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FA Cup Heroes Are a Team of Professionals
Published: 17-02-2017 at 09:58
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The suggestion that teams outside the top five divisions of English football are completely made up of players who spend their days building, baking and butchering are, quite simply, far from the truth.

This weekend will see Sutton United compete in the Fifth Round of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time ever, but don't be fooled into thinking this is a team made up of part-timers.

 

For starters, Sutton have three former Arsenal players in their ranks, including one who made a UEFA Champions League appearance for the Gunners.

 

Craig Eastmond (midfielder) – A member of Arsenal's 2008/09 FA Youth Cup-winning side, he made 10 first-team appearances for the Gunners, including one against Shakhtar Donetsk in Europe.

 

Roarie Deacon (winger) – Started out at Arsenal and signed professional terms before a switch to Sunderland. He has since played for Stevenage and Crawley Town in the Football League, and also represented England at under-19 level.

 

Jeffrey Monakana (winger) – A youth career at Arsenal, including being rewarded with a four-year contract at the age of 14, was followed by spells at a host of clubs including Preston North End, Brighton, Aberdeen and Bristol Rovers.

 

Then there's a midfielder who was once signed by Middlesbrough for a reported £1.4 million...

 

Nicky Bailey (midfielder) – Started out at Sutton and worked his way up, all the way up to the Championship with Boro and later Millwall. He has also played for Charlton Athletic and Southend United.

 

And Bailey isn't the only player to make a substantial number of Football League appearances.

 

Kevin Amankwaah (defender) – A full-back with more than 300 professional appearances to his name, for the likes of Bristol City, Swansea City and Swindon Town.

 

Matt Tubbs (striker) – A pivotal part of Salisbury City's rise early in his career, he has gone on to score goals for Crawley, Bournemouth, Rotherham, AFC Wimbledon and Portsmouth, amongst others.

 

Dean Beckwith (defender) – A towering centre-back who won promotion to the Football League with Hereford United. He has since played for Northampton and Luton, prior to joining Sutton.

 

Paul Doswell's side isn't limited to players from these shores either. Like Arsenal, Sutton are partial to a Frenchman.

 

Maxime Biamou (striker) – Joined at the start of the season after spells with French teams Yzeure AS and Villemomble. He bagged the all-important second goal at AFC Wimbledon in the third round.

 

Bedsente Gomis (midfielder) – A Lens youth-teamer who had spells in France and Spain before moving to England, first with Southend, then Sutton. He was voted Player of the Year at the end of 2014/15.

 

Then there are these gems...

 

Simon Downer (defender) – He's Sutton through and through. In his third spell with the club, Downer has won the Ryman League and National League South titles, and was a stand-out performer in the Second Round victory against Cheltenham Town.

 

Jamie Collins (defender) – The goalscoring hero of the Fifth Round. Collins, who has also played for fellow National League clubs Forest Green Rovers and Eastleigh, kept his cool from the penalty spot to score the winner against Leeds United.

 

Watch Sutton United take on Arsenal in the FA Cup at Gander Green Lane, live on BBC One on Monday 20th February, kick-off at 7.55pm.

 


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