Wayne Shaw interview
Sutton United have hit the headlines this season in the FA Cup, after beating the likes of former champions Leeds United to reach the fifth round against Premier League giants Arsenal.
However, one man has stood out most from the non-league outfit’s team – despite not having played a single minute this campaign.
Goalkeeper Wayne Shaw, 45, is the person in question, and the eccentric 20-stone stopper has taken the time to speak with FootyOn ahead of his side’s home clash with the Gunners on Monday night.
Read on for our exclusive Wayne Shaw interview…
“We have over 900 FL appearances in our squad”
Sutton are currently in the National League, and aiming to join fellow fifth-tier club Lincoln City in reaching the quarter-finals – the first non-league teams to do so in 103 years.
But believe or not, Sutton have made it relatively far in the FA Cup before, including when they faced then-top flight champions Leeds back in the 1970 FA Cup 4th round.
Wayne remembers another big occasion at the club’s home ground more recently in 1989, though, when they shocked another Division 1 outfit at the time.
“Coventry City was the last big FA Cup game at Gander Green Lane,” he said.
The score was 2-1 that day and, despite not being drawn to play at the Emirates, Shaw is confident in his team and certainly up for another huge occasion at the 5000-capacity stadium.
“We have over 900 FL appearances in our squad, so playing at the Emirates would’ve been a great occasion, but we are looking forward to entertaining Arsenal.”
“80 per cent of our team are Arsenal supporters”
There is also some extra motivation for Sutton, as four of the squad actually started off their careers in Arsenal’s academy.
Jeffrey Monakana, Craig Eastmond, Jack Jebb and Roarie Deacon all came through the Gunners’ ranks.
“80 per cent of our team are Arsenal supporters, [but] Eastie and Deacs will be the only ones starting,” Shaw said.
Arsenal come into the clash on the back of a humiliating 5-1 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
But Shaw is expecting a backlash from the joint-all time FA Cup winners.
“We have a plan, if it works then all well and good. All of them (Arsenal’s team) are internationals, so we need our A game.
“We are expecting the wounded animal,” he added.
“I enjoy training with a great bunch of lads”
Meanwhile, we also asked Wayne about other aspects of football.
He travels 80 miles to every home game from Southampton, so we asked him what he does to pass the time to and from the south coast.
“I bring the manager (Paul Doswell) and assistant with me and we have a lot of banter for an hour, then talk about the team and so on after that. Never a dull moment!”
Being aged 45 and still playing is certainly an achievement at any level.
But how does he do it?
“A good diet,” he joked. “No, seriously I just enjoy being part of the squad and training with a great bunch of lads.”
What Shearer has achieved is nothing short of brilliant
Shaw also once happened to play outfield in the same Southampton youth team with a certain Alan Shearer as a schoolboy.
He had a few words to say about the all-time Premier League top scorer:
“Alan always had self belief and was mentally strong, but what he has achieved in the game and beyond is nothing short of brilliant.
“I remember his debut against Arsenal scoring a hat-trick – as I played for Reading Reserves against Arsenal at Highbury the same day, and we won 1-0.
“I was centre half in them days.”
Maybe all that would also explain his earliest memory of the FA Cup: “1976 when Southampton won the cup!”
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