En route to Macclesfield yesterday we were saddened to learn of the premature passing of a true Sutton legend, John Faulkner.
John may have only played 43 games in Sutton colours but it was the story of his rapid rise from the lower reaches of English football to its very pinnacle is less than a year that captured the imagination, together with his performance against probably the toughest opposition in the club's history.
John joined the U's in the summer of 1969 from Cray Wanderers, then playing in the Metropolitan League, and he recalled having played in several positions before U's manager Sid Cann convinced him that his future lay as a centre-half. His eye for goal didn't desert him though, he scored 6 times in just 25 Isthmian League games for the U's but then Leeds United came calling in the 4th Round of the FA Cup. In those days nobody fielded weakened teams in the cup and Leeds, as maybe the best team in Europe at the time, paraded their first eleven - all full internationals - against the U's. It ended 6-0 but despite that John's performance up against England international Mick Jones was good enough to persuade Leeds boss Don Revie to snap him up. Sutton were amateurs back then so no transfer fee was involved but Leeds did make a voluntary donation of £500 to the club.
John's Leeds career was cut short by injury but he then joined Luton Town, for whom he recorded over 200 appearances before playing in the States and then enjoying coaching spells at Luton and Norwich City, where he was also Assistant Manager. John later became a sports psychologist and was a Visiting Fellow at the Cranfield School of Management. John was a keen visitor to Sutton for our Legends Days and volunteered to deliver to our many coaches the same lecture that he had already delivered to many sports clubs, including for Sir Alex Ferguson, on how to maximise the potential of sports teams.
That lecture, about three years ago, was the last time we saw John. A few months later we learned that he had fallen ill and, like all of his friends in football, we were devastated yesterday to learn of his death at the age of 69.
Our thoughts and condolences go to his family and friends at this sad time.