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.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

THE SPIRIT OF SLOUGH TOWN

Printed in the Ryman Premier League programme v Margate Saturday 7th April 2007. After last weeks battering we got a very credible 2-2 draw and should have won the game.


It was our heaviest defeat since 1910. Yet any Slough fans that weren’t at the Wimbledon game on Saturday will probably think I’ve really lost the plot when I say that it was one of my best days supporting the Rebels over the past 30 years.

But let’s start at the beginning of a very early day with Ruben waking the house before even the milkman had been. First off was up the A3 to Colliers Wood Football Club. Even a non league saddo like me had never heard of the club who are new to the Combined Counties and where the highest attendance this season is 75. Anyway our supporters team and a few of my mates I’d dragged along were playing the Wombles supporters. We lost 10-1 last season, but this year it finished 7-3. An omen for later that afternoon?

Playing for the supporters is a good laugh. Despite my crap second half performance and feeling a 100 when I came off, it’s a great way for supporters to get together and start the day. Then it was off to Wimbledon for some pre match pints; we were going to need it. Whatever some people think of Wimbledon I’m bloody impressed with their set up and will miss going there. The clubhouse reminds me of Wexham Park when it was packed before and after a game. As we arrived a sponsored walk with hundreds of kids led by Haydon the Womble was arriving at the ground –being a fans run club with no massive backer they have to rely on everyone pulling in sponsorship and fundraising which they do very professionally. And with their 18 point deduction reduced to 3 and promotion back on track there was a real buzz about the place.

We knew before kick off that we were relegated and so it was decided to have a party. The fact that we were so thoroughly outclassed on the pitch, never once dampened the spirits of our supporters who never shut up once for the whole 90 minutes. Even when they’d stuck nine past us, we boomed out "were going to win 10 -9....!” as well as the now legendary ‘The Ryman League is Upside Down’ song. After the game even one of their players came over to clap us while Haydon the Womble gave us a bow. Their supporters clapped and hugged us and bought us more drinks; during the after match presentation they praised us supporters, and although its easy to generous when you’ve won so convincley it felt good to be a Slough supporter. It felt even better when quite a few of our players said the only reason they still play for the club is because of the support (well, it certaintly wouldn’t be for the money they are on!).

The fans internet forum was buzzing. One Slough fan Kevin summed the day up perfectly My son Jake and I have just got back to Ashby de la Zouch after a fantastic afternoon! Although only part time Slough fans due to our other commitments we had to be at Kingsmeadow today and we have to say it is the best 290 mile round trip we have ever done! My first comments are about Wilko and the players. Whatever the score, you could not for one second question the commitment of everyone of the players today and whilst they may not be the most gifted group of footballers ever assembled they can stand proud in the fact they gave all they had for the shirt today. 'Serve with honour' it says and 'Serve with honour' they did.

As for the rest of you fans - two words - stunning support! Me and the lad felt like intruders because we haven't been all over the south of England like the rest of you so we stood and admired your fantastic and undying support for the club. I have been to Premiership winning and FA Cup winning matches but nothing compares to the way you guys (and gals) kept singing and singing. The players reactions at the end shows that it is appreciated. Thanks again to all the Slough fans at Kingsmeadow for reminding me what true supporters are all about.”

Brazilian Don said “I was one of the stewards at he away end in the first half and have to compliment you all on the fantastic support you showed for your team. I'd rate you 12 in a scale of 1 to 10!!! On a different note, can I just say that your team did you proud on the pitch today. You could have put 10 people behind the ball and hooffed everything in sight, including our strikers, but you didn't. You came to play football.

I leave the last word to my mate Gibby, who came along to the game "Amazing spirit in the Slough camp. Here you are on the worst defeat of the worst season in your history joking, non-stop singing, having a party, supporting the team through it all. None of the blank faces, depression, whinging, getting on your team's back, sack everyone etc. The Rebels can't fail to return with support like that."

Forget this season – it’s time to rebuild for next. It’s up to us supporters to remember these days, that when we do stand together we can steady the sinking Slough Town ship and one day make it a force again in non league football.

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