'I think a book will be written one day' - Hawks boss Paul Doswell on old club Sutton United reaching Wembley in first-ever Football League season

Paul Doswell spoke of his pride after seeing his old club Sutton United write another chapter in their 'incredible football story' this week.

By Lewis Mason
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 2:17 pm
Hawks boss Paul Doswell had an 11-year stint as Sutton manager Picture: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Hawks boss Paul Doswell had an 11-year stint as Sutton manager Picture: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

And the current Hawks boss revealed he and his assistant boss at Westleigh Park, Ian Baird, will be in attendance to watch the U's at Wembley next month by invitation of chairman Bruce Elliott.

Sutton, promoted to the Football League for the first time in their history as champions last term, have a fairy-tale occasion to look forward to under the world famous arch of the national stadium in the EFL Trophy final on Sunday, April 3.

The U's penalty shoot-out success at League One and former Premier League club Wigan on Tuesday set up a Wembley showpiece with fellow third-tier side Rotherham.

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Doswell knows better than anyone the meteoric rise Sutton have enjoyed over the past 15 years - having taken the job as manager when the club were relegated to seventh-tier for the 2008-09 season.

He guided them to Isthmian League Premier play-off glory in his first Gander Green Lane campaign and when his 11-year reign came to an end in 2019 the south London outfit were established at National League level.

Yet even Doswell – who also led Sutton to a fifth-round FA Cup meeting with Arsenal in 2017 – has been blown away by the success which has followed since his departure three years ago.

Sutton boss Matt Gray has stepped up from his Doswell’s old coaching staff to not only lead the U's to fourth in League Two in their first Football League season at present, but now a Wembley final to follow suit – the first time they’ll walk out at the national stadium since an FA Trophy appearance in 1981!

‘You can’t praise what’s gone on there highly enough, it’s an incredible football story, I think a book will be written one day - from Ryman Premier to Wembley,’ said Doswell.

‘The last three years have been down to Matt and Jason (Goodcliffe; assistant manager), the previous 12 (years) were with me. For 15 years it’s been on an upward curve.

‘It’s a source of great pride to me that they’ve carried on. It’s a special club, it is a special club, it works differently to most other clubs.’

Doswell's number two at National League South Hawks, Baird, was also his his trusted assistant manager at Sutton for five years from 2014.

And Doswell told how he and the U's chairman Elliott reflected on just what an astonishing position the U’s find themselves today given where they were in the non-league pyramid less than 20 years ago.

‘Bruce Elliott (Sutton chairman) range me yesterday and myself, my wife, Ian Baird and his partner have said we’re going to be up there with them. He’s going to sort it all out for us, which is lovely,’ added Doswell.

‘What we both said to each other, Ryman Premier to Wembley, it’s just incredible.’