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.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

ORCHARD PARK NOT WEXHAM PARK

Printed in the Southern League Central Division game v Fleet Town
Saturday 27th August 2011. We won 3-0 in front of 277 people.


With a fanfare splash across the Slough Observers front page, it was
announced that ‘'Footballs coming home'.’ But this wasn’t about Slough
Towns move to Arbour Vale but that a revamp at Wexham Park Stadium is
under way. The ground we were evicted from and has since been left
empty for eight years is showing signs of life.

Wexham Park owner Byron Thorne is said to be investing a substantial
amount of money in order to bring the former Slough Town ground up to
standard. Debris, overgrown weeds and vandalised chairs in the stands
are now all set to be removed and grass cutters started repairing and
clearing the pitch. Former leisure manager Martin Blake, who is co-
coordinating the refurbishment, said he was very excited about the
prospect of football returning to the site in Wexham Road. "Already we
have had local organisations and football teams get in touch who want
to be able to come and play here.” According to Mr. Blake a
professional football club has already expressed interest in using the
site as a location for a football academy. Other community groups
within Slough are also said to be interested. Who they are is of
course all top secret but Martin Blake added that he would love to see
Slough Town return.

But why now? Imagine you’re on your way to church just about to get re-
married when the ex you haven’t seen for eight years starts shouting
'what about me'.’ Well what about you. While we all have great
memories of Wexham Park with Slough playing their highest ever level
of football their, the club never owned the ground and never got
income from the clubhouse. If we ever went back there it would still
be at the whims of an outside landlord, who in the past showed just
how much they cared! Remember the sixty seats saga? Or the fact that
the ground is half in South Bucks who never really had the best
interests of Slough or its football team.

Work has also started on Stoke Poges Lane for a new Sikh Social and
Cultural Sports Centre. This will feature a single-storey sports
centre with sports field and apparently be home of Singh Sabha
Slough.

So you wait 10 years for a ground back in Slough, then three come all
at once.

Our chairman Steve Easterbrook told the Slough Observer that we're not
interested in a return to Wexham Park as we already have another site.
But does this muddy the water with the council?

Thankfully no and I received this prompt reply from Councillor James
Swindlehurst, commissioner for neighbourhoods and renewal. He told me
"The council has been supporting Slough Town Football Club’s bid to
return to Slough since the Labour Group were elected in 2008, and it
is a promise now moving to the delivery stage. The club has been
working with a housing partner to develop plans and to put these
through the planning system, and we look forward to seeing the
proposals which are presented."

"This Arbour Vale site has the capacity to support the stadium with
its ancillary facilities and housing which makes the development
viable, and it has the bonus of being located within the Slough
boundary so the club can meet their ambition to return home. The
council will continue to work with the club to advance proposals for
the Arbour Vale site, as superficial ground improvements at the old
Wexham Stadium seem unlikely to deliver a home which matches the fans
expectations for a brand new community stadium in Slough.”

I’m not sure what the owners of Wexham Park are up too, but they
probably realise they are sitting on a piece of land that is worth
millions but is worthless. Maybe they should just let it revert back
to being part of Wexham Woods.

So thanks, but no thanks. We want Orchard Park, not Wexham Park.

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