Printed in the Southern League South and West Division match v Paulton
Rovers Saturday 28th March 2009. We won 1-0 in front of 209.
I was expecting so much more this season. Being stupidly optimistic,
as most football fans are, I was rather foolishly hoping for at least
a sniff at the play-offs and a little run in the cups (even the Berks
and Bucks would have done). Instead we have been looking over our
shoulders at the bottom clubs and have had do with a few sporadic
highlights like beating Windsor. But it was the defeat at Uxbridge
that really did it for me and to be honest if there hadn’t been a
change of management I wouldn’t have bothered with much of the rest of
the season. Fair-weather fan? Whatever. But a five hour round trip
(and more if we are away) each week becomes pretty tiresome, and
watching Slough started to feel like a chore rather than something to
look forward too at the weekend.
Everyone’s agreed Derek Sweetman is undoubtedly a nice bloke. He
steadied the ship, but in the end it just wasn’t happening. I’m
pleased despite some really poor performances the majority of the
Slough supporters didn’t take out their frustrations on the manager or
the players. Especially after listening to some of the plonkers on the
football radio phone-in’s. So i’ve come up with a new reality TV
programme (because we need a few more, don’t we).
Forget Wife Swap, what about ‘Football Fan Swap’?
Any Arsenal fan found booing their team has to spend two months
watching Wingate and Finchley.
A season ticket watching Cowdenbeath to the knuckle-head Celtic
‘supporter’ who called for Gordon Strachan to be sacked for losing to
St.Mirren in the Scottish Cup.
Any Man United fans that ring up from Devon complaining that ‘it’s
just not good enough’, are banished to Barnstaple Town for six months
and made to clean the toilets after the game, preferably with their
As for Slough. Well as a gardener and it being the busiest time of
year for me, I have only seen a Steve Bateman team take apart Bishops
Cleeve in a very enjoyable day out in Gloucestershire.
But again, as we drove through Cheltenham, I felt depressed. Twenty
years ago I was watching Slough play Cheltenham. Now we are going to a
tiny little village outside Cheltenham. Now I mean no disrespect to
clubs like Cleeve – Slough deserve to be playing at this level, and
are of course, lucky not to be playing at the level below. Cheltenham
based Rebel supporter Grandad told me that Bishop Cleeve have had
their fair share of upheaval, losing their old ground when the Church
sold it off for housing and having to ground-share until they moved
into their new stadium. They had a nice clubhouse, but the ground was
a bit thread-bare, although tidy with sweeping views but unfortunately
there were more sheep watching the game than home fans.
I take my hat off to clubs like Cleeve. But – again no disrespect, I
have had enough of playing these clubs every week. I don’t want to
outnumber home supporters. I want some banter. Some atmosphere. And I
don’t want to lose nearly every week for THREE BLOODY SEASONS!!!
Just as successful managers like Arsene Wenger knows its at least top
four in the Premiership to stop the booing, Steve Bateman will know
the pressures of the new job. I expect nothing less than a battle for
a play off place next season!
I’ve got enough nice views from my front room window thank you very
much, without having to travel westwards every other week to look at