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.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Mini Manifesto

Printed in the Slough Town V Salisbury City FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round 31st October 2004

Last Sunday the Observer newspaper revealed that Premiership attendances have begun to fall - and it’s not exactly rocket science to work out why. The Premiership has become predictable, with only a few clubs with a chance of winning the title, and seriously over-priced. So how can clubs like Slough cash in on this?

At the beginning of the season our Chairman Martin Deaner said the best thing Slough fans could do for the club was bring a friend to a game. This must have fallen on deaf ears cos our attendances are now the worse for years. Yes, we’ve got a seriously dedicated hardcore that will turn up come rain or shine home and away. But there’s no doubt attendances are suffering by playing at Windsor, so it’s up to all of us to come up with ways to get people back onto the terraces. Here’s my mini manifesto to try and tempt some of those Premiership stayaways to Stag Meadow.

* Covered terracing behind both goals. Not just because some of us take exception at getting soaked during a game, but also to help create an atmosphere. On the Slough website fans have promised to dig deep if a fund is set up to make this happen.

* £1 for kids every game. Financially this might not make sense, especially as we don’t get the bar or tea hut money at the moment, but if it gets youngsters hooked on live football, and more importantly the Rebels, then this is an investment for the future.

* Mass freebies to local schools. This worked really well for Burgess Hill Town who recently had two great cup runs in the FA Vase. They dished out hundreds of free tickets to school kids, who then pestered their mums and dads to come. Result - gates of nearly two thousand.

* Advertising. If would really good to have posters of our next games available to give to people to put up around Slough on a regular basis. We could also have the odd stall in Slough High Street some Saturday mornings, dishing out concessionary tickets for kids, fixture lists, flogging tops etc.

* This sort of outreach work will help us sell the benefits of watching non league footie. Arguments like – it doesn’t cost a fortune to get in so you can afford to have a drink before, during and after the game. You can chat to the players, have friendly banter with away supporters (when there are some) and you’re close enough to the pitch to get a ball in the face. But the sucker punch is telling them that WE CHANGE ENDS AT HALF TIME!

Of course, none of this can happen without supporters mucking in, and playing their part in getting more people through the turnstiles. So lets pester our Premiership club loving mates, and try to make Slough Town their second club. If all this fails then I believe it will down to us lobbying for a change in the law - corporal punishment for kids who don't follow their local football clubs – and a bit of direct action. Cutting the TV cables for the whole town so no one can watch Sky footie matches on the box!