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.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Printed in the Southern League Midlands Division match v Sudbury Town Saturday 13th February 2010. We lost 1-0 in front of 238 people.

I blame my dad for my Slough Town addiction. Although he didn’t particularly like football, much preferring darts, he took me and my brother to our first Slough game -Slough schoolboys against Liverpool schoolboys in the FA Youth Cup final in front of over eight thousand people. I was 12 when he brought me my first ever Slough Town season ticket and he was our unofficial taxi for home games and supplemented my paper round money so I could get to away games. We even dragged him along to my son Ruben’s first ever football match (a Slough one of course) after assuring him that there wouldn’t be eight thousand people at the game this time.

Born in Slough in 1938, he spent his first few days in Upton workhouse until his aunt came for him and brought him up as her son. After school he joined the Merchant Navy and when he left he married my mum and shortly afterwards I was born quickly followed by my brother Spencer. He worked at Miller, Morris and Brookers for over 30 years, working his way up till he eventually became transport manager.

To say my dad liked a drink would be an understatement and the tales of his past endeavors always bought a smile to my face. He was also a very generous man – especially for stuff that wasn’t his to give away! I fondly remember the parties at our old house in Westfield Road, lodgers, uncles and plenty of people around. When he and my mum divorced he moved to 14 Alpha Street and that was to become his home for nearly 30 years. I moved in with him for a few years accompanied at times, by numerous waifs and strays that loved his company. And don’t tell me it was just co-incidence that the Alpha Arms Pub closed for over a year shortly after he left the street!

For the last 16 months of his life he moved into the new extra housing complex in Northampton Avenue. Before every ‘home’ game I would go and visit him, sort out his post, pay his bills and inevitably be sent on a Whisky run. He would drive me and my brother mad with his requests for immediate refreshment and could be a miserable old sod, but we all knew deep down he was a very decent man. One of my mates Joe Conti, was his particular favourite, ‘The Italian Stallion’ as he used to call him. Joe told me that he was just an all round nice bloke, who never did anyone any harm. How people rallied around when he was ill, to sort out his house in Alpha Street, to do his shopping, or the phone calls and texts I have received since his death, is a testament to that.

The drinking and smoking had taken its toil, and he wasn’t well, but could still get about on his electric wheelchair and loved his new home and all the staff. I’m gutted about his death, but happy in the knowledge that there was no lingering illness and that he died peacefully in his sleep. He didn’t leave many possessions, but that wasn’t who he was. He liked a laugh, a drink and I and a few others at today’s game will no doubt be nursing a hangover from yesterdays wake in the Herschel Arms.

Goodbye dad, I will miss you. And I’ll be raising a glass for the good times and memories I have of you at today’s game.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


This article should have been printed in the home game v Hitchin Town 6th Feb 2010 but the game was called off because of a frozen pitch.

I’ve been scratching my head to try and work out just what those funny munchkin type creatures, known as the Glazers, actually brought to the Manchester United party. Since the Glazers takeover in May 2005, the once wealthy club are now £716 million in debt, ticket prices have nearly doubled while the Munch-Bunch have paid themselves nearly £23 million in ‘management and administration fees’. Now the bearded wonders are proposing to flog the training ground and then lease it back, just like Leeds United did during their financial collapse. The Glazer takeover led to the breakaway club FC United of Manchester, but those that stayed are also now beginning to protest, with banners and chants at the Burnley game and some supporters groups even asking for Alex Ferguson to resign in protest!
Over in Merseyside, Liverpool’s prospects aren’t much rosier. With a manager they can’t afford to sack and no sign of the promised new ground they are £350 million in debt. There could be even more serious financial repercussions if they don’t achieve their God given right to a Champions League place.
Down at the bottom, Portsmouth are in danger of being the first ever club in the Premiership to slip into administration. Goal keeper David James said “Who would have thought that playing in the Premier League, winning the FA Cup, and playing in Europe would bring such disaster? Unbelievably we are now paying the price for that success at Portsmouth. Late wage payments, severe debts, the threat of administration and relegation, ironically all of these problems can be traced back, in part, to our achievements. After we won the Cup I was told that one of our financial people predicted it would ruin us. They were right.”
Lower down the leagues, it is estimated that over half the clubs are technically insolvent, and picking up a copy of the Non League Paper is more like reading the Financial Times.
Lewes nearly paid for the price for reaching for the Conference stars, and it was only a last minute payment of nearly fifty grand to the taxman that recently stopped the club disappearing into oblivion. Oblivion was the fate of 130 year old Kings Lynn FC of the Unibond Premier who owed the taxman £67,000. Despite regular gates of over a thousand, they were relegated last season because of ground grading regulations and will next season be starting all over again as Lynn FC in the Eastern Counties League. Then there’s Chester City who are doing their best to make Portsmouth look well run.
You would hope that all this financial madness would galvanise the authorities to act and football clubs to start getting their houses in order. But as the list of clubs in trouble, entering administration or going bust ever lengthens you start to realize that those in charge of our football clubs are very much like the big bankers. A year on from screwing the world’s economy, those at the top are once again back to awarding themselves big bonuses. In football we have people like Portsmouth Chief Executive Peter Storrie who received £1.23 million in 2009, part of a trebling of pay and benefits for Portsmouth directors while the club sunk into debt.
As football supporters how long are we prepared to let this continue? To hand over our cash to football madmen who line their pockets, sell off our stadiums and grind football clubs into the ground? I want Man United or Liverpool to go bust in the hope that it will bring everyone to their senses and for football clubs to be seen as essential community assets that shouldn’t be messed with. I’m not holding my breath.