Connect with us

Non League

Jason Banton stunned at huge turnout from fans for FA Sunday Cup fixture

Jason Banton has been left stunned at the huge turnout from fans for a Sunday League fixture between Baiteze Squad and SE Dons.

More than 2,000 were in attendance for the game at Barking FC in the Second Round of the competition, with the hosts winning 3-2.

Former experienced footballer Jason Banton was in the stands, watching the two teams battle it out for a place in the next stage.

But why was the crowd so big? It will largely be due to the social media following of the clubs, who have have thousands of fans tuning in to their YouTube content.

Banton wrote along with a video: “Look how much people turned up turned up to watch a Sunday league game! Non league clubs don’t even get this much!!!”


“SE DØNS is the journey of a Sunday League Football Club in South London hosted by UK Rap / Grime Artist Don Strapzy. We show you the behind the scenes & off the pitch tribulations that occur for a Sunday League Football Club,” says the team’s website.

“We are a Family Club & have built up the best Sunday League Fanbase in the World. We do #ANYTHING For the DØNS & guarantee the #LONGEST90. Welcome to our jungle!”

donstrapzytv, which has everything to do with SE Dons, has around 216,000 subscribers, with their most popular video having 1.7million views (SE Dons facing cup holders FC Cortez in a 2018 Sunday League Cup Final).

Baiteze Squad are described to be Jokers in the pack when it comes to YouTube teams, but the east London outfit take their skills seriously since forming in 2017, then topped their league table in 2019 – while their challenge videos get 30k to 100k+ views on their channel.

The teams were a massive hit with a two-touch challenge starring Baiteze Squad and several top Liverpool players, including Sadio Mane. They are rivals of SE DØNS, hence another reason to the big turnout.

VERSUS had an interview with Don Strapzy in 2020, and with the Dons having ‘family” all over the globe, they were asked ‘what does it mean to have that influence from something you formed with your friends?’

Don Strapzy replied: “It means a lot! It’s amazing to think that something which started in a park in South East London is now reaching a worldwide audience. It’s definitely amazing to see it all and gain recognition for the hard work that we’ve put in.”

On changing the perception of Sunday League, they are praised for how well the club’s run.

Don said: “It’s the way we live our lives! We take our lives seriously and there’s an etiquette to the way we live and hold ourselves as men. We carry that into everything we do whether it’s football, music or other businesses that we may have within the team. We take everything seriously and we give 150%. It just shows. It’s a Sunday League team but we’re showing you can be proud of where you’re from. It doesn’t matter what level you’re playing at. That’s what we do.”

Anwan Glove (aka Big G, the goalkeeper): “We had to take two steps back to take three steps forwards. That’s literally how it felt. When we first started, it literally was like any other Sunday League team, a kick about with your mates but then, we started to realise something special was happening.

“We realised we had to go back to the basics of what we wanted the club to be. How do we make sure everyone benefits and are we making the right decisions for the club? As you can see, we’ve got opportunities that have come up but is everyone winning? Is everyone benefiting? If not, that could have caused problems long term.

“We realised we needed to be transparent through the club structure, so we put a board in place. When there’s opportunities to do things for the club, we will do it professionally. You have to be pure hearted in everything you do and not be greedy because we get opportunities all the time.”

Colin Jackson has been the club’s Ultra Speed coach, while they also have an SIS partnership, a deal with PUMA and yoga instructors come in… they were told people would think the Dons are a professional club.

Questioned ‘was that always part of the plan?’, Don replied: “It’s weird because we never sat down and planned all of this. It started off as a Sunday League team and still is. We didn’t say in five years, we wanted to be a professionally-run football club, things just organically grew. We then took the jump to go full-time and dedicate our time to the cause. This is just the result of hard work.”

Big G: “Definitely! We pride ourselves on being elite. A lot of people throw around the word ‘professional’ in everything but to be professional, you have to be professional about things every day. That comes with having a structure to the club.

“We’ve managed to do that by looking at the top athletes. You look at some of the top athletes in the world such as Neymar, Ronaldo or Messi. They are all conditioned due to the structure of their programmes.

“What we’ve tried to do is control the controllable. The things we can’t do, we manoeuvre around. Look at a team like Chelsea. Lampard has a transfer ban and uses it as an opportunity to bring through some younger players. It’s the same with us. We’re no different.”

SE Dons’ following on YouTube is mega, building an entire community. Asked ‘How does it feel knowing that the Dons actually mean more than professional teams to the “family”?’

Don said: “Means a lot! We all love football. I grew up as a Manchester United fan and one thing about that is, you can’t touch the footballers or get close to them. Here, if you support the Dons, you can come on the sidelines with us. You will see the boys in Greenwich, Lewisham, Peckham or the local areas. It’s hard to put into words sometimes. People genuinely support what we do. We don’t call them fans; we call them family. They support the club the way I would support United.”

Big G: “Sunday League football has been going on for a very long time. A lot of people would like to discredit what we do but there’s also a lot of people who respect what we do and understand that we are all Sunday League teams. Everyone at our club loves Sunday League football. A Chelsea fan could go to Stamford Bridge but the likelihood of them playing there is very low.

“When we play Sunday League, we play on the same grass pitches that some of our supporters play on. Fans will say ‘I played at the Dead End’. They will say they played at Mottingham Fields where the Dons first started. People will look at what we’ve done and relate to it. On our socials, you get to see the day-to-day of what we are doing, and you know it’s not a fluke! Everyone in Sunday League knows it’s hard to run a Sunday League team. It’s hard to run a team with your mates. It’s hard when people don’t turn up on time. However, it’s about the respect for each other and what the club means. The club you play for on a Sunday is the club you love and support. That’s why everyone believes in it.”

Lastly, VERSUS wanted to know ‘What are the future plans for the Dons collective beyond football?’

Don said: “On the pitch, success is important. We want to win as many cup competitions as we can and the league. Off the pitch, we will continue to handle business and partnerships whilst growing the brand as big as possible. The future is going to be massive. Big plans to take this whole thing worldwide. The pandemic caused pauses in some things, but we are going for more success.”

With Jason Banton stunned at the huge turnout from fans for the FA Sunday Cup fixture, check out the Twitter reaction to it all…

@tafzeus: We all should do more to Support grass roots football

@Sollid_Sam: Have the owners of the stadium ever had a crowd that big 😂😅

@JamesBeardwell: I’ve never seen a huge crowd like that before. Fair play to them and their team 👍🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

@cxlcapone: Fucking hell, never got a turn out like that when I played for Barking 😂

@ConorJjD: You can tell se dons were about

@aswbrowne: That’s actually mental!!

@SVCarbaholic; Baiteze/SE Dons is always gonna draw that crowd

@Dongo_19; “Social media is toxic” muppets! Look at the power of it when it’s used right. Well done boys

@AdzTheCoach: This is sick!!!

England or say uk an extent literally breath football imo
Like its kind of part of their life i would say watching their passion/craziness regarding it

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Non League