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.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Birthday Boy

Published in the Ryman Premier League game v Ramsgate 24th March 2007. We lost again and will be relegated by next Saturday.


I’m writing these notes knowing that i won’t be at the game today. It’s my sons Ruben’s 1st birthday tomorrow and i’ll be busy getting the party prepartions together.

Not that a six hour round trip to visit Swamp Meadow will be greatly missed.

OK, it was a lot more pleasant in the sunshine for the Tonbridge game, but going there is a bit like going to the dentist. You don’t want to go but know you should really, although I don’t think my teeth will fall out if I miss the odd ‘home’ game. Mind you watching Slough this season has been a bit like getting your teeth kicked in.

Ruben has only managed a few games in his short life, but as he gets older no doubt he’ll be dragged along to lots of places to join the children who love nothing better to do than run up and down the terraces.

I envy the children that go to games this season. Too young to really care about the score, too little to know that this is our worst season in living memory. Little Alfie and his friends are happy to run around, and as our crowds have dropped, so much more space for them to leg around unhindered. I remember my mate’s kid one Conference game, playing peacefully at the back of the Wexham Park stand with his toy cars. A goal – a big cheer – then from the back we could hear sobbing from a very scared little boy.

Well, don’t worry parents, there’s no chance of another goal scoring scaring any small children this season!

There was some posts on the Slough Town forum about the reduction of ticket prices at Premiership games and would this affect non league, as we use the carrot of ‘cheap as chips’ football to try and lure the punters in. Personally, I think encouraging people to go to football full stop can only be a good thing, and will help all clubs, as people get in the habit of watching football rather than the million other leisure pursuits now on offer.

Last Saturday Accrington Stanley gave free entry for their relegation battle against Torquay. They scored a last minute winner in front of 4,000. It was a very romantic story for Accrington to be back in the league, but let’s be honest are they really a league club if they can’t even attract gates of 2,000 in their first season back for over 40 years?

Loads of people still support a league club and a non league club, but half the problem now is saturation TV coverage. Slough v East Thurrock on a cold February night or Champions league on the tele? I do think there needs to be a lot more mid week games early in the season and even switching to other days in the week to avoid clashing. We know there’s going to be fixture congestion late on and I’d much rather watch a match on an autumn night than a freezing February.
Non league clubs with big Sky TV screens no they are onto a winner, as we could see from a packed social club at East Thurrock the other week. West Ham fans decided to not watch us get thrashed and instead watched West Ham get thrashed at Charlton. They needed a lot of beers to drown their sorrows, which no doubt help East Thurrock pay the bills.

The fact is that non league is offering such a different footballing experience that many people who go to top level football find refreshing. We've just got to do our utmost to attract these people, even if it’s only occasionally. Mind you, I am worried about Reading's climb up the Premiership and any mussling in they do, not just on our support but also coaching opportunities. Of course, winning the odd game would help to attract people, but it’s still great to see clubs like the Hammers under 10's bringing their players along and posting that they “thank everyone at Slough Town for a great afternoon, special thanks to the Slough supporters who entertained us throughout with their banter and passion.” They won their league, so let’s give them a load of complimentary tickets for one of the last Saturday 'home' games.

And fingers crossed that this will be the last season I have to make that long trip to Windsor to see Slough Town play at ‘home’. That’s if we’ve got a club to support at all. What about a move to Beaconsfield? That would at least include a slap up meal in that oxymoron that is the Classy Touch (proper greasy cafe food, but the class bit?) a swift half in the Herschel and a taxi up the Farnham Road. At least it will feel a bit more like being in Slough and it will be Polish rather than tourists i’ll be mingling with in the High Street. Roll on next season.