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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TRAVEL SICKNESS

Printed in the Southern League South and West league game v Thatcham Town Monday 25th August 2008. A 1-1 draw in front of 278 with Thatcham equalizing in the eighth minute of injury time!

I know beggars can’t be choosers, but some of the travelling this season is ridiculous. I’m not having a pop at Truro, but surely at this level, travelling should be kept to a minimum.

The pyramid has been a wonderful thing for the non-league game. Successful clubs can rise and rise until they ‘do a Wimbledon’ and gatecrash the big four in the Premiership (Oh, sorry that sort of nonsense was stopped by the Premiership rules which says you must have a dodgy foreign owner in order to win the league).

It’s mad enough that in the Blue Square Premier the part-timers of Barrow will be travelling to the part-timers of Lewes, let alone that four leagues below them Slough have long trips to Cinderford and Bridgwater.

I know there is always going to be problems for clubs out on a geographically limb, but with oil prices rising and the knock on effect that has with everything going up (except wages, where the poor must eat gruel, while the super rich must be not be allowed to pay any taxes in case they up sticks and go and live elsewhere) travelling is becoming a serious expense for clubs already struggling to make ends meet.

OK, some Slough fans will argue that the Oxfordshire and the South West is preferable to the M25. Well, actually shopping at Tesco’s is preferable to a journey on the M25 (maybe not) but that’s not the point.

I think one way of overcoming some of the problems is creating a Blue Square Midlands, although knowing our luck we would win a couple of promotions and be shoved in it for a laugh. Ideally the Blue Square Premier should be regionalised as well, but that’s never going to happen until lots more clubs go bust and Altrincham get a relegation reprieve for the 12th year running.

I know its exciting going to new places after years of Boreham Wood and Billericay.

And quite frankly a trip to Truro beats a day out at Windsor’s Slug Meadow any day of the week (well maybe not a weekday as we’d all have to take two days off work just to get to Cornwall and back, and wouldn’t we laugh if the game was called off!). But can we have some common sense, so we don’t see the first club go bust cos they can’t afford their transport bills.

Maybe Slough can find an oil baron to sponsor us? I’ve heard the Saudi Arabian monarchy are looking to invest in English football teams to help present themselves in a more favourable light. If the ex Thai Prime Minister can pass the football leagues ‘fit and proper’ test, then no doubt a few more authoritarian human rights abusers should be ok.

Maybe Anil the coachdriver, can convert the supporters coach to run on chip-fat – there must be enough old buckets of the stuff lying around footie grounds to keep his coach running for years. Or maybe we can just suck the chip and burger fat directly out of the stomachs of those rotund non league fans that want to loose a few pounds and will do anything to help keep their local football club alive.

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