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.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

SING WHEN WE’RE LOSING

Printed in the Ryman Premier League programme v Hendon Sat 17th Feb. We lost 1-0.

The player exodus had begun with suspensions and injuries taking their toll. As we queued up outside the turnstiles at Boreham Wood everyone - apart from the ever optimistic Nigel – predicted that with a very patched up squad against an in form team, we were in for a thrashing. 6-0 was the final result, but our players got applauded off the pitch. They had down their best. The Wood supporters, whether they were, hardly made a peep.

A week before Christmas at Chelmsford, me and fellow Sussex Rebel Gary were waiting to get in (10 security outside the turnstiles, but no one to man the bloody things) when Wilko (Slough's player manager) told us another two players had left. If it was bare bones before, it was desperate now. Only about 40 Slough supporters made the trip – but whereas at the beginning of the season, our lackluste performances produced bickering, long bouts of silence and abuse for some players, this time it was different. The floodgates eventually opened and Chemlsford, a side who included seven ex Conference players, beat us 5-0. But the Slough supporters never stopped making noise, got in a bit of very successful Jeff King baiting (Chelmsford's delightful manager) and applauded our players of the pitch. Why? Because the players gave everything they had and you can’t ask for more than that. The defeats continued, including 5-1 at Carshalton which led to manager Mark West resigning, despite another loud following behind the goal. Then we got that win at Heybridge – our first since October, sending the players and supporters delirious. Then followed an amazing turn out at Horsham away on a cold Tuesday, where we sung throughout the game even when we went 4-0 down. A couple of 5-0 thrashings at home, but still the singing continues.

It seems our fans are thriving on the backs against the wall mentality. 42 players and 3 managers this season says it all really. The players that are left and pulling on the shirt are doing their best against all the odds – and the supporters appreciate that, rather than cheering for those that threatened to go on strike because they hadn’t been paid earlier in the season.

One Horsham fan commented "I thought the Slough fans were absolutely top - they sang louder the more desperate things got for their team in an attempt to lift spirits on the grass, and the obvious bond between team and fans at the final whistle was very commendable."

At the end of the home thrashing against East Thurrock their manager came and shook the hands of Slough supporters and said what a great bunch of fans we are. He said that at no point did he hear our fans moan at our players and that we were a credit to the club, and that the support was fantastic in such difficult circumstances.

Others from Margate to Wimbledon have praised us. Meanwhile a letter in the local press from a failed BILLD councilor (BILLD a part of the coalition running Slough Council who hate the football club for some reason) wondered if our club wanted council money for a new set of players as well as money for a new ground. Leaving aside the fact that the club has never asked for any cash from the council just a chance to play back in the town, I think most organizations would kill for the active support the club has. Of course, more people are always needed to get involved, and we are down to the hardcore of support, but it was less than a decade ago when we were regularly pulling in 1,000+ to watch us compete in the Conference. On my travels on the train to games, I always seem to bump into someone who used to watch the club and can’t quite believe the mess we are in.

Relegation would leave us at our lowest ever level. Last Saturday I had a chance to peer into that future and I didn’t like what I saw. A few of us went to see Burnham play Beaconsfield. The football wasn’t helped by the mud, but what really struck me was that a crowd of 250 could be so quiet. There wasn’t one shout - apart from one young lad who was wearing a Slough top - let alone a chant and you could hear every word the players were saying. If anything, at least the singing and support makes going to games far more enjoyable, and half the point of football is to let off steam. Maybe the people of Burnham don’t need too?

If Wilko does pull off a bloody miracle and stop us getting relegated, it will be us fans who would have played a major part. As they say in football clichés, whatever the score, it’s up to every fan to keep on being the clubs 12th man.

1 Comments:

Anonymous woody wefc said...

What's even more shocking is burnham only brought 10 at the most to our place! Windsor take 20/30 ish most games and that's alot for this level. However at least it's not the ryman league and some decent away trips!

2:50 pm

 

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