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.

Monday, September 03, 2007

FA CUP DAYDREAMS

Printed in the programme for the FA Cup Preliminary Round tie against Fleet Town 1st September, 2007. We lost 4-1 . Attendance 202.


Well it felt as near to home as it could; it’s on the Slough Road, even if the taxi from the centre of town did cost £12. Pre match pints and shopping in Slough before the game – and no tourists! It was a very warm welcome from our new landlords Beaconsfield. Being so out of the way supporters actually went into the bar before and after the game; the Taunton fans created a good atmosphere, the rain meant a lot of us were crammed into the covered terracing behind the goal and apart from the last minute goal we conceded it would have been a great start to the season. It certaintly was a lot more fun than the opening fixture against Leyton at Stag Meadow last season, with an atmosphere that wouldn’t have been out of place at a morgue. The move to Beaconsfield has been a positive one, and not just financially. I’ve never liked Windsor’s Stag Meadow as a ground, sure the backdrop of Windsor Great Park is an impressive one, but Beaconsfield is more compact, more conducive to getting some sort of atmosphere going. And like i said it’s on the Slough Road, you can almost smell the Mars bars.

And now to the FA Cup. Well, it might be predictable and dull as dishwater at the later stages, but not so for us minnows battling it out in, well i was going to say the summer sunshine but i’m not quite sure what that is. For clubs like Slough entering the FA Cup Preliminairy Round it’s a time for dreaming. To be honest it will probably only be dreams this season, but a bit of a cup run, some new places to visit, a few extra quid in the bank and who knows.

I remember last season coming back on the train depressed about our defeat at Farnborough, telling some incredulous Brighton fans that yes the FA Cup had already started – and that we were already out! It was also the match that Eddie Denton decided he’d finally had enough of Slough, and our promising young manager was off.

There’s already been a round before today’s game, with 342 Extra Preliminairy ties taking place. Team Northumbria, a side made up of students from Northumbria University, were stuffed 11-0 by Consett in front of 72 people, while Dereham Town thrashed Fakenham Town 12-0 with ten different scorers! 193 saw that clash. Biggest gate was 602 where Dinnington Town beat former mining village Maltby Main 2-1.

Just 38 people saw Frimley Green lose at home to Colliers Wood United who must be over the moon sharing those gate receipts which are split in half; luckily for them all winners in the last round receive a £500 prize. The prize money is really welcome at this level, but is a million quid for the winners and £900,000 for semi finalists really necessary? Do Chelsea need another bloody million quid? Or maybe John Terry needs another pay rise. The FA Cup is a great way of getting some of that cash to those scrapping at the bottom of the barrel, but it should be distributed a lot more evenly.


As for the magic of the cup being over. “If anyone wants proof that the FA Cup still has all the old magic they should come and see us.” So says the manager of Chasetown who two seasons back featured on Match of the Day where they managed to draw with Oldham in front of an audience of 3.2 million. “The FA Cup transformed our club. We quadrupled our gates to about 320 and got new sponsors. We got a new car park, new dug outs and went on to win the league and get into the Southern League.”

Meanwhile Dinnington from South Yorkshire were only formed seven years ago and their progress has been rapid. Their game against Maltby was moved to 7.30pm on the Friday night so Sky could film the first kick of this seasons cup. The club were inundated with press and the FA Cup was on display, and even at this early round the club were hoping that interest shown would encourage increased support for both teams.

As for Slough, I often wonder what would have happened if we had beat Yeading and played Newcastle United at ‘home’ in the FA Cup 3rd round. Our victory over Walsall was only two seasons back, but it already seems like a dream. Or has it been a nightmare ever since?

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