House of Payne: Football's power brokers should take a leaf out of Sutton United's book

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Feeding the fans: Sutton United's free entry offer brought in a bumper crowd for the Skrill South clash against Basingstoke last month Feeding the fans: Sutton United's free entry offer brought in a bumper crowd for the Skrill South clash against Basingstoke last month

Experience tells us it should not, but sometimes the contempt in which football’s power brokers hold their paying customers still has a capacity to shock.

Less than a week after the Football Association had its funding cut because fewer people are playing the game, it saw fit to market a shirt on sale for £90.

Yes, there is a cheaper option (£60), but how much pressure are parents going to be under to buy “the one the players wear”?

Despite numerous exposes showing the kits are made in dubious conditions and costing the sportswear giants responsible pennies to make, the FA is complicit in exploiting fans who want to wear the same shirt as their heroes.

At least England’s poster boy couldn’t be more appropriate – Wayne Rooney, the snarling striker who milks Manchester United for a ludicrous £300,000 every week, double what the Prime Minister earns in a year.

So forgive me as I fall even more out of love with our failing national side in World Cup year and salute a club that has shown in recent weeks how much it cares about the paying punters.

Sutton United recently allowed everyone in free and – despite being in the thick of a Skrill South promotion push – have set prices at a tenner in order to get more fans through the gate at its crumbling Gander Green Lane base.

Manager Paul Doswell, who recently signed a four-year contract worth £1 a year, has just picked up his third manager of the month award this season.

After a run of 15 games unbeaten, before last night’s visit of Havant & Waterlooville, there is a real chance the famous FA Cup giant-killers could return to the top tier of non-League football at the end of the season.

With ambitious plans in the pipeline for a £1m re-development of the club’s home ground, Doswell’s men are far more deserving of our support than the contemptuous fat cats running our national sport.

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