Sutton United are flying high in the National League this season, sitting comfortably at the very top of the table with a four-point lead over the team in second, Hartlepool.
Not only do the U’s have a four-point lead, but also three games in hand, which could take their lead over Hartlepool to an eye-watering 13 points if they were to win them, and they are also ten points clear of third-place Torquay.
If they finish top, they will gain automatic promotion to the football league and League Two, higher in the football pyramid than Sutton have ever been before.
SWL spoke to Sutton’s press secretary, Tony Dolbear, to get an insight into just how good this season has been for the team from Gander Green Lane.
Dolbear said: “It has been remarkable. There’s tremendous credit due to manager Matt Gray, his assistant Jason Goodliffe, and all the coaching staff as well as the squad for this fabulous season so far.
“It’s gone better than we ever would have imagined. You always want to do well, but I’m not sure anyone at the start of the season would seriously have thought at the end of March we would be four points ahead with games in hand.”
Usually in a runaway season, a team will be expected to have a standout player, but Dolbear insisted that the whole team and their cohesion is the reason behind their success.
He explained: “It has been a team effort. The defence have been fantastic, because of them we have the second-best defensive record in the league, and that’s a joint effort.
“The players who get the headlines are your Harry Beautyman’s, who is in double figures from midfield for the second season in a row. Then there’s Craig Eastmond, who is club captain, and Isaac Olaofe, who is back on loan from Millwall for a second stint with the club and has 10 goals this season. They are the ones who are getting the publicity, but you can’t ignore the defence as a whole.”
An uplift in form after the Christmas period last season saw the club pick up some momentum, which they have not yet lost, and a reason for this is the club managing to keep hold of all of their players over the summer, with the exemption of Nik Tzanev who was on-loan from League One side AFC Wimbledon.
There were three summer signings to bolster the squad, in the form of attacker Tobi Sho-Silva, Australian goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis, and the successful recapture of Olaofe.
Those who are promoted from the National League reach the promised land of League Two and receive the status of being a football league team, something Sutton have never managed before.
Sutton United have always been a team in and around non-league and this possible jump to league football is something fans will now be focusing on as the season comes towards its finale.
Dolbear added: “The idea of being a league football club can’t really be understood by someone who started watching them in the 70s, but we are having to think about it now, so it is a really exciting time.”