Sutton United captain, Jamie Collins, has admitted that although the National League side try to be as professional as they can on the pitch, they still like a pint or two the night before a game – and so does their manager!
Speaking ahead of Sutton’s FA Cup clash against Arsenal, Collins explained how even before the Leeds game, boss Paul Doswell allowed them to have a drink.
“He trusts us,” 32-year-old Collins said, according the Daily Star.
“Even for the Leeds game, he said it was okay to have one or two pints at the bar because some of the lads struggle to get to sleep in hotels.
“A few of our lads don’t mind a drink and the gaffer doesn’t mind as long as we do the business on the pitch
“Every round they’ve give us a free bar at the ground after the game, so he enjoys the lads all bonding together and having a few beers.
“We try and be as professional as we can but we’ve still got that non-League feel about the place. That’s what makes it such a great place to play.
“We were ‘tired’ after the AFC Wimbledon game because we had a free bar and there were six or seven of us who stayed until five in the morning. We slept at the ground on benches
“If we do beat Arsenal, we’d probably have to ring up work and book the rest of the week off. I am sure the gaffer would give us a couple of days off training as well. He’d probably be with us!
“He stays with us and has a drink. Sometimes he make you try and stay out a little bit longer than you should.
“We’ve been on a pre-season tour to Jersey and he was, ‘Let’s have one for the road’ in the hotel bar and we ended up until four in the morning.”
Back in the 1990s, there was a huge drinking culture attached to football, even the Premier League. In fact, Arsenal’s ‘Tuesday Club’ would get together to have a drink with the boss, George Graham, and ultimately do some team bonding.
Although more is known about the adverse affects of alcohol on an athlete’s body now than back then, it’s still common for non-league sides to go out the night before or after a game.
Can you imagine the uproar in the papers if Arsene Wenger went to the pub with the Arsenal lads? All Jack Wilshere has to do is look in the general direction of a night club and there are headlines for days.
Saying this, National League players don’t get paid nearly as much as Premiership stars. The Arsenal stars are paid hundreds-of-thousands to be professional athletes… although you wouldn’t always know it. Expectations are higher and so they should be – there’s far more at stake.