Cup 47 years ago when Don Revie was in charge
That was 47 years ago next Tuesday and Sutton chairman Bruce Elliott remembers it well, as he helped haul the wooden benches around the perimeter track at Gander Green Lane.
The National League side’s historic late win at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night was yet another chapter in the club’s superb cup tradition. Everyone remembers their most famous moment – beating first division Coventry in 1989 thanks to Matt Hanlan’s goal.
This latest victory means they will face Championship side Leeds at the Lane on Sunday week – and the memories will flood back for Elliott.
Don Revie’s Leeds were the best in the land when they arrived in Sutton in January 1970. They had just won the Football League and in that team that day at Gander Green Lane were the likes of Peter Lorimer, Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles, Allan Clarke and Jack Charlton. A full strength side in other words.
Sutton chairman Bruce Elliott remembers bringing in the wooden benches to Gander Green Lane
Sutton caused an FA Cup upset against AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night
Leeds ran out 6-0 winners against the part-timers, Clarke netting four goals and Lorimer two.
Elliott was then a 22 year old member of the Supporter’s Committee. “I remember the club hired in some benches from the Oval and we placed them on the inside of the perimeter fence – that would never happen these days,” says Elliott, who is now an accountant. “I don’t know why they picked me to help – maybe they thought I was one of the more sensible ones.
“We had 14,000 there that day in the end. Times have changed. It’s pure nostalgia.
“There’s an enormous amount to do between now and next weekend. But we won’t be putting up any temporary stands. We will have 5,000 fans in – we will need extra stewards and police – but we will be fine.”
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Elliott, who has been chairman of the National league side for 20 years now, says: “What do I remember of that 1970 game? Not much! I remember sitting on those benches!
“The Leeds side of that time was reckoned to be probably the best club side in Europe. I remember the team they put out – household names, all of them. Bremner, Charlton, Giles, Reaney, Lorimer, Hunter. You knew everything about them. We lost 6-0. But that was their proper team.”
Sutton turfed out League Two Cheltenham in the second round and Wimbledon became just the latest in a long list of League victims on Tuesday night, when late goals from Roarie Deacon, Maxime Biamou and Dan Fitchett secured a chance for revenge.
Sutton manager Paul Doswell has warned Leeds to expect a tough match
“I’ve still not really come to terms with it [the 6-0 thrashing], says Elliott. “We’ve got so little time to get things ready. It is mayhem right now. But that game showed that we are not just a decent side on our 3G pitch. It showed we have some good players.
“Every year our ambition is just to get to the first round, so you find yourselves in the 4th and it is magical.”
Manager Paul Doswell has warned Leeds – third in the Championship – that on their own 3G pitch, Sutton can be a match for anyone.
Sutton’s players and management celebrated long and loud back at their clubhouse on Tuesday night and Elliott winced as he recalled the evening. “I was there until 1.15am – and they were still going strong,” he says. “Some of them camped there the night I think. But if you can’t enjoy an occasion like this, when can you?”
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