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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

SEVEN OUT OF TEN

Printed in the Southern League south and west league match v Hillingdon Borough. 27th November 2007. We lost 3-1 in front of 167. The day before our manager and assistant manager resigned.

Who would have thought there would be two non-league papers a few years back? I know that for those under the age of 20, it’s hard to comprehend life before mobile phones, email, facebook, bebo, myspace, youdrivel and the millions of other ways we can all keep in touch with each other (am I missing something, but why does anyone care what their mates are doing 24/7?). But when I started watching Slough Town it was hard enough trying to get hold of results of matches in our league, let alone reading supporters comments on the internet.

The Oxford United Manager Jim Smith was recently on the warpath, blaming the web based football forums for making everyone a manager and then there’s the radio phone-in where anyone with a big gob and little understanding of football can mouth off. But surely giving supporters a voice is a good thing? I was involved in one of the Slough Town fanzines ‘Rebels Without A Clue’ which was part of the wave of independent football fanzines that started demanding a right to be heard and has culminated in the Supporters' Trust movement.

Anyway, in a recent copy of the upstart NonLeagueToday, the Slough Town programme received a favourable 7 out of 10. So being an investigate type, I tracked down the reviewer to find out a bit more about him and how the hell – in the age of computers and mass communications- we’ve got two papers covering non league footie to choose from on a Sunday morning.

David Fletcher is an Associate Editor with the NLT, who lives on the outskirts of Romford, “but a safe distance inside the M25 that warrants him having five fingers on each hand."
He has supported Romford since 1965, apart from the club's 14-year sabbatical from '78 to '92. His first visit to Slough was for an FA Cup game at the Dolphin in 1971, where Romford 1-0 and he visited Wexham Park for their debut in the Conference, against Boston United. The Prog Blog review is part of his remit at the paper and despite upsetting a few people this season, he is of the impression that you should tell it as it is, even though the columns are just a personal opinion.

So will two non-league papers survive?

“A few of us at NonLeagueToday used to work for the Dark Side (aka the NLP). I would love to have been a fly on the wall of their office when we first issued this August. As for sales, well all I know is that we are sitting between 35-42,000 a week. We have experienced a few technical glitches along the way, but things are running more smoothly now. Personally I wouldn't lose any sleep if they went under.”

Why do you think that NLT is better than the Non-League Paper?
"It's a bit like asking Dawn Neesom why the Star is better than the Sun! Full colour throughout makes it look more impressive and I believe our feature articles and regular columns are far more vibrant and cutting edge."

What do you think of non-league programmes?
“Whoever produces them, 99% of the time they are a labour of love. I was editor of the Romford programme for three seasons and spent many a late night in the office to produce, what I would like to think, was a readable and presentable issue. I do prefer my issues to be A5 and have football content that is relevant to both sides on the day. Just neatly laid out, spell-checked and devoid of those ghastly email quotes...grrrrr.”

What do you mean by email quotes?
“For some strange reason, when one copies and pastes from email, the apostrophes tend to have no relation to the type face one is using. A quick search and replace gets rid of them. Nitpicking maybe, but just professional pride I suppose.”

You wrote that the Slough programme needed a sub-editor, then a recebt issue of NonLeagueToday didn’t print any of the Trophy results! What happened?
"Technical glitch = Communication breakdown. These things can happen in a small office with an 8.30pm deadline. Not good, but not intentional and we will hold our hands up to the error."

You gave the Slough programme seven out of ten, what would we need to do to get an eight?

“A few more action shots wouldn't go amiss and considering that Slough have cornered the non-league YouTube market, there has to be plenty out there!”

Any advice to give to people who are thinking of becoming a programme editor or want to improve their clubs issue?
"You have to remember if you are working alone it can be very time consuming. Try to think a bit left field, but never cram it with nonsensical bits that have no relation to the game in hand."

So it’s up to you lot there to help Glen the Slough programme editor out and start sending in your articles, and see if we can push our score to 8!

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