THERE’S ALWAYS NEXT SEASON
Printed in the Ryman League Premier game v Chelmsford City 21st April 2007. We lost 4-0 but played better than the score suggests. Problems with the printers mean't no programme.
This is my last notes of the season.
It must be boring being a Chelsea/Man United/Arsenal fan, where a season of crisis usually means finishing third and only reaching two cup finals. When they do lose a game their whinging managers always blame everything else and cry that its not fair - ban FA Cup replays, international matches; blame injuries (ignoring the fact that they’ve got 16 internationals on the subs bench) or refs that have got it in for you. It’s like listening to some millionaire boss complaining about not having enough perks of the job. Infact I’m surprised one of them hasn’t complained that their opponents scored a goal cos the ball was too round.
For the rest of us plebs who have to put up with season after season of not-very-much, the anticipation of a fresh start brings out the optomist even in the most pessimist of people, telling ourselves ‘just wait till next season.’
Still, what a season we’ve had! Everyone will be no doubt be glad to see the back of it – the worst in Sloughs 117 year history - although it has been a laugh at times, and who knows maybe we can throw a spanner in the works and stop Hampton getting automatically promoted in the last game of the season. That would make the presentation evening very sweet indeed! And as time rolls on, we can at least tell all our new supporters when we are flying high in the non league world again, that we were there when getting a thrashing was a weekly event! Still, we helped put a dent in Margate’s promotion bid with that excellent draw, and you could see from their frustration they expected to roll us over. That’s one thing we knew we’d get with Wilko as manager – someone who instills a battling belief in the team and never say die attitude. Our support – what’s left of it – has been brillant and if we can at least start winning a few more games, hopefully a few more people will be dragged kicking and screaming through whatever turnstiles host our ‘home’ games next season.
Knowing relegation was a certainty around Christmas time had its bright side. Being one of the first in the non league pryamid to go down (just after Lancaster City who look like they will be finishing the season with minus one point!) meant we could relax, enjoy a sing-song, not get at the players and drink ourselves silly at grounds we aren’t likely to visit in a long while. It also meant that I didn’t have to spend weeks wracking my brain over the possible results of the bottom clubs and the myriad of permutations these could have on the final table.
Instead we could ponder on what league will we be in next season. Will we have a decent squad to compete? What will our playing budget be? Where will the club be playing? Will there be any news on a move back to Slough? Will be have an exciting FA Cup run? Will we have more local lads playing? Will Sue really set up a tequlla bar in the club shop when she takes over as club shop manager? And will we still have a club to support!
My preference for next season from a purely footballing point of view is the Ryman South. It’s a tough league, but there will be trips over to Kent where teams at least have decent grounds and football clubs with history, predigree and supporters. There will be a chance to see Dartford’s amazing new ground if they don’t go up. I always enjoy trips to Dulwich Hamlets ground, the beers cheap at Met Police and Hastings, Burgess Hill, Worthing and Horsham are just around the corner. I like the idea of going to see Walton Casuals whose supporters are no doubt covered in Burberry. Croydon Athletic also do a mean cheese toastie, which is just what you need after getting lost in the nearby cemetary.
Over in the Southern league, the places are a lot more pictureseque being full of village sides, but only Didcot and Chesham attract decent crowds.
As my school headmasters no doubt told us in assembly, its the taking part that matters, and to enjoy the highs you’ve got to experience the lows. Well, we’ve had enough lows thank you very much, isn’t it about time Man United/Chelsea/Arsenal had a relegation battle on their hands? No doubt if they did get relegated, they would manage to change the rules to ban relegation that season. For the rest of us, we can enjoy the summer break and hope that next season will be one to savor.
See you next season.