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, October 22, 2011

HANWORTH HOUSE OF HORRORS

Printed in the Southern League match v Rugby Town Saturday 22nd October 2011. Slough won 4-0 in front of 275. Great result after Tuesdays FA Cup defeat.

Whatever I write is going to sound like sour grapes, so I’ll say it now. Well done Hanworth Villa. You deserve to be in the 4th Qualifying round of the FA Cup. You wanted it more than us. To get this far in
the Cup in your first ever season, well, it’s what FA Cup dreams are made of. But I won’t lie. I was half dreading the replay – not cos I thought an upset was on the cards. Stupidly, I thought Slough Town’s class would show. It was more that I was seriously worried that all the bad feeling from Saturday’s game, and all the words that had been brewing on our unofficial forum and twitter would spill over onto the terraces.
In the end I needn’t have worried. The big crowd was well stewarded and policed. The Hanworth Villa fans packed in like sardines in their little tin shed out sang a large freezing Slough contingent stuck out on an open field. We were numb as we squandered a comfortable one goal lead in the first half to collapse in the second
with the momentum of the home team backed by their supporters, helping them to a famous 3-1 victory.
Hanworth – not Hanwell, where my doughnut of a cousin first ended up – is near Feltham in Middlesex. They only formed in 1976 and have risen up the pyramid moving into their current ground ‘The Ranch’ in 1997.
It has slowly been developed enough for them to enter the FA Cup for their first time this season. Playing a league below Slough in the Combined Counties they average 125 for league games and a lot of their players started at the club as teenagers.
But it’s more than just a football club. With the decline in the number of pubs, social clubs and meeting places available for people locally ‘The Ranch’ is bucking this trend with the club house open 7 days a week, and employing a full time manager.
Their support arrived in numbers and fine voice with two full coaches
at Saturday’s game. Infact they’ve bought more away support than the rest of our league put together! Slough twice surrended the lead, the second time to a thunderbolt of a 25 yard free kick from Levi King. But this is when things started to turn nasty.
The Hanworth fans celebrated by barging into Slough supporters and intimidating us. We got racist chants, being called faggots, abuse of our disabled supporters, running on the pitch, and of course everyone in Slough is a Muslim (surely they could have thought of some blackberry jokes tho). Out came those old seventies classics like 'you're going home in a f****ing ambulance' and 'you're gonna get your f***ing head kicked in'
Hello, this is non league football not some re-run of a football crowd scene from ‘Life On Mars’. Most Slough fans left the shed in fear of their safety. If Slough had scored I think we could all predict what would have happened next. As it was this was the first time in over 10 years that the police have had to be called to a Slough game and this was solely due to the Hanworth fans.
The crowd of 525, many no doubt visiting for the first time, wouldn’t have come away with very good impressions of non league football.
Some Hanworth supporters said this was just a bit of banter but in Tuesdays programme said “Some of our support could be construed as unsavory, there was certainly some unnecessary bad language and
remarks…support your team, respect your opponents.”
Good luck to Hanworth against Totton. I’ll be crying into my beer at Leighton Buzzard with that usual football feeling of ‘what if.’

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