WELCOME TO THE SLOUGH TOWN SOAP OPERA
Printed in the Ryman Premier League Boxing Day fixture against Ashford Town. We lost 2-0 in front of a very poor crowd of 250 people. More players have left, we got stuffed 5-0 at Chelmsford a few days before, the club are heading for oblivion...
At the beginning of the season I was thinking of putting my literay talents towards writing a book. Inspired by a book about Britain’s worst footie team East Stirlingshire, surely the public would want to know what it’s like following Slough for a season.‘Travels with a struggling non league club’ might not have become a best seller, and I hoped to come up with something a bit more catchy by the time it came out, but there’s enough non league enthusiasts to flog a few and maybe even make a bit of cash for the Supporters Trust.
But with a new baby I just didn’t think I had the time, and instead decided to stick all my articles on a blog. What a mistake! Half way through the season and its already been a soap opera at Slough Town. We’ve seen players threaten to go on strike and then leave at an alarming rate as wages never materialised; we are in a financial crisis which even by our standards is impressive. We’ve had to play games with half our small squad either injured or suspended. Still despite getting thrashed at Boreham Wood with the most patched up squad ever, it was our players that were clapped off the pitch, while Wood supporters barely made a whisper. We’ve visited the usual places, but also been to some new ones like Cobhams delightful Leg O’ Mutton ground, so posh it had a farmers market outside its gates. Great for olives and stuffed vine leaves to hand out to the newley gentrified Rebel fans (ok, halved refused and most could be seen stuffing their faces from the BBQ Cobham officials had laid on). We witnessed a 25 man brawl at Worthing. We had a nice trip to Ramsgate in the autumn sun (but the less said about the delights of Margate the better) and a battling scoreless draw against AFC Wimbledon in front of a decent crowd. We lost a great manager in Eddie Denton, obvioulsy exhausted by the whole sorry Slough soap opera – hey, at least Eddie you can walk away, we’re stuck with supporting this club!
There seems no real significant news on a move back to Slough. And as for football on the ‘best playing surface in the league’ – for who? Ducks? To be fair, the whole of December’s rain fell in just 24 seconds, so we went ages without a game and well, this Boxing Day fixture will probably be cancelled as well (which would be bloody annoying as it’s my birthday).
And yet, despite all this, I still enjoy coming to the games, well at least the social aspect (the Hendon game might have been called off, but at £2.30 a pint a few of us felt it our duty to stay till gone 5pm, drinking and chatting to various players and officials).
Of course there’s grumblings behind the goal, but supporters of any team like nothing more than a good old moan. At this level, its more real. We can chat to the players, some of whom are loyal to the club, drink during the game, change ends at half time, exchange pleasentries with oposition fans (when they’ve got any) and never pay more than a tenner to get in.
The fans i’ve interviwed for the programme’s Fans Focus who have mobility problems have nothing but praise for the club and its friendliness and willingness to go that extra mile to accomodate them. The Trust fought the local elections and did pretty well. The supporters team even won a game last Saturday, thanks in part to two young lads who play for the youth team the Trust sponsors.
So will there be a club to support next season? Will be have to start again at the bottom of the pyramid pile? The next few months in the relegation dog fight will no doubt have plenty more twists and turns. Better start writing that book.