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

A Minor Miracle

Published in the last home league game of the season v Heybridge Swifts 26th April 2005

For the past seven seasons a minor miracle has happened – Slough Town have managed to start another football season. Every closed season since being thrown out of the Conference has left fans wondering if it will be our last. We might not have had any players or arranged any pre season friendlies; we might have lost our ground or been banging our drums outside the Town Hall as a newly elected council veto our ground plans. But somehow we’ve managed against all odds to start and finish yet another campaign.

This season has undoubtedly been our most successful since the Conference showed us the door. The magic FA Cup run, FA Trophy fifth round – and a league cup final.
Who cares if we’ve finished mid table. I reckon the players and management deserve a big pat on the back. Certainly our supporters do.

There’s no doubt in my mind that not playing in Slough is damaging our attendances, but away from home the Rebel following has been phenomenal, loud and proud. The seven nutters who are walking to Worthing typify that support.

Now the Trust has thrown down the gauntlet to everyone and said we need to raise a serious amount of cash to help secure our future in the short term that will stop us all having sleepless summer nights.

With figures in their thousands being branded around, you might shake your head and think it’ll never happen. Which is probably what the supporters of Whitby Town thought when they started raising money for the construction of a new £350,000 grandstand. “The first whipround in the club brought in the grand sum of £1.73, but thankfully things stepped up from there!” their chairman was quoted as saying in last weeks Non League Paper. Nearly three years later and they have raised seventy grand, they’ve received £150,000 from the Football Foundation and the stand is now being built, saving them from relegation under ground grading rules.

So how did they do it? Despite being in the Unibond Premier Whitby are no big fish. They are currently third in the league but have an average gate of less than 300. But those fans have organised everything from auctions to banquets and balls; sportsman dinners to an Easter bunny drinkathon; sponsored marathons to sponsoring seats in the new stand; celebrity football matches and even benefit nights with Slade and Showaddywaddy topping the bill! Which just shows you that where there’s a will...

So now it’s time for all of us to try and raise some cash, because as the Trust statement says “it would be irresponsible for the Trust not to have a contingency plan in place.”

If you haven’t already joined the Supporters Trust then why not do it now. And don’t forget to sponsor one of the walkers. Then it’s up to all of us to put our collective heads together for ways to make large amounts of cash. I’ve been told to rule out a bank robbery, so instead I’m off to buy a lottery ticket – see you all next season!