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, March 10, 2008

SOMETHING TO SAVOUR

Printed in the Southern League South and West match v Paulton Rovers Saturday 8th March 2008. A 2-1 defeat and another dismal performance in front of 204 fans (at least my son and his cousin had fun being mascots).

Well what a great couple of weeks it’s been. OK, let’s forget about the Winchester AFC Hayes and Godalming games where 90 minutes of football spoilt a good day out; that win against top of the table Fleet really was something special, something to celebrate in the Beaconsfield shed!

Afterwards as we crammed into the bar it felt like Wexham Park old days as we were introduced to our new chairman Steve Easterbrook. Steve is a retired successful businessman who said “I’ve been a supporter since I was a boy. I continued to follow the club after moving away, and reading about the team falling down the leagues over the past five years made me want to help. So I phoned Roy Merryweather (club secretary) and it went from there.” Born and bred in Slough he was educated at Langley Grammar School. “I see my role as someone who steadies the ship, gives the club some direction, financial stability, plots the course forward, gives the fans some confidence and brings a bit more commercial awareness to Slough Town.” Steve joined the club last autumn as part of the management committee and has been involved in negotiating with Slough Borough Council over plans for the new stadium at Arbour Vale.

News of his appointment comes off the back of the meeting where councillors gave the thumbs up to outline proposals for a new ground. The club now have three months to come up with concrete plans to satisfy the council. There’s a long way to go, but it was the positive response the club desperately needed from all of Sloughs strange mix of political parties.

It was good to read some good news about us for once in the Slough Observers; especially how Slough Amateur Boxing Club are really keen on the move. This isn’t surprising as they are stuck at the dilapidated old Centre Stadium building in Manor Park, Sloughs home more than sixty years ago. A new boxing facility could end up playing a part 2012 Olympic Games.

I think all Slough supporters have felt battered and bruised especially over the past few seasons so all this was something to savour. That’s not to say there hasn’t been some enjoyable times since we got thrown out of the Conference, but mainly its been stumbling from one crisis to another like some old basket-case, until we are facing the possibility of playing in the FA Vase next season!

To be truthful I nearly didn’t bother with the Fleet game myself. My chauffeur, Gary House, had flu and I couldn’t face a five hour round trip to watch certain defeat. If I didn’t need to sort out a few things for my dad, well I would have been kicking myself and any cat that came near come 5 o clock Saturday night. But football is like that. It’s why we come back for more. It’s why we scratch our heads and wonder just why we can’t play like we did against Fleet and Farnborough every week we would be hoping to be in the play-offs not battling to stop ourselves dropping into the Dog and Duck League next season.

As for us fans, well it was good to see manager Mark Betts acknowledge the supporters in the programmes interview. Losing week after week for two seasons does knock the stuffing out of you! “It’s a great motivation before kick off knowing the support they are going to receive. The lads love it being applauded off.” Well you can thank the Beaconsfield ‘shed’ for that. How much better to be on some proper terracing under cover than stung out in a line and stuck in the open at some grounds we’ve visited this season, where its very hard to get the vocal chords motivated; and as for Windsor’s picturesque morque – let’s not even go there.

If that sort of atmosphere is good for the players, it’s certainly good for hooking younger supporters. While it has been doom and gloom, reading what other clubs supporters say about us gives us a lift. Lots of ex players come and watch, Matty Miller and his dad even have season ticket holders. How many players buy season tickets to support the club! Today I’ve got my son Ruben and his cousin Liam making an appearance on the pitch. This thankfully isn’t due to another financial crisis where all the players have left, but because they are mascots. Let’s hope we can get a win, get some singing in the shed and get away from that relegation trap door.


* To read about the new ground proposal plans http://www.thisisslough.com/live/stories/story.php?story_id=3137

* For some history and photos of what happened to our old ground Wexham Park

http://www.rebelsonline.co.uk/index.asp?stid=9000619

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