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.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

SLOUGH RIDE A COCK-HORSE TO MAKE BANBURY CROSS

Printed in the Southern League Central Division match v Daventry Town
on Saturday 24th September 2011. Slough won 2-1 in front of 274 to go
fourth.

There’s nothing like the FA Cup to make me spring out of bed early,
bursting with excitement. Or maybe that’s just my son shouting that
he’s bursting for a wee. Whatever. I do love the FA Cup especially
when I get to go places I’ve never been. Actually, I have been to
Banbury before but that was for a friends funeral. Simon Jones was
killed on his first day as a casual worker at Shoreham docks, his head
crushed by the grab of a crane. He had no proper training doing one of
the most dangerous jobs in the country sent by an employment agency
that didn’t care about health and safety. The dock company had also
customized the crane grab that decapitated him to save time and money.
Now people hiding behind bogus health and safety rules gets on my
nerves as much as it does the Daily Snarl, but Simon’s death showed
that cutting corners costs lives. Aged just 24 Simon was killed to
save a few quid and his friends and families weren’t prepared to take
that lying down. We mounted a direct action campaign to get the
company to court which we eventually did.

In my mind Banbury was a small, quiet Oxfordshire market town. Er,
apparently not so small and definitely a bit more raucous. Their fans
were certainly in a raucous mood, and it was good to have a decent
crowd getting behind their team even if they did abuse us and somehow
think that 100 travelling Slough fans could fit in a taxi. Maybe
counting isn’t one of their strong points or taxis are a bit more
accommodating in this part of the country.

It is now nearly 39 years since we last paid Banbury. That was also an
FA Cup game and we lost 2-1. Someone in the pub complained that they
still hadn’t got a programme for that game. We reckoned it was time to
let it go.

Banburys decade of horror was the eighties. They nearly went bankrupt,
had to sell their ground and spent time in the Hellenic League. The
Spencer Stadium has an ‘everything must go’, falling down and unloved
feel to it. It also suffers from flooding and directly behind one goal
is a new flood relief channel! The grounds owner, a millionaire who
made his money from poultry, wants to build houses on it, but the
council won’t let him unless they find another ground. But it is in a
fantastic location, right next to train station in the middle of town.
Sites have been identified but as we all know these things take time.

Banbury are in the Southern Premier and in the opening 20 minutes it
showed but we were fantastic in the second half and when Ben Abbey
scored our third Sloughs fans were cock a hoop singing music wherever
she goes.

As we escaped to the bar to get out of the rain, we chatted to a
beaming Slough chairman Steve Easterbrook. As he pointed out, many
clubs base their finances on a run in the FA Cup. If that doesn’t
happen then budgets are cut. So it’s a very handy three grand for a
club with no ground. It’s not so long ago that Slough beat Paul
Mersons Walsall in the First round of the FA Cup. A game that Merson
has said was the lowest point of his footballing career. Could we
reach the first round proper again?

What the game also showed is that there isn’t a big difference between
the top clubs at our level and the division above. But with just one
automatic promotion spot, the hardest part is getting out of this
league. But this is just the sort of victory to spur us on to go and
claim that automatic spot this season.

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