Ben Gilby caught up with Sutton United’s Olivia Watson (pictured above by Paul Loughlin), who we are proud to co-sponsor with Since ’71 to find out about how her final games of the campaign went and her aims for the new season.
Olivia began by outlining what she’s been up to on and off the pitch since we last caught up a two months or so ago. “I have been enjoying being back in training and we have been fortunate to have been playing regular Sunday matches up until our season ended. We are currently having a short break from football until preseason starts in early July. Off the pitch, I have been enjoying the restrictions being lifted slightly and being able to go out and spend time with friends and family.”
Sutton United had plenty of games since restrictions were lifted, both in the London and South-East Round Robin competition and the Capital Intermediate Cup. “The Spring round robin cup was a good experience as we were able to play teams that we haven’t played this season and wouldn’t have in our league. We played really well in all our games and won them all, even beating teams in the league above us, which was amazing and a great confidence boost for us all. We also then played in the Capital Intermediate cup and won our quarter-final, 3-1 but unfortunately were knocked out in the semis, which was disappointing.”
“I think my form has been quite good, not the level I want to or strive to be at but considering the long breaks due to Covid this season, I am happy with how I have played since coming back in March. I was a bit rusty at first and have only managed to score three times, which is something I want to improve on next season. However, I feel that my speed on the ball has been good and my confidence with the ball at my feet has improved.”
“In terms of how the team have progressed, I feel that we have really grown and come together. We have been working hard in training and performing well in our matches – we have been playing some of the best football we have played this season. We have worked on some aspects of our game, which we have shown on the pitch, and scored lots of goals, which helped us to win our group in the Spring Round Robin Cup. Now, I am really looking forward to pre-season and continuing this.”
Looking ahead to next season, Olivia’s plans are already settled. “I will definitely still be at Sutton, I have recently signed a new contract for the 2021/22 season and can’t wait to be with the team pushing for promotion. Despite the men’s team having to take up their 4G pitch having won promotion to the EFL, we will still be playing our home games at Gander Green Lane on the stadium pitch, which is very exciting and amazing opportunity for us all.”
With only a short gap between the end of the spring matches and pre-season starting, Olivia outlined her plans for the next few weeks.
“We have had a couple of weeks or so off and I have been spending as much time as I can with my friends and family, going for food and drinks, watching the Euros and enjoying a bit of freedom. I also went away, in the UK, with my family for a weekend, which was great. I have also been going to the gym and running, so hopefully, I can maintain my fitness ready for pre-season.”
With the FA having recently announced the re-allocation of clubs to various divisions as a result of applications, Sutton United will remain in the London & South-East Regional League Division One (tier six).
“I’m not 100% sure what the league will look like for next season,” Olivia commented, “but I know that Walton Casuals and Dorking Wanderers have moved up into the league and New London Lionesses have gone up to the Premier Division. So, I think it will be, us, Hackney, Clapham, Victorie, Watford, Phoenix, Walton Casuals and Dorking Wandererss, so it should be a good competitive season, in which hopefully we will be pushing for the top.”