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.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Published in the last home game of the season v Godalming Town Sat 12th April 2008. We won 3-2 in front of 205 people, which means we ain’t relegated just yet!

Well it’s the end of another season, or at least our last home game of the season. And whereas last season we really were the leagues basket-case club, this time it’s been different - hasn’t it?!

OK, for much of the time the team has we’ve been woeful and relegation and a run in the FA Vase next season looks very likely. Infact the situation is so desperate we are now relying on a team going bust or another bout of non league re-organisation to save us from relegation into the Dog and Duck league. Not that I’ve got anything against dogs or ducks, no football club has a right to be in any league, you have to earn it and having no ground, six managers and over 100 players in two seasons was never going to be a recipe for success.

As I look at my notes for last seasons final home game I said “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!”

Well off the playing field things have changed dramatically. For starters we are at Beaconsfield, a bit further away than Windsor but at least its on the Slough Road and has got some covered terracing and a bar that sells beer that’s drinkable. We’ve got Arbour Vale as a possible new ground back in the town. A successful businessman has taken over as chairman, who seems to have his head screwed on rather than our former one whose heads shall we say politely seemed to be as much in the clouds as one of his ideas for a new ground. There’s a new management committee and lots of new iniatitives to raise make the club a bit more sustainable. Meanwhile Sue has been on a club-shop sales pitch roll that would make Alan Sugar proud.

After today, we’ve got 3 really important games. Us supporters can help make a big difference – so i hope as many of you travel to the Isle of Wight, Bridgwater and Fleet to make some noise and help the players pull off a mirarcle and stop us being relegated again.

In fact, once again the supporters have picked up plaudits along the way and really it is amazing when i’m on a nearly full coach to Bridgwater with plenty of others travelling by car and train when we’ve had nothing much too shout about for the past two seasons apart from how incredibly crap we’ve been.

Still football is full of ups and downs. As John Tebbit’s mentioned recently in the programme in his ‘Legends’ series; in the early sixties Slough Town were lucky to get 100 through the turnstiles. A few successful seasons and thousands started to come. Just look at clubs like Dartford, Leamington, Maidstone, Chelmsford – clubs that have lost their grounds or gone bust, now rising up the leagues. But these clubs have done it through lots of hard graft and we know that’s what lies ahead for us.

I leave the last word to a friend who came along to that Wimbledon game last season when we got thrashed 9-0 but refused to stop partying "Amazing spirit in the Slough camp. Here you are on the worst defeat of the worst season in your history joking, non-stop singing, having a party, supporting the team through it all. None of the blank faces, depression, whinging, getting on your team's back, sack everyone etc. The Rebels can't fail to return with support like that."

It’s a long way back, but the ever optimistic in me says that one day we will again be a force in non league football. Now I just need to get my map out to see where the hell London Tigers and Oxhey Jets play.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Printed in the Southern League South and West League match v Oxford City Saturday 5th April 2008. We lost 2-1 and are now five points adrift and looking certain for relegation. Crowd 198

Seriously, who would want to be a football manager? More to the point after our sixth manager in two seasons, surely you’d have to have a screw loose to want to manage Slough Town?

Steven King, the manager of Lewes, who has made moaning about officials into an art-form, must be scratching his head in disbelief about calls for his head by some supporters on their message board. They’d just lost but they were still second in the league, playing attractive football, gates pushing 800 (with about a third of these children), announcements about more football in the community schemes, massive ground improvements and knocking on the door of the Blue Square Premier. What more do supporters want? No doubt those calling for his head were not amongst the 40 odd fans who spent the season nearly eight years ago watching Lewes facing relegation from Ryman Division Three and almost certain oblivion.

Dario Gradi is the longest serving manager in the football league, managing Crewe for 25 years, but has faced criticism from some Crewe fans. OK the last few seasons haven’t been great, but Crewe survive on unearthing new players and selling them on as their gates are pretty pitiful. Before his arrival they were another bottom of the pile football league basket cases along with the likes of Rochdale and Workington. As Sir Alex Ferguson pointed out : "It's quite easy for me because I've got the motivation of being at a big club with big games every week but Dario has had to be there for over 20 years producing and selling players from his conveyor belt of talent. They've had to rely on that for financial stability but they've sold players time and time again and he still goes in every morning rebuilding. It's a fantastic job he's done, quite amazing. I'm sure he could have left Crewe millions of times so it just impresses me how lucky Crewe are to have a manager like him. He enjoys the challenge of producing young players and I think that is his main motivation."

When Sunderland manager Roy Keane was asked if he enjoyed being a manager recently he replied no. The interviewer continued 'It must be satisfying?' 'I get very little satisfaction from it.' Why do it?' 'I'm not sure. It's obviously a madness. You do it for the challenge. It's in you. It's a buzz. When I stopped playing I thought I could relax. But then I got this challenge from Sunderland. And I enjoy the challenge, even if I get very little satisfaction from it. Maybe a five-minute taste when we win a game. That's why managers are old before they know it. What I love is being in a team game, being part of a team with coaching, medical and scouting staff.'

Supporters have short memories, chairman want quick results, players complain when they are not playing. One week you are a hero, the next you don’t know what you’re doing.

And yet there is never a shortage of those who want to take up the hot-seat.

But Keane hit the nail on the head, it must be being part of a team, especially after you have spent years playing, it comes to an end and all of a sudden choices on a Saturday include being dragged round the shops.

I feel sorry for Betsy and Barney. They started to turn things around off the pitch putting everyone on the same wages, introducing a rule that if you didn’t train you didn’t get a game yet once they were officially appointed the slide towards relegation continued.

And what about Wilko, a Slough legend as a player, who didn’t leave much of a legacy as a Slough Town manager.

So let’s hope new boss Derek Sweetman can stop us being relegated to the Dog and Duck. If he does, he’ll be praised to the hilt. And then, it will be a new season and new demands. Us Slough fans will be expecting at least mid-table or maybe even a play-off fight. Anything less and no doubt people will be getting on the managers back. As they say “You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps.”