Sutton Utd will play their first EFL game in their 123 year history at The New Lawn!  The League 2 fixtures have recently been announced and Sutton will be in Nailsworth on Saturday 7th August as the new season gets underway.  Sutton were promoted as champions of The National League at the end of last season.

Omar Bugiel

This is likely to mean a return visit to The New Lawn from Sutton’s No 9, Omar Bugiel.  Rovers fans will remember the German-born Lebanese striker playing for Rovers between 2016 and 2018, making 35 appearances and scoring 8 times for us in both the National League and League 2.  After a move to Bromley, Omar moved on to Sutton in 2019 and seems to be making his mark there!

Sutton look as though they have retained the 3 players who figured in the National League’s team of the season last season.  The team of the season was a result of votes from all the National League teams.  Centre back Ben Goodcliffe, left midfielder Harry Beautyman and right midfielder David Ajiboye have all stayed with Sutton.  Vice-captain Beautyman was Sutton’s second top scorer last season.  Sutton’s own player of the season last season was their captain Craig Eastmond.  Eastmond, who began his career at Arsenal, has been with Sutton since he first signed for them in 2015.

Craig Eastmond – Sutton’s captain

Promotion to the EFL has had one big downside for Sutton.  They are having to replace their 3G playing surface with grass – the EFL doesn’t allow artificial surfaces.  Harrogate had a similar dilemna when they rose from the National League .  Sutton chairman Bruce Elliott branded the EFL ‘dinosaurs’ for their attitude to synthetic playing surfaces.  Elliott believes the 3G surface encouraged Sutton’s passing game and helped them achieve promotion.  He believes the cost of grassing the pitch at Gander Green Lane will probably be £500,000.  Part of this cost will be the loss of revenue that the club used to earn from hiring out the pitch – he says the ground was used constantly, but that will now change.

Gander Green Lane has a capacity of over 7,000 with 765 seated.

Sutton made all sorts of headlines during the 2016–17 season.  They reached the Fifth Round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history, beating three Football League teams, Cheltenham, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds Utd on the way.  They finally lost 2–0 at home to Arsenal but all the headlines that day were about their 45 year-old, 23 stone, reserve goalkeeper, Wayne Shaw.

Wayne was pictured tucking into a pasty in the 83rd minute of the tie and became an almost instant celebrity.  But things took a turn when the Gambling Commission launched a probe and found that there were odds of 8/1 pre-match that Wayne would be pictured eating a pie during the game.  Wayne was forced to resign!

Sutton have one of the league’s more unusual mascots, and at 9ft, probably one of the tallest.  Jenny the Giraffe lays claim to being being one of the very few female mascots and has been strutting her stuff around Gander Green Lane since 2009.