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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Printed in the Southern League Central Division match v Uxbridge. Coming back from a festival I missed the game – only a 5-2 thriller in front of 315 people. Slough are second in the league.

For most of us watching today’s game, Non League Day won’t change our habits, but next Saturday (4th September) is a first in the footballing calendar. With no Premiership or Championship matches Non League Day is the chance to try and encourage supporters of bigger clubs to go and support their local non league team.

Lower league football clubs scratch their heads and try and come up with ideas to prise people away from wall to wall football on the TV and get more punters through the turnstiles. Slough are running with Target 400 games to increase our attendances with free tickets, kids for a quid and posters around town. At Barkingside they are offering half price entry for season tickets holders of league clubs (although this still led to one ‘loyal’ Barkingside supporter moaning about it in the Non League Paper, obviously happy with crowds of less than 100!)
So bobble hats off to QPR supporter and part-time Harrow Borough fan Jamie Doe, who started a Twitter and Facebook campaign suggesting the opportunity for 'professional' football supporters to go out and support their local team for one-day in the hope that price-comparison of watching the top-men will encourage them to go and watch the 'little-uns' more and more. Jamie said, "The idea for Non-League Day came to me after going to OPR's pre-season game at Tavistock a couple of weeks ago. The club and fans were made really welcome by the hosts and it was obvious how financially important the visit was to them. In the last year or so I've heard repeatedly how money is becoming really tight for non league clubs - the last time I went to watch Harrow they were about to hold a fundraising night to buy some new bulbs for the floodlights. Their plight cannot be unique so I wanted to start Non-League Day to try and give our local clubs a bit of publicity and a shot in the arm."
Maybe they wont throw their expensive season tickets in the bin and decide to watch non-league football instead, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be encouraged to show a little support for their smaller local brethren – many Chelsea supporters used to come and watch Slough play when Chelsea were away. Some may only go just the once, but others may start to go more regularly and every penny counts. Just look at the play off final against Chesham where lots of people came to support the Rebels for the first time in years.
Non League Day is now gathering momentum, backed by the Football Supporters Federation and with publicity from the BBC and various leading sports websites. They stress that this is not a protest movement, but an opportunity for fans to experience life at the other end of the football spectrum where many clubs are kept alive by the benevolence of hard working volunteers.
Many of us non league fans shake our heads in dismay at just how the Premiership can be awash with cash, while grassroots football struggle. Jamie’s simple but innovative way of tackling the problem. As he put it "With England playing the night before and the premier league and championship taking a week off, I urge all fans of the big clubs to get out and watch their local non-league team instead on Saturday 4th September. Given the current financial climate, clubs outside the football league need all the support they can get, so your presence at a game will be genuinely appreciated. With tickets and refreshments at a fraction of the cost, what's stopping you?"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Printed in the first league game of the season v Barton Rovers Saturday 14th August 2010. We won 2-1 in front of 279 people.

I loved the World Cup. The fact that it was in Africa; the flowing, attacking football; the atmosphere. That the sun shined for once as we hunted exotic Brighton boozers to watch games like a bunch of sad ground hoppers.
I hated the World Cup. Too many defensive, tedious games, the fact that the last African team were so badly cheated out of getting to the semis. That Holland switched to karate in the final. That bloody annoying wasp drone/atmosphere destroying vuvuzela or the empty seats while South African fans said they couldn’t afford tickets. Actually forget all that, the thing that drove me round the bend was what a few seconds on a TV screen does to people. In a slough of despond a French supporter holds his head in his heads as his team lose. But wait, the cameras are on him, his face lights up and he’s all smiles. Listen you grinning idiot, you’re team are still going home; what’s to be happy about, the fact that you got two seconds of fame?
At least I suppose England could hide behind the French political inquisition, and the players wouldn’t find themselves questioned in a North Korean People’s Court for six hours. But what is it with all us knuckle-heads, that think England ever really have a cat in hells chance of winning the world cup again? One final appearance and three semis is the same record as Sweden’s.
Which is funny really cos Sky and the Premiership keep telling us it’s the best league in the world. So fantastic that even our top teams are millions of pounds in debt, and Portsmouth nearly went bust and will be lucky not be relegated again this season. I often think Sky Sports News would give North Korean News a run for its money in its impartiality and ignoring of anything that criticizes the product too much. Just sparkly teethed grinning news readers who repeat the same thing over and over. In one ‘exclusive’ interview they spoke to ex Portsmouth Chief Executive Peter Storrie who received £1.23 million in 2009. Storrie attacked those Portsmouth fans who had turned on him after all he done for the club. They of course neglected to chat to any Pompey fans about the disastrous financial melt-down he had overseen.
The FA’s ‘Blueprint for the Future of Football’ published in 1991, talked of a slimmed down 18-team top flight with promises that the national team would benefit. That pledge was swiftly ditched and English football finances became stacked in favour of the bigger clubs – whose managers are forever complaining that their players have to play internationals.
I don’t know why England are so crap but I do know we have an overblown self importance of ourselves when it comes to football. Yes, football plays an important part of our culture. Yes, there are more professional clubs here than anywhere else in Europe, possibly the world barring Brazil. But as Spain showed when it comes to playing it beautifully, we are the footballing equivalent of a dead donkey. Watching us play Algeria was worse than anything Slough dished up last season. I would have preferred to have even watched Windsor.
What was worse than getting beer over my head when Lampard ‘scored’ was having to sit beer stained on the beach, listening to Turks, Scots and a Brazilian remind me of the score and enjoying the fact that once again our over blown self-importance made us all look like complete doughnuts. Living in Brighton and still actively supporting Slough Town, I get enough ‘you must be joking’ comments without England heaping on the insults.