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, November 13, 2006

LOYALTY CARD

Printed in the League match programme v Heybridge Swifts 12th November 2006.
We lost 2-0. I write an article about loyalty - then go and watch Lewes play Darlington in the FA Cup instead!

One thing you hear footie fans rightly moaning about these days is player’s lack of loyalty. They come and go it seems whenever another team waives an extra fiver under their noses. Well loyalty and commitment is something Eddie Denton had in abundance, and I must say I was sad to see him go.

We know we’ve had a pretty dreadful season so far, apart from the brilliant display against high flying (!) Harrow and Staines, and the backs-against-the-wall draw against Wimbledon. But apart from that we’ve not been good enough; been slipping silly goals, and not scoring them at the other end (you have to take shots for that too happen). Our team has also been decimated with injuries and suspensions and we could also do with a little bit of luck as well, but we’ve been down on ours at this club for a long time.

In fact since Eddie joined Slough it’s been backs against the walls for the whole club. Eddie joined the Rebels as a player in 1998 moving onto the management team as an assistant under Steve Browne. He became manager in the summer of 2003 after Browne, possibly Slough’s worst ever manager in living memory, left the club in Division One of the Ryman League.

Since then we’ve lost our ground and there’s been no movement on going back to the town. The budget seems to always be getting cut, and then it’s been the ‘will-we-be-starting-this-season’ suspense. Well we knew we had a team this closed season – then only seven players turn up for the first training session, and Eddie had yet another rebuilding job on his hand. Infact it’s amazing he stayed so long with that sort of pressure.

And yet, he got us a fourth place finish in the Ryman Division One South meaning the club avoided relegation due to league restructuring. He won us our first trophy for 15 years, with a great night in Staines (didn’t ever think I’d hear myself say that!) seeing us beat our mates at Hampton. But arguably his finest hour was helping pull off our best ever FA Cup result, knocking Paul Merson’s second division Walsall out of the first round. We can only dream where the club would be now if we had beaten Yeading in the next round and played Newcastle with all the publicity and money that would have brought (mind you we now seem to have signed half the Yeading team that knocked us out).

But football is full of ‘ifs and buts’, and differences of opinions. All I can say is Eddie gave his all for the club and you can’t ask for more than that. He was a nice bloke always willing to chat after a game – and apologise for a poor performance. He thanked the fans and has mentioned on many occasions we can be the best and loudest in the league (those of you who just go to ‘home’ games will be nodding your head in disbelief at that statement) and we travel in numbers. He said "Slough's a fantastic club, with fantastic fans. They're a good bunch and put a lot in to the club and I wish them all the best. I gave my all and they certainly gave the same back." So thanks for the memories Eddie – good luck in whatever you do next.

As for loyalty, well it seems right that Slough promote from within. Darron Wilkinson, like Eddie, is always willing to talk to supporters. He’s made over 200 appearances for the club, the sort of loyalty the club needs. Steve Daley is another one whose notched up 200 games and then there’s return of Matt Miller, who said he’d only come out of his self imposed retirement as it was Slough (mind you he had retired so he could watch Man United so he must have a few screws loose).

Then there’s the loyalty of the fans. About 80 of us travelled to Boreham wood and nearly everyone I spoke to said that with half our team missing, we were going to be thrashed – and yet still everyone came. We lost 6-0 and yet which team got clapped off the field at the end – the Slough players! That’s loyalty, well actually there’s another word for it which Yeovil Steve’s girlfriend said to him when he phoned and told her the score, but that word isn’t printable in this programme!

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