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.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Printed in the Ryman Premier League match v Bromley 14th April 2007. We lost 8-0!

It’s election time again and for Slough fans it’s a chance to ask prospective councillors a few questions about the club. So if you get a knock at the door ask them if Slough Town having a new football stadium in the town is one of their priorities.

Of course some will tell you there’s not enough money in the pot to help the club, not that the club is asking for any money. Still, I can only nod my head in disbelief when I hear that we all need to tighten our belts. Aren’t we the fourth richest nation in the world? So why the hell can’t we afford decent public services? And in my view, decent sporting facilities are a public service which every council should aspire too.

Still, maybe its something to do with the crazy system where it seems the richer you become the more ways there are to pay less tax. The top ten per cent of Britain now owns an incredible 54% of the wealth. And the top percentage of these have managed to get tax dodging down to a fine art. In 1999 The Economist reported that Sun and Sky TV owner Rupert Murdoch had made £1.4 billion in profits over the previous 11 years but had paid no corporation tax. After an examination of what was available of the accounts, it reckoned Murdoch would normally have expected to pay enough tax to “build seven new hospitals, 50 secondary schools or 300 primary schools”.

Infact football perfectly mimics society – just think of the wealth of the premiership clubs and their stars, a system so skewered that thanks to another even more lucrative TV deal, becoming bottom of the Premiership will get you £30 million! Then look at Hounslow Borough Football Club who went to the wall last week with debts of just £6,000.

These elections could make a difference to the fortunes of our club, with a more sympathetic bunch helping us look for solutions. Just look at Maidstone. It’s 15 years since they went out of business, but now they are coming home with their local council are backing a new stadium that is now being built for the club. Then of course there’s Dartford, whose new stadium Princes Park in the heart of the community is regular drawing crowds of a thousand plus in Ryman Divison One. I think its worth recalling their council leaders words to show just what can be achieved “Everyday, councils throw bucket loads of money at schemes to deal with anti-social behaviour, childhood obesity, community cohesion, civic pride and community relations. Here in Dartford, we took the view that rather than fund a series of expensive here today- gone tomorrow initiatives, we would invest in football as a catalyst for all those things. You simply cannot put a price on the sense of pride and worth that is developing around the town as a result of The Darts coming home. Princes Park will not only become a centre of spectator sport, but also as a participatory one too - for kids of all ages. I have told the club that they MUST bring kids in and encourage school sports finals and training to take place on the first pitch.

”I know that many Council's feel that they 'can't' do this, and 'can't' do that, and if we had stopped every time somebody had said that our dream was impossible then we wouldn't have got beyond advertising for an architect. Leadership is about legacies, not bureaucracy, and when I'm dead and gone they will bury me with a smile on my face because I know we have provided a facility that will makes tens of thousands of people happy every year. We've had enormous fun on the way and as far as this leader is concerned, creating great opportunities for community sport is EXACTLY what we should be doing. Forget casinos, Forget Business Parks, Forget Shopping Centres (the Private Sector will take care of itself) - it's getting kids introduces to the discipline, pleasure, rigours and routine of sport that matters. Show me a kid that participates in, or follows team sport and I'll show you a good kid.”

Slough is a diverse melting pot and in my mind the best way to bring the different cultures and people together is a successful community run football club in the heart of the town. At this present moment in time this might seem pie in the sky, but as clubs like Dartford and Maidstone show us, never say never in football.

When that knock at the door comes, just make sure you let them know that Slough Town coming home should be high on the list of their priorities.


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