Promoted to League Two 2021
Sutton St Barnabas
Date of formation unknown
Formerly Sutton St Barnabas
Sutton Guild Rovers
Date of formation unknown
1898-1899 a A
1935-1936 d w A
1945-1947 x A
1947-1948 x A
1962-1963 f y
4 May 1963 t y
1968-1973 e g y A
1974-1978 m y
25 April 1979 z
1984-1986 f j
1991-1993 o p
1993-1996 q r s
1997-1998 h u
1998-2003 h u
2008-2009 o u
2009-2012 0 u
2016-2017 o u
20 Feb 2017 v
2017-2018 o u
In 1857 Sutton St Barnabas Cricket Club was formed and at some stage, it was decided to buy a set of 11 caps in claret and gold. A local supplier quoted a price of 17/6 (88p) each. This was quite a sum at the time (equivalent to about £50 today), far beyond the means of the members. However, the supplier offered a set of similar caps in chocolate and amber for just 3/6 (18p) each. When the club formed a football section they automatically adopted these colours.
In March 1898, Sutton Association (previously Sutton St Barnabas) and Sutton Guild Rovers agreed to merge. The new side played in the distinctive chocolate and amber stripes inherited from Sutton Association, competing in junior competitions including the Clapham League.
in May 1910 Sutton became a senior side and joined the Southern Suburban League which they won at the first attempt. They had several grounds during their formative years including the Sutton Adult School Ground in 1912-13 although they had to quit at the end of the season when the Adult School formed its own team.
It was decided by the committee to suspend operations during the First World War. A few friendy matches were arranged in February 1919 and in August 1919 they returned to the Adult School Ground, now known as Gander Green Lane. This has remained Sutton's home ever since.
Sutton were elected to the amateur Athenian League in 1921 and in 1928 they won the title for the first time.
The club colours were changed to green and white in 1929 although there is no record of how these were arranged. The experiment lasted just two season after which the traditional chocolate and amber were reinstated. This time the shirts were quartered but were so enormous that the lower panels all but disappeared when tucked into the players' equally voluminous knickers.
After the Second World War the U's won the Athenian League easily in 1945-46 as well as the Surrey Senior Cup. Over the following decade the club made slow but steady progress, becoming a limited company and building a modest main stand. A neighbouring plot of land was acquired for a car park while new terraces were built using old railway sleepers. Much of the work was undertaken by supporters on a volunteer basis.
For the first time, the team wore a crest in 1947-48, the coat of arms of the Sutton and Cheam Borough Council. This would appear on and off until the late 60s.
A third Athenian League title came in 1958 as well as the London Senior Cup.
In 1963 Sutton reached the FA Amateur Cup Final for the first time but lost to Wimbledon. New floodlights were installed over the summer while work to improve the facilities underneath the main stand were completed. To cap it all, the club were invited to join the Isthmian League, at the time still an amateur competition but at a higher standard than the London centred Athenian League, with teams drawn from a much wider geographical area. United won the title in 1967.
In 1970 Sutton were briefly in the national spotlight when they hosted Don Revie's Leeds United in the FA Cup. Around 14,000 spectators crammed themselves into Gander Green Lane to witness Leeds, with a team of eleven internationals, win 6-0. A fashionable cypher featured on the team shirts around this time.
The FA chose Sutton United as one of the four English teams to play in the 1979 Alitalia Challenge Cup (previously the Ango-Italian Cup). They reached the final and were presented by the FA with a set of England strips which they wore in the match itself, beating Chieti 2-1.
Sutton won the Isthmian League for the second time in 1985 but were denied promotion to the Football Conference because their stadium was not up to the required standard. When the team won the title again a year later, supporters mobilised to clear the old wooden sleepers and allow proper concrete terracing to be installed while the perimiter fence, main stand and changing rooms were redecorated. The improvements met with the approval of Conference officials and Sutton United became established as a solid, mid-table side in the higher league.
The club crest was reintroduced in 1987 with the club's name replacing the borough council motto on the scroll. The keys on the shield represent the ownership of the borough by Chertsey Abbey while the popinjay (parrot) sitting atop the helmet is from the arms of the Lumley family, former lords of the manor in Cheam.
The team were in the headlines in 1988-89 when they battled through the FA Cup qualifying rounds to earn a home tie with Coventry City in the third round proper. Coventry were then in the First Division and had won the FA Cup just 18 months before but they went down 2-1 in a memorable match that saw Sutton join the small number of non-league sides to have claimed a top flight scalp in the FA Cup.
In 1991 United dropped back into the Isthmian League and although they were promoted in 1999 they dropped down again after one season. During this period they defeated a number of Football League sides in the FA Cup.
To mark their centenary quartered shirts in the traditional club colours were introduced for 1997-98. These featured a special crest for that season which was replaced by an updated version of the 1987 badge, now rendered in full-colour. The quartered shirts proved very popular and were retained until 2005 when they were replaced with broad stripes.
In 2004-05 the Football Conference was expanded with two new regional divisions. Sutton were placed in Conference South because of their strong position in the Isthmian League the previous season but in 2008-09 they were relegated. Their manager, Paul Doswell, had reintroduced an all-amber Errea strip for this season but the colour appeared to be paler than the traditional deep amber and, given the poor team performances, it was no surprise when this was dropped the following season.
In 2011 they were back in Conference South and in 2015-16 they were crowned as champions, earning automatic promotion to what was now known as the National League.
In May 2021 Sutton United won the National League championship with a game to spare to earn a place in the English Football League for the first time in their history.
- (a) Sutton United Official Website
- (b) Our Warwickshire
- (c) Craven Herald & Pioneer
- (d) Mary Evans Picture Library
- (e) isthmian.co.uk
- (f) eBay
- (g) ozwhitelufc.net.au
- (h) Alliance to Conference 1974-2004 (John Harman 2004)
- (i) Sutton United Match Programme 30 September 1986
- (j) Sutton United Match Programme 9 February 1985
- (k) Sutton United Match Programme 23 August 1983
- (l) Isthmian.co.uk
- (m) Sutton United Handbook 1977-78
- (n) Sutton United Match Programme 18 August 1990
- (o) Old Football Shirts
- (p) YouTube
- (q) Sutton United Match Programme 22 August 1995
- (r) Sutton United Match Programme 27 August 1994
- (s) Sutton United Match Programme 26 March 1994
- (t) Getty Images
- (u) From the Lane
- (v) The Sun
- (w) Alamy Stock Photos
- (x) Football Cartophilic Info Exchange
- (y) Tony Sealey
- (z) The Non-League Paper (2 September 2012) submitted by Tony Sealey
- (A) Sutton United Football Club 1898-1973
Photo credit: Our Warwickshire. Crests are the property of Sutton United FC.