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.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Welcome to Ruben Carter

Published in the last match of the season v Heybridge Swifts 29th April 2006 - with my son at his first ever footie match just five weeks old...

He was destined to be a football baby. His mums waters broke during an UEFA cup match on the TV (about the only thing interesting that happened during that game). His male midwife was a tattooed Brighton supporter. He was born on a Saturday.

Five weeks ago little Ruben Carter came into the world and today is his first ever football match.

But just who should he support?

With my bad-mouthing of any Brighton kids I see in Arsenal or Chelsea tops, should he really be brought up a Slough fan?

He's certainty got his options. Our next door neighbour is a Brighton season ticket holder and the new stadium when it is eventually built will be right next to our estate.

No doubt there will be times when he will be running round the Dripping Pan at Lewes with my mates who are season ticket holders.

My brother and his sons are season ticket holders at Fulham.

And Zoe's family are Man United supporters (they are from Manchester, so I'll forgive them) although I've already told Ruben that supporting Man United will be a leaving home offence (he can of course admire FC United of Manchester).

If I get him an amber and blue top will he be taunted in the playground or given puzzled looks from his friends when he tells them he watches Slough Town? Or will the full backlash against the Premiership premadonnas be in full swing by then, and the league awash with supporter run clubs? Maybe being a non league fan will be the ultimate in cool.

Today's game is Ruben's cultural equivalent to his recent Jewish naming ceremony, where next to his Jewish skullcap was his knitted Slough Town bobble hat. So while me and Zoe think it's important that he learns about the Jewish faith and community, is there such thing as a Slough Town football community? Well I think so. To me watching Slough is more than just about the football; not life and death cos there's definitely a lot more important things than that. But as a Slough supporter, I don't just feel like a punter at the club, another pound through the turnstiles, another person to flog merchandise too.

Infact, I think perversely, our forced absence has bought out the best in the club and its supporters. Like the Jewish community who make sure that all its members are looked after, I reckon you could say the same of the Rebel community. Look at the way people rallied after June Cousins death; the 41 that walked to Harrow - more than most clubs have bought to Slough games this season; the people standing in the local election fighting not just for a football club back in Slough but for better sporting facilities for all the towns residents. The backing our Supporters Trust gives to other clubs in trouble. The presents Ruben got from the supporters.

After one wet boxing day match where Slough were getting stuffed by Windsor, Zoe commented on the fact that everyone seemed to know each other, and has found herself sticking up for non league football over people who were complaining that football is a waste of time. I know that Ruben will be joining me on the terraces watching the Rebels whether that may be, until he's old enough to tell me I'm a silly old fart and he's off to watch the Albion with his mates. But before he's allowed to go to football on his own, he'll be part of the Slough Town community that will eventually get a ground back in the town and be a whole lot stronger, more community minded and appreciative of the fact because of the years in exile.

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