Football

Sutter targets English return

Sutter is eyeing a Premier League switch. (©GettyImages)
Sutter is eyeing a Premier League switch. (©GettyImages).
Out in the cold at Bern's BSC Young Boys, 20 kilometres north of the Alps, Enfield's Scott Sutter dared to dream that in the twilight of the January transfer window, his return to English shores was on the brink of completion.

With a deal on the table from Steve Kean's Blackburn Rovers, Sutter was informed only the unlikely acceptance of an offer for Queens Park Rangers' Bradley Orr would prevent the 25-year-old from returning from his self-imposed nine-and-a-half-year absence from English football.

After four days of training with the Premier League side, and subsequently being offered a temporary deal, Sutter was forced to play a waiting game. Several hours later, a call from Kean confirmed his worst fears, QPR permitted Orr to move on.

"It wasn't a pleasant experience," Sutter told GiveMeFootball. "Those last three or four days of the transfer window including having to train was a very physical and emotional time especially after it had fallen through and me coming so close.

"It was taken literally out of my hands and that it didn't work out was obviously heart-breaking for me. I know what the January transfer window is like, I obviously follow English football a lot and you see the players just wait and play poker until those last teams strike deals.

"I got on really well with the players and the staff. I've got nothing but good stuff to say about Steve Kean as well because at the end of it he gave me an opportunity which I thank him for.

"I went in, sat down with Steve and he just said to be completely honest with you we've put an offer in for Bradley Orr, three weeks before you came, the first one got rejected and we improved that offer. For the last two weeks it's been on the table and it hasn't been rejected but it hasn't been accepted.

"If that doesn't go through today, which I don't think it will, then we'd like to take you on. Sometime later he called me and said I'm really sorry but the offer was accepted from QPR and because we had him on our radar that's the direction we're going to go."

On the final day of the Swiss transfer window, Sutter eventually won his move away from Young Boys, to Super League rivals and Champions League qualifiers FC Zurich, not so much second choice, but more a second chance to improve his summer prospects.

"I was obviously really disappointed after things didn't go through with Blackburn and I had the option to move to Zurich for the remainder of the season which was a great opportunity for everyone involved," he recalled.

"It gave me the opportunity to play for three-and-a-half to four months, after having not featured for the last remaining games before December. To get those games under my belt and do everything I can so that I can get a move back in the summer."

Despite his longing ambition to return to English football, Sutter's fortunes with Young Boys added little clout to his desire to leave Swiss football.

Regular qualifiers for Europe, including last season's foray into the Champions League qualifiers, where he took on his beloved Tottenham Hotspur in the third-qualifying round, Sutter's form has also earned him international recognition with Switzerland.

Sutter is the rare example of an English-born player making the move abroad, and rather than fleeing for tax reasons, the move has helped broaden the former Aston Villa and Charlton Athletic full-back's horizons.

"When I was 15 and I had this ambition, I saw how good the junior system at Grasshopper's was at the time and how everything was technique based and I thought it would be a great place to learn my trade there and help me grow up a lot quicker, learning a new language," he said.

"I can only speak highly of making a move when you're young and just for the life experience of it and that's what I did. I just decided that if I don't make it as a footballer at least I've learnt something.

"I've gone abroad, I grew up a lot quicker, I've matured a lot quicker and had to cook like my mum used to do, and it can only help you in your life. I think it also gives you a good opportunity to move back at some point.

"I'd hope it looks admirable for a third party looking in, seeing that I moved when I was just 16 to a completely different country, and learnt the language with no sort of second thought.

"I think it shows that I'm dedicated to what I want and I've got over the years a strong will-power and a strong mentality."

However, after giving so much to the Swiss game, Sutter has been cruelly cast aside by a manager who he is all too aware of; Christian Gross.

A master of Swiss football he undeniably is, but during his days at White Hart Lane, while Sutter was a season ticket holder, Gross endured a torrid spell. Only Ossie Ardiles holds a worse win percentage record in Spurs' 124-year history.

"I was aware that he had great success with Basel and was with them for some years and obviously I was aware of what happened with Tottenham and then at Stuttgart.

"You're aware of it but you don't realise, and it's just normal he's the boss and that's just the way it is and you do what he says, but I didn't really see eye-to-eye with him.
 
“I’m not sure exactly sure what the problem was – maybe he doesn’t like the way I play - or maybe he doesn’t like me, but I guess that happens in football just as it does in every other walk of life.

There's little doubt now where Sutter's allegiances lie. Eight games left in his Zurich loan spell means more opportunity to thrust himself into the Premier League shop window. A move to Spurs? Dream on, according to Sutter.

"It's was a dream to play at White Hart Lane and it was against Spurs. Playing on the pitch and seeing the seats where I used to sit, it was amazing and I thought I want more of this. I'm realistic enough to know what I can't aim for," concluded Sutter.
 
Pragmatic he might be, but having previously dared to dream, he's earned his slice of luck.
Topics:
European News
Football
Premier League
UEFA Champions League

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