Thanks to the FA Cup non league Lincoln and Sutton United have slid into the hearts of football fans across the country. Lincoln are the first non league side in 103 years to reach the Quarter Finals after defying the odds and beating Premier League Burnley. They will be rewarded with an away tie at the Emirates.
Firstly I’d like to address the people who are downplaying the success of the lower league teams in the competition. I think claims that larger teams don’t care about the cup are very inaccurate at this stage in the competition. Everyone in the last round of the FA Cup are there because they want to win it.
Now Sutton United. The club is managed
by Paul Doswell, I interviewed Paul when he came
to Bootham Crescent and can say he’s the nicest manager I’ve come in contact with. On top of this I’ve heard that he manages Sutton for free; as well as taking out a £500k loan for their synthetic pitch. Seems like a decent bloke to be honest!
Now I love a good cup run and I think it’s fantastic that non league is getting the exposure it deserves. However the way Sutton have gone about things during this time has been a massive contrast to the Lincoln story.
Firstly the announcement of ‘The Sun’ as a temporary sponsor was understandably questioned by football fans alike following their involvement in the cover up of the death of 96 football fans at Hillsborough. That alone can surely only take the shine off their successful FA Cup campaign.
The big controversy surrounded Wayne Shaw, the viral goalkeeper dubbed ‘The Roly Poly Goalie’. Approaching the Arsenal game he was given 8/1 odds to eat a pie live on TV. And that he did.
Manager Paul Doswell was less than impressed however with the manager admitting “I don’t think it shows us in the best light”.
Now the real debate seemed to be if it was a pie or a pasty, either way I just couldn’t see how what he was doing wasn’t a PR stunt, and Sutton United were effectivley selling out. However that might just be me being cynical?
A few fans felt the same and voiced their opinions over Twitter:
Shaw has recently resigned from his position as Goalkeeper Coach following an investigation from the FA and Gambling Commission.
He has since spoken to BBC Radio 4:
“We are told we are not allowed to gamble as it is full-time professional football,” Shaw explains. “In no way did I put anyone in jeopardy of that – this is not the case here, this is just a bit of fun and me being hungry.”
Aside from opinions from myself and others I understand that football is a business at the end of the day. The potential economic factors will always outweigh the moral standpoint of those in charge of non league clubs.
Good luck to Lincoln in the Quarter Finals, do Non-League proud.