These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the National League South in a swanky new ground. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Going Home

Printed in the Slough Town v Tonbridge Angels Ryman Premier 26th March 2005

The next time Slough play Wealdstone it should hopefully be at their brand spanking new stadium. After 14 long years of being homeless, Wealdstone are finally going home.
In 1984/5 the club created history by becoming the first to achieve the non-League 'double’, winning the Conference and FA trophy in the same season. Just six seasons later and they had to sell their Lower Mead home in order to stay in existence. An agreement was entered into with Watford to share the lease on their Vicarage Road ground, but after two seasons they had to move out due to spiralling costs. Since then they have groundshared at Yeading and Edgware. Now a £8.5 million community stadium is being built that should be ready at the beginning of next season.

Also returning home next season will be Chelmsford City. They have been homeless for eight years after they had to sell their ground to pay off debts. Their chairman greeted the news by saying “From the youth teams up to the first team, the whole of Chelmsford City FC will benefit massively from us coming home – and I can’t wait.”

In November it was the turn of Maidstone United to hear the great news that they would returning back to the town for the first time in 17 years.

Maidstone have been homeless since 1987/88 season when their ground was sold to make way for a superstore. The Stones eventually folded and lost their football league status, but reformed in 1992 starting at the bottom of the Kent League in Division Four. They will now to be back to the town, after their application for a 3,000 stadium was voted unanimously by councillors.

Going back home for these three clubs has been a long and no doubt torturous process, when quite frankly others would have given up the ghost. But the passion people show in football clubs never ceases to amaze me. It takes a long time, it takes dedication and commitment, but all these stories show that clubs can return. For us homeless Rebels it’s frustrating, but I’m hoping that the above examples show that we shouldn’t ever give up. What all the above clubs mention tho’ is the support they have needed from their various local councils to get back to their roots, and we all know we’ve got some serious work to convince some of our so called footie loving councillors that they should support us in looking for a new home.

As the Maidstone Chairman Paul Bowden-Brown put it “Not only will Maidstone United now have a home of their own within the town that they can be rightly proud of but the people of the town will also have a first class sporting facility to watch their local football club at. This stadium will be for the benefit of Maidstone United and the benefit of the local football community too.” We know that a return for the Rebels will not just be a boost to ourselves but local football in general. We just have to convince those in power that everyone benefits from having Slough back in the borough.