These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Monday, April 30, 2018

GUT CHURNING, NERVE SHREDDING PLAY OFF TIME

To be printed in the Southern Premier League play-off semi final v Kettering Town Wednesday 2nd May 2018

Blimey what a finish to the season that was. 99 points and 111 goals; a points tally that would have won the league in 31 of the previous 34 years which just goes to show how competitive the Southern Premier has been this season.

Or to put it another way, Weymouth were fifth with 97 points. That many points in Championship, League One and League Two would guarantee you automatic promotion!

But now it's back to the future, with a play off semi final against Kettering Town.

Who can forget that day four years ago, the first season in charge for our new joint managers, when we went from 2-0 down at half time to winning 3-2 and finally gaining promotion after endless play-off defeats. My favourite photo is our chairman Steve Easterbrook hugging Dave the Programme on the pitch at the end of the game. Dave Pearcy saw us get promoted but unfortunately never saw us back home. As for the scenes back at the Herschel Arms later with players, officials and supporters celebrating. Let's just say many of us didn't make it to work the next day.

But what about Saturdays match. League positions changed several times over the course of the game, but in the end it was ‘as you were’ with Slough finishing in third place. However, Royston were the width of a crossbar away from denying Slough a home tie when they hit the frame of the goal deep into second half stoppage time and took a few more days off my life. 

It’s been an incredible season, with so many highlights to choose from. The TV cameras coming down to Slough. The thrashing of Gainsborough away in the FA Cup first round. Beating Merthyr 5-4 after being 4-0 down at half time and listening to a punch-drunk Rebels Radio star Ady losing the plot at the end. Securing a home tie had looked beyond Slough until an incredible late run of form, with 11 wins from the last 13 games, including 9 of the last 10 away games.

And I couldn't help feeling proud at the end of season awards or how Slough fans have finally found their voices. Before the Royston game, one supporter couldn't quite believe it was our chairman pulling pints (and clearing up the sick in the bogs) But to me that down to earth attitude from Steve is why we are in such a strong position now. How many of our volunteers see much of the game anymore? I know I sound like the drunk bloke at the bar but the transformation of this club has been incredible and the people who make the club tick should take a bow. So it was great to see the awards being delivered by people like club shop Sue and Julie Sliski with Barry Hiron getting clubperson of the year for the amount of work he puts in on matchdays. Barry said it was 'totally unexpected but proud to receive an award bearing the name of Chris Sliski. The epitome of the true Clubman.'

So now the play-offs. Can you enjoy these games? Or is just a gut churning, nerve shredding hair greying experience which you glimpse through the fingers in your hands? Win it and we will have another gut churning, nerve shredding game to look forward to with a place in the Conference South up for grabs. Still at least I can throw away the calculator. The maths are now very simple (even for me).

Win our next two games and we are promoted. If only it were as easy as typing those words.



Saturday, April 28, 2018

MATHEMATICALLY CHALLENGED

Printed in the last Southern Premier League game of the season v Royston Town Saturday 28th April 2018. We won 2-1 in front of 759 finishing third with 99 points and 111 goals scored!
 

For those mathematically challenged like myself the past few weeks and have been a play off permutations headache, trying to work out who we might play and have we got any chance of a home draw.

Fair play to Hereford who are out of the equation and do what all champions do and grind out results and last minute goals (sorry for bringing that up). Still, at least I don't have to worry about going there for a while incognito after my Benny Hill escapades with various stewards earlier in the season. I don't really want Kettering away cos you can't actually see if there are more than 8 people at the ground and where big games bring out friendly locals who like to offer knuckle sandwiches for free. How they must pine for the splendid old Rockingham Road now reduced to dust thanks to the vanity of another boom and bust chairman. I hope they get a ground back in town soon.

This is one tough league and the teams in the play-offs are all worthy of being in a higher division. A couple of seasons back Poole Town got promoted with 93 points – we have 96 and a win today would take us to 99! We've just won an incredible seven away games on the bounce and are 19 points of our nearest rivals, who just happen to be Royston Town. What's more the run of form means we are now in third place. That's some achievement for any team, let alone part-time ones. It wasn't so long ago that sponsoring Slough per goal used to cost you about 6 pence, now some people have had to re-mortgage their houses as we easily smashed 100 goals a season.

If we don't go up it looks like we will be in the new Southern League westwards section, welcoming Salisbury and Taunton Town. The next time I go to Taunton I will remember that drinking a Christmas bottle of Baileys before the game isn't big or clever but very, very sickly. If we do go up, I will be more than slightly peeved that the two nearest clubs to me in the Conference South have been relegated. One so near I could walk there in 15 minutes.

The football season is perfectly timed for my job, where I rush back and forth watering plants and look after caterpillar ravaged Brussels sprouts and fight with giant, ravenous slugs. Oh how I hate those gardening programmes that show you perfection cos they've got full time experts working round the clock to make them pristine. Gardening ain't like that!

What ever happens, its good to see after a stern telling off by Headmasters Bakes and Unders we have are finally flexing our vocal chords. See you in the play offs – wherever that may be and don't forget to make some noise for Bakes and Unders boys, cos its a lot more fun when we do. 
 

* I'm sure all Slough fans will join me in giving very best wishes to John Tebbit who due to illness can sadly no longer write for the programme. John first contributed 48 years ago in 1970 and his amazing enthusiasm and memories have graced these pages ever since. John played for Old Pauldians and almost played for Slough after the war – but didn't have any boots with him! Get well soon John. 
 

* While you're all watching England once again fluff their World Cup lines, remember that clubs like Slough cannot function without volunteers. It's the usual suspects who help with the turnstiles, bar, selling programmes and raffle tickets. If you don't fancy that, maybe you could write the occasional article for the programme. If you need inspiration or a ' if-he-can-do-it-i-bloody-well-can' bit of motivation my 12 years backlog catalogue is available at http://sloughtownsoapbox.blogspot.co.uk/

Thursday, April 12, 2018

WASH OUT

Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Kings Lynn Town on Saturday 14th April 2018. We drew 2-2 in front of 822.
We all get a little too obsessed with the weather but for non league supporters, finger aching from constant refreshing of twitter to see if a game is on, has become far too commonplace this season. For too many lower league clubs this season has literally been a wash-out with the added splash of white to add to the backlog. Of course there's a solution to this and it's one that Slough Town chairman Steve Easterbrook said was a no brainier at the time when our ground was being planned – artificial pitches. In an ideal world we would all love to play on grass, but the world and climate is changing and football clubs need to maximise their one unique selling point - their pitch - if they are able to compete.
The flip side of Slough having no home games called off, has meant that this is just the second time Slough have played at home in the past month with nine away games! From Weymouth to Kings Lynn, Frome to Bishop's Stortford that's a hell of a lot of travelling for part-time players and seriously expensive for supporters. So fair play to the Rebels who have still travelled in numbers despite adversity. Kieron's train taking so long to get to Weymouth he was forced to drink from the toilet bowl while Swindon Steve decided it was more fun to travel on the Slough coach to Weymouth than go direct from Swindon, getting back so late on the coach he stayed overnight in a Slough hotel! That's dedication (or insanity). Slough supporters said they could see their reflections in the puddles on the Dunstable pitch. We got a game in a snow storm at Bishop's Stortford and these matches would have probably been called off earlier in the season, but I heard that refs have been told to take a more pragmatic approach if we want this season to end before the new one starts.
I'm thinking of Biggleswade when the game was called off by the ref as the supporters coach was arriving and when both managers wanted the game to go ahead. Surely there can be some sort of waiver when this happens when both managers disagree with the ref to overrule him.
In fact I’m in total agreement with TalkSport pundit and non league champion Tony Incenzo who wrote “Such late postponements have been commonplace this season. They are particularly unfair on the away teams’ players and fans, who may have taken time off work and travelled long distances at great personal expense.” His suggestions to eradicate the problem are :
  • In times of bad weather, a pitch inspection must take place by a qualified referee before the away team and supporters set off.
  • This inspection should also fully take into account the weather forecast.
  • If there is any doubt whatsoever about the game taking place, call it off there and then.
  • No postponement should be allowed after this cut-off point unless there is a huge deterioration in the pitch condition that wasn’t envisaged by the earlier weather forecast.
It would also help if the football authorities were more interested in investing in pitches rather than punishing clubs for not having a new stand they will never fill.
The FA is letting some leagues extend the season but some like the North West Counties League which has had 357 postponements so far this season are not happy with the small extension. “The League is disappointed with the FAs decision not to extend to Saturday 12th May given the recent poor weather, as this will impact the League, its clubs and the staff, players and volunteers.” One of their clubs 1874 Northwich are only halfway through the season thanks to postponements and getting to the semi-finals of the FA Vase. Having so many games called off also seriously threatens clubs finances.
The fixture pile-up is not helped by too many games. A good cup run and it gets worse. Does anyone care about League Cups? Can't the earlier rounds of the Berks and Bucks be played pre-season? It's good to see that the re-organisation at our level will mean less league games to play and more local derbies.
Artificial pitch crunch time could come if Sutton or Bromley win promotion to the Football League. “We went one winter without being able to play a home game for seven weeks,” says Sutton chairman Bruce Elliott. “Now our pitch is used by 800 players a week: first team, academy teams, ladies, disability teams. It brings a togetherness. Average attendances have increased [from around 700 to over 2,000]. It’s wonderful.” However Football League clubs are against artificial pitches. So the continued ban means if Sutton or Bromley get promoted they will have to rip them up. And if they don't, they will be punished by relegation to the National South. Blimey. I think someones been smoking too much grass.


Sunday, April 01, 2018

BAKES AND UNDERS REBEL ARMY

Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Chesham United Monday 2nd April 2018. We finally beat them for the first time in 18 years 2-1 in front of 784.

The Rebels fans behind the goal were in fine voice – or at least those of us not suffering from rigor mortis as we huddled together like penguins for warmth. I'm not sure I’ve seen many games in a snow storm and definitely none painted with bright blue lines that got the blow-dry treatment to melt the snow, so fair play to Bishop's Stortford for getting the game on. I am also slightly jealous of their apostrophe as I tried to get it into a song or two, seeing as their fans jaws had clamped up in the cold.
Away supporters are usually more vocal than home ones, powered by beer and a little bit of insanity as their zigzag up and down the country for 90 minutes of football. 


But what the hell is happening at the morgue that is Arbour Park? It comes to something when the managers have to ask in the programme for people to get behind the team and when players are coming off the pitch saying that all this negativity is affecting them.
My eldest was 12 last week and I looked at old programme notes that celebrated his birth as we dragged him to his first game at just 5 days old. Homeless and playing at Windsor in one of the worst seasons in our history we still enjoyed ourselves (OK, the 90 minutes of football usually spoilt a good day out). A lot has happened in that time and for the moaners and groaners I’m going to build a time machine (I’m thinking of calling it a Tardis unless anyone can come up with a better name) and take them back to the terraces at AFC Hayes where we not only lose again but are taunted by their officials; where the three collective fans of Burnham and Beaconsfield not only enjoy seeing billy big bollocks Slough Towns fall from grace but financially profit from our demise; like your best mate nicking your girlfriend then rubbing your nose in dogshit.
Why have so many supporters got spoilt brat disease or go into hyper-winge at the first misplaced past? Have the radio phone-ins and football forums become little more than, as When Saturday Comes put it 'a national session of primal scream therapy rather than something entertaining or even thought-provoking.' Should keyboards have a breathalyser built into them, making it impossible to post whilst under the influence?
Just what is that people don't understand about supporting your club?
Who'd have thought that getting on players backs had a negative impact? I'm happy to come into your place of work and shout at you when you do things wrong to see how this will make you work better.
Perversely though supporters will often back their club to the hilt in a siege mentality when they are criticised, just look at Crewe supporters after their paedophile coach scandal
Sure, have a moan and groan after the game. You can even do it in the bar and know that your drinking and moaning is at least making money for the club to help strengthen the squad.
We are having a great season in a tough old league. We reached the 2nd round of the FA Cup and are on target for the play-offs. We might even get in the final of the Berks and Bucks Cup which we haven't won since beating Old Wolverian Train Sidings in 1876.
Surely that's something to sing about? 

 



Friday, March 09, 2018

COMPUTER SAYS NO

Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Frome Town Saturday 10th March 2018. We won 2-1 in front of 581 people.

When so many lower league clubs are getting punished for messing up player registration, its time the authorities took a proper look at how its come to this – especially when it has such a dramatic impact on promotion and relegation. 
 
Just a flick through the Non League pyramid and you have Shaw Lane, Halesowen, Sutton Coldfield, Cleethorpes, Frickley Athletic, Molesey, Shoreham, Potters Bar, Dareham Town, those well known law-breakers Met Police, Swanage, Bemerton Heath, Guisborough Town, Hall Road Rangers, Wivenhoe Town, Ely City, Burnham, Witheridge, Bedlington Town, Arnold Town, Farleigh Rovers, Kent Football United (actually they deserve a points reduction for such a ridicolous name), Folland Sports, Gravesham Borough, FC Bolsover, Portishead Town, Cheltenham Saras and more all falling foul of the regulations.
You've got to feel sorry for Swanage whose season has been derailed thanks to a 12 point deduction by the Dorset Premier League for fielding a player who had not got international clearance. That player is Nat Scott who went to college in the USA between August 2011 and April 2015. His last game was in November 2014 for Oklahoma City FC. The standard of college football is unpaid and non professional but to play football in the USA you need international clearance (that's right, international clearance to play football, but only a pulse to buy a gun). This international clearance would be done by the University you were attending, so the student would be totally unaware of this process. On your return to your home country you would again need to obtain international clearance and this is what Nat failed to do. At first he signed for Handy Sports and after three months he was signed by Swanage who said that signing him from a fellow club in Dorset they were totally unaware and are now appealing.
Last year a mistake cost Haywards Heath Town promotion after one of their players failed to pay his part of a small collective fine imposed whilst he was playing for Fisher FC. His suspension for not stumping up a whole ten pounds was not listed on the FA website at the time of his signing and instead was only entered there retrospectively; so how the hell would they know about it? Worse, it wasn't till June that they found out that a points deduction meant that Shoreham got promoted instead – but with so little time to prepare that hasn't worked out well for Shoreham who are rooted to the bottom of the league (and ironically have a points deduction for mucking up player registration).
It really doesn't do anyone any favours to make secretaries jobs harder. And its not just me that thinks you shouldn't need a law degree to be a football secretary. Northern Premier League Chairman Mark Harris says it must be an 'absolute priority' for Non League football to keep working towards a robust registrations system that reduces the number of rule breaches. “The administrative burden on volunteering secretaries at this level is getting tougher and tougher. Why?”
The manager of Bowers & Pitsea have said they feel sorry for two of their rivals after they were docked points ahead of the final push for promotion. The Football Association charged Potters Bar Town and Dereham Town with a breach of rule E10 - failure to comply with an automatic suspension – with the points deduction meaning they have lost vital ground. Bowers have also been the victim of an FA charge this season and were thrown out of the FA Trophy after playing someone suspended. Bowers, like Dereham and Potters Bar, had been relying on the FA’s Disciplinary System to gauge how many yellow cards the player had accrued this season, unknowing that the player had been registered twice for different clubs. Bowers manager Rob Small said “Having been through a similar situation in our FA Trophy debacle this season I don’t like to see this sort of thing happen even when there is a perceived benefit to my club. I sympathise with the players and management at both clubs because they will feel robbed of what they believed to be three well-earned points. I’m not educated enough around how the systems work but if a system is allowing double entries I would like to know what the FA plan to do moving forward to reduce the risk to clubs.”
The lower you go down in the football pyramid and the more work falls on the shoulders of too few volunteers. Infact the situation is so bad that Northern Premier League Chairman Mark Harris reckons that if you offered either £20,000 or more volunteers to people in charge of football clubs, they would plump for more volunteers.
So how about this FA, make it easier for people who are doing a job for love not money and not punish them and the clubs they are trying to support.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

DAVE 'THE SHIRT' CARPENTER

Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Basingstoke Town on Tuesday 6th March 2018. We drew 1-1 in front of 471 people.

                        Dave Carpenter 1946 - 2018 

Dave (second from left) at the Get Berkshire Active awards ceremony (note, the shirt!)

So here we are again, mourning the passing of another Rebel, this time Dave 'the Shirt' Carpenter who sadly passed away on Thursday.
Dave was a larger than life character who had been supporting the Rebels since the early 1950s and continued to support the club even when his work as a civil engineer took him all over the country. 
Supporter Trust membership secretary Ollie Hayward said of him ' I first met Dave at the Dolphin Hotel in 1966/1967. We both had the same interests with the social and football life at the Dolphin. He had supported the Rebels all his life; he had lived in Wexham Court Estate and caught the Rebels bug then. He was called The Shirt, because whether he wore casual or formal clothing, his shirt would be hanging out! I think his colleagues in the building industry gave him that nickname.'

He was an active member of CAMRA and Dave and his brother Bob could drink for England! You never tried keeping up with him at a beer session. On one Slough away day to Southsea he decided to get on a moving Waltzer which didn't quite go to plan. He shot out like a bullet and landed in front of the Slough supporters but miraculously got up with no sign of injury just plenty of ear-ache from the fairground people!

The eldest of four siblings Dave was a very dedicated member of the Supporters Trust, volunteering on many promotional events, but also arriving early on a Saturday to watch the PALS training. Dave was instrumental in introducing PALS, the disability team to Slough Town, and put in a huge amount of time supporting them including organising the travel arrangements and giving players lifts to tournaments and training. They won the League Division Two title last year and last week he was at the Get Berkshire Active awards ceremony, where the team were runners-up in the Team Performance of the Year category. Scott Miles who plays for the PALS team said of Dave 'He would always come along to every training session, every tournament, would always cheer us on, words alone would never describe how much he helped us.'
It feels somehow fitting that Dave fell ill on a game he had sponsored, something he would do frequently to support the club. His dedication to Slough Town was second to none and I'm glad he got to see us begin to become a footballing force again. He never turned his back when we were in our dark days, often livening up our away travels with his endless supply of jokes. His support for refs was also absolute and he could often be seen having some heated discussions with ClubShop Sue and others about that!
As Ollie said ' He always had a story from Slough Town games, supporters matches and socials that are long gone from the memory of most. '
Dave had mastered the habit of balancing his Slough Town bobble hat so high up on his head it looked like it was floating, like a Rebel halo! Dave was a true Slough Town legend, who gave up so much of his time to make the club tick and matchdays won't be the same without him. RIP Dave

             Wearing his beer glasses at Chertsey

           Me and Dave after a top day out in Histon

Saturday, February 24, 2018

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v St.Neots Town on Saturday 24th February 2018.We won 2-1 in front of 615
'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it' said the philosopher George Santayana, who no doubt had football fans in mind when he penned it.
You would expect most Brighton supporters, 20 years after being homeless and so nearly tumbling out of the football league, would just be happy to cling onto Premier League survival by their boot straps. But not with this new type of fan; one who would crash and burn the finances and doesn't understand that apart from maybe six teams everyone else has a good chance of being relegated. I try to stay away from football forums as they are not good for anyone’s mental health, probably because a lot people who frequently posts have questionable mental health. Or maybe we have all grown so used to instant gratification that we can't acknowledge the enormous amount of work that goes into even signing a player. You can't click your fingers and its done.
Unfortunately the same can be leveled at some Slough fans. Our managers have assembled the best squad we have had in years, playing attractive, attacking, passing football. So I was pretty taken aback when I recently heard criticism of them. Yes we've gone off the boil a bit, that last second Hereford equalizer was beyond sickening, but the first half of the season was so blistering, no one can be expected to keep that up. But how come the 200 of us that watched Slough lose 9-0 away to AFC Wimbledon in a season of horror, made more noise than I’ve heard at nearly game at Arbour Park? How the hell can that be?
SuperKev's wake epitomised everything that is brilliant about Slough Town. A packed church, £7,000 raised to pay for his funeral, a guard of honour from today’s team, a great eulogy from our mangers, so many old players mingling with supporters and a whole host of former managers with a coffin decked out in Slough Town insignia. But SuperKev was gone; another hugely important person in the thread of the club, that did so much to keep us going through the dark times. How do we honour his and others memories and make sure they are not consigned to history?
At the wake one of newest supporters was sitting next to Steve Daly, another Slough Town legend, who captained us from the dizzy heights of the Conference to the dog and duck or even worse playing and no doubt losing to our nemesis AFC Hayes. The young lad didn't have a clue who he was. And why should he?
Before every Brighton game there's a TV montage of various important moments in the clubs recent history and I would love to see something like that at Arbour Park. A two minute clip on the new electronic score boards that should be on their way. At the very least something in the clubhouse – a display featuring former players, managers, supporters and of course SuperKev. Capturing key moments that would give everyone a sense of our history and hopefully a sense of perspective.
Don't get me wrong, after years of being a football punch-bag, I love what is happening and the match day experience has got even better now the club is running the bar (yes I know I shouldn't have had the extra pint, but i'm only drinking it because half the profits go to the club.
But let's not be Year Zero supporters. We all have opinions but I trust our managers to get it right on the pitch. However, behind the scenes, the club will only grow if we all muck in. At the very least, let's back the team vocally when things don't always go to plan, cos I can tell you from season after season of bitter experience, it tastes all so much sweeter when it does.



Thursday, February 08, 2018

THE DELUSIONAL GAME

Printed in the Southern League Premier Divison game v Banbury United on Saturday 10th February 2018. We lost 1-0 in front of 514 people.
Football Transfer Deadline Day makes me embarrassed to be a football fan. While the media turn the most inconsequential story into a moon landing in the hope of more click-bait, far too many supporters lose all sense of perspective. After one fan tweeted 'Imagine being 12 points clear at the top of the table and taking that as a sign that you need to buy another £100m worth of players while Hartlepool and Chester are going out of business for want of thousands' an angry Man City replied 'Is it your money that they’re spending? Sane out injured and we have 3 players fit for our preferred formation of a front 3. Sterling, Aguero and Silva. So yeah. If he signs it’s because we need it.' Others pointed out that it wasn't their fault that Hartlepool and Chester had been mismanaged, as if 'their' clubs were being run with any financial prudence and wouldn't go bust without dodgy Sheiks, gangsters and vulture capitalists pumping in the cash. And while the Premier League is rolling in it, grassroots football has to contend with mud-baths of pitches and terrible changing facilities.
As the authors of 'Jumpers for Goalposts' pointed out football fans are the marketing mans wet dream. It has become the most one sided relationship, tantamount to abuse' or as the authors put it being ‘trapped in a loveless marriage with little in common…Football supporters have become, first and foremost, revenue.’
While Man United made Alexis Sanchez the highest-paid player in Premier League history, the club can't quite bring themselves to pay all their workers the Living Wage. An open letter to the world’s richest football club, urged them to address the plight of stadium staff who are “struggling to make ends meet.” This despite a commitment in 2015 by Premier League clubs to pay the Living Wage to all permanent staff.
Meanwhile even FIFA have acknowledged how the agent free-for-all is 'intolerable' with President Infantino, establishing a working party to examine how the transfer system can be reformed. Infantino said that he was 'very concerned about the huge amount of money flowing out of the football industry.' Although knowing FIFA they're probably more upset they ain't getting a cut. Uefa calculated that more than €3bn was paid to agents by Europe’s top clubs between 2013 and 2017 with clubs telling them that agents are no longer working on behalf of players to negotiate the best salary but acting as intermediaries, who have to be paid by clubs for bringing the players to them. The approach of some agents is: “Look, you will pay me 50% of the transfer or the player goes somewhere else.” One agent Fernando Felicevich, declined to comment when asked if it was true he was asking for £15 million for himself for Sanchez to agree a move while another agent threatened legal action if people kept asking questions.
So it was heartening to see Newcastle United supporters protest against owner Mike Ashley at St James’ Park with an impressive display reading “Trust me, one day you will get your club back... He is only one man, we are a whole city, a whole population...” while West Ham fans are planning protests against the diamond-geezers that run their club and have relocated them to a soulless bowl of a stadium. But apart from the occasional boycott by supporters like Coventry, Charlton and Blackpool and Man United fans who set up a new club and built their own ground, most continue to support 'their' team no matter how badly they are treated or how dodgy their owners.
Maybe journalist Nick Cohen nailed it 'The fans do not care where the money came from. It is as miserablist to talk about Manchester City's owners on Match of the Day as to talk about the factory farming of turkeys at the Christmas lunch table.'
Yes I know our owners have just butchered political opponents and ripped off the poor, but without that new billion pound winger we don't really need, our season and my life will be ruined.





WHERE'S NOREEN

Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Redditch United Tuesday 6th February 2018. We won 4-0 in front of 375.
When Pete Bridle comes to a game, the first thing anyone ever says to him is 'Where's Noreen?' His mum is one of our longest serving and most loyal supporters having been supporting Slough for over 50 years and attending over a thousand games. Time to shine a floodlight on her!
Born in County Kerry in the Republic of Ireland in the 1930's, Noreen's first Slough game was at the Dolphin in the mid' 60's along with husband Max and sons Ted and Pete.
Favourite Player? Ed Smith
Favourite Manager? Steve Bateman
Football Hate? Having my bag and body searched at Southport away in the FA Trophy semi-final
Claim to Fame? The argument with Richard Stokes, then leader of Slough Council at a council meeting concerning our new ground. Also the two days protest outside the town hall asking the council to get behind the new ground.
Football likes? Travelling to away games on the Slough coach and enjoying the company of the family of Slough supporters. The atmosphere at home games, meeting all the fellow supporters and hearing what's going on.
The high spots? Receiving the Supporter of the Year award two seasons ago. Heading the ball against Farnborough recently. We were expecting a bid from Farnborough to sign her up but the approach was turned down by the club
Hopes for the future? With the home coming of the club and the good work carried out by everyone from Steve Easterbrook and the Trust and supporters, we have seen the club grow and encourage new supporters old and new
Final thoughts? Remembering all the people associated with the club who have passed on from our football family.
Once a Rebel always a Rebel”
Noreen - You deserve a medal! 

 




Thursday, January 25, 2018

CAN SLOUGH TOWN CURE LONELINESS ?

Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Kings Langley on Tuesday 30th January 2018 We drew 1-1 in front of 450

The other Friday afternoon I spent an hour after work helping out at the seniors lunch club that happens every week at The Bevy, Brighton's only community owned pub. I hopped on the bus to help drop people home in our wheelchair friendly minibus and if i'm honest, it was pretty heart-breaking. I wheeled one guy into his flat in sheltered housing and asked how he managed. He told me his mate across the way used to help him but he had just died. As I made sure people's doors were shut I wondered just how many would not see another soul till the following Friday and tipped my hat to the volunteers that run the club.
I know that run properly pubs can play a pivotal role in supporting their local community and running a seniors lunch club isn't just good for the community but also good for business, as these people make friends and become regulars. Having a pub on your doorstep, having someone who knows your name when you walk in, makes a massive difference to the quality of peoples lives.
This fits in nicely with the appointment of the first ever Minister for Loneliness after a report published last year by the Jo Cox Commission, revealed that loneliness was as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
So the government has a ready made answer when it comes to tackling loneliness. Unfortunately with so many pubs closing every week it needs to strengthen planning laws to protect them and other community spaces from property vultures while exempting those that help their communities with tax breaks. That's why it angers me when pubs on estates are shut because they are worth more financially as housing when run properly they can be the beating heart of the community.
So what role can football clubs can play? Getting upset while watching 22 grown kick a ball around seems a bit daft but we all know at our level at least its a lot more than just that. Look at the outpouring of grief that greeted the news of the death of our physio SuperKev. Without Slough Town just how many of us would have had the honour of knowing Kev?
I've been really impressed how our club has put itself so quickly back into the heart of the community, one of the most ethnically diverse in the whole country.
But it’s ironic that the government appoints a minister for loneliness when its very own policies are doing so much to exacerbate the problem. The never ending squeeze on public finance has meant shutting old peoples clubs, day centres for people with disabilities, libraries, youth and community centres. All an apparent drain on resources, and bugger the human cost. Pubs are disappearing at an alarming rate and small charities are struggling to survive while private companies make cash out of anything that moves – old people, education, water, railways, buses and the air we breathe if they could find a way. But its a sick society that only ever looks at the cost, because it cannot consider the genuine worth of things.
Our society is at a crossroads. Governments have lost the ability to act in the best interests of most of us while large corporations can't deliver what we need (they are happy to when they make a profit, but want to be bailed out by taxpayers when they fail) We can moan till we are blue in the face that someone needs to do something about it but the reality is it's up to us too fight for what makes life worth living. Its only when we get involved in our communities that things will change. That could be helping save your local pub or community centre or offering to help behind the bar or on the turnstiles at our football club.
People want to feel like they belong and be part of something. I know that pubs can play a massive part and I know that football clubs like Slough Town can too.
The Bevy Pub, once closed by the police for anti social behaviour, has proved that run for the benefit of the community it can be more than just a pub. With a loneliness epidemic we need places like the Bevy and football clubs like Slough Town more than ever.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

RIP SUPER KEV

To be printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Merthyr Town on Saturday 27th January 2018

There can’t be many physios that have their own football chant. But then there aren't many physios like Super Kev McGoldrick who tragically passed away after a long battle with cancer.
Kev gave Slough Town an incredible 32 years service, enjoying everything from Conference football to the club staring down the barrel of the dog and duck league, losing our ground and nearly going bust – to finally coming home. Words like legend are branded around in football and life far too easily but Kev deserved the title and a whole lot more. Infact you'd be hard pressed to have met a nicer human being and i'm sure there are many people like me today who will be asking why life is just so bloody unfair at times.
You could also say that days like these puts football in perspective. On the face of getting wound up by 22 grown men chasing a ball is slightly ridiculous but we all know watching 90 minutes of football is just a small part of the 'match day experience'. Having Kev about was definitely part of that experience. Fixing not just our players aches and pains but ex-players, opposition players and supporters alike he was like a football mobile walk-in surgery for the NHS. But not only did he treat everyone, he followed it up with messages to see how you were doing. And he always did it with a smile. I remember him handing me headache tablets at some godforsaken away game where we'd lost again and fixing my thumb after an embarrassing sock incident! Infact my only complaint would be that he hadn't found a cure for the grumpiness that we all felt when Slough were bad (ok the beer helped with that).
Or maybe he had found a cure. Because having SuperKev about made supporting Slough Town a lot more bearable. Along with other legends like Dave the Programme and Chris Sliksi, Slough Town was and is more than just a football club for me. It hits the spot where no other club ever can.
When I interviewed him a while back for the programme I asked 'Who do you support' and he replied 'I only support Slough Town' When I asked if he would ever hang up his physio bag he replied.”I have never thought of quitting. I maybe replaced one day for a newer model but that's fine. I have been proud and privileged to serve this great club. I have loved every minute and have made many lifelong friends.”
Kev was a pallbearer at Chris Sliski's funeral because he said  that 'Chris carried this club on his shoulders for so long, the least I can do is carry him on mine.'
 
Well Mr.SuperKev you also carried this club for over 32 years and all the good things that are happening now is because of people like you never giving up. I hope you realised just how loved you were by everyone. RIP