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, April 13, 2009

AT LEAST WE'VE GOT ONE

Printed in the Southern League South and West division v Taunton Town.
Slough played in pink in aid of Breast Cancer Research and drew 2-2 in
front of 248.

At the last count I was up to about 150 – although no doubt some are
now buried under the jackboots of Tesco superstores. I’ve added
another 6 this season alone and with thirty years of football support
behind me, they start racking up.
I’m talking about football grounds, and being a Slough Town supporter
the majority of these have been non league.
God knows how many teams Slough have played over the past few years
with relegation after relegation, re-organisation after re-
organisation. Infact one of the more enjoyable aspects of supporting a
lower league football club is the amount of different places and
grounds you get to visit. Just don’t put me down as a ground-hopper.
You won’t see me in a large mac, hanging around the secretary’s office
hoping to get a team-sheet, complaining if there isn’t a programme or
bog roll in the toilets. But I do like to visit new places – even if
they happen to be Billericay, Barnet and Basingstoke.
I also like arriving at grounds at least a few hours beforehand. With
our weekend plans to the New Forest postponed, I decided to get the
train to Totton hours before kick-off. Problem was there wasn’t even a
greasy café to stuff my face in the small town centre (but I did get a
nice jar of home-made marmalade, which gives you an indication of the
place). Still the club were kind enough to open the bar for me.
Thatcham had a lovely old pub by the station, but was yet another tin-
pot ground where we failed to win. Cirencester was even less
impressive apart from the clubhouse. A barren wind-swept place on the
outskirts of town where I spent more time in the club-house trying to
warm up rather than watching another abject performance.
I didn’t really see much of Cornwall as we broke the speed barrier to
get to the game on time, and it looks like we won’t be going to Truro
any time soon. I quite liked Taunton, and Gosport has a certain charm
about it although it really could do with some more cover. I wouldn’t
want to be at Bishops Cleeve on a wet and windy afternoon either. And
it’s probably best to keep stum about Windsor, Abingdon and
Bracknell.
My favourite this season is Paulton, no doubt helped by the best away
performance of the season. The place felt at the heart of the
community, the higgildy piggildy ground had great views and the
covered terracing behind one of the goals that looked down on the
pitch is something I’d like to see replicated at Arbour Vale.
In our Conference days, speeding up the motorways towards Manchester
and other far flung outposts was a regular occurrence. So was getting
lost. I have continued that tradition by finding myself stumbling
around in woodland while looking for AFC Hayes and being totally
bemused in the pouring rain with a sodden map trying to find Walton
and Hersham (with the game called off just 15 minutes after I got
there).
I enjoyed that last game of the season against Worthing where we all
met up on the sea-front in thick sea mist. Me and my girlfriend having
an away break in the picturesque town of Maldon. That great weekend in
the Isle of Wight.
But of course, the ground I would most like to visit is the one at
Arbour Vale, with thousands of us packed in for the first game of the
season. Now that would really give us all something to cheer about and
give us the right to criticize other grounds without being told ‘at
least we’ve got one.’

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home