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, November 06, 2011

DISGUSTED OF TUNBRIDGE

Printed in the Southern League Central Division match v Woodford
United on Saturday 5th November 2011. We won 2-1 in front of 264 to
stay (and I like typing this) TOP OF THE LEAGUE!

As I walked into the clubhouse two men were complaining about the
police lack of interest in strangers knocking on their doors. This was
proper ‘Disgusted of Tunbridge’ stuff and I was all ears. Except it
was Seaford fans complaining about cold-calling which went to a vote
this week and could mean the end of Christmas Carols, trick or
treaters, rotary club charity collections – but not Jehovah’s
Witnesses! This was proper Victor Meldrew stuff.
The last time I visited Seaford Town was six years ago when they were
up against more grumpy neighbours complaining that if the club got
permission for floodlights it would bring crowd trouble! Their first
application was refused by Lewes Council because the lights would be
‘detrimental to local residential amenities.’ Ignoring the fact that
football clubs are invaluable community amenities. Eventually the
moaning gits were ignored and not only floodlights but a new seated
stand has been built meaning entry to the FA Vase and hopefully soon
the FA Cup. They only need standing cover for 22 more people and they
would be eligible for promotion to the Sussex County League Division
One.
So having only competed in the FA Vase twice before, this first round
tie was the furthest the club has ever got and the local paper billed
it as their biggest game so far this season. Their visitors Tunbridge
Wells play a league higher in the Kent Premier League and have a
healthy average attendance of 129 something as Seaford’s programme
notes pointed out said ‘they can only dream of.’
Seaford is a pleasant little town in between Brighton and Eastbourne,
nestling at the foot of the South Downs where they head out to the sea
under the English Channel on their way to France. As their website
explained “The club is over a hundred years, and because it never had
the benefit of wealthy patrons in the early years, the club remains
typical of local football: keen players, enthusiastic supporters,
dedicated officials and just as many crises as any Premier League
club. Ours don't make national headlines, we don't go spectacularly
bankrupt or have to call in foreign billionaires to rescue us, and we
continue to play on much as earlier generations have done.”
However, the club definitely has the feel of one on the up. OK so
crowds might average around 50 but with football clubs for the under
nines upwards, over 250 people play under the Seaford Town banner.
They have a healthy number of people helping out, and although today’s
crowd was given as 98 it seemed a lot more, with no doubt plenty of
non paying players, wives, officials and four keen ball-girls. And
with a 23,000 residents they surely have a large enough pool to pull
in more punters.
As for the match; well for starters it was nice to actually enjoy a
game as a neutral rather than one watching with hands through eyes. I
was impressed with the quality of football and although Tunbridge
seemed more skillful going forward the teams evened each other out
even until Tunbridges Drew Crush struck in the 35 minutes. But
Seaford’s pressure finally paid off with Tom Morton’s scoring a wonder
goal on the stroke of half time. Picking up the ball 30-yards out, he
found the keeper off his line and picked his spot with great accuracy
to level up the scores. In the second half Tunbridge started to assert
themselves and on the 78 minute defender Andy Boyle headed goalbound
for the Wells winner. Seaford had a few more chances but the Tunbridge
keeper was commanding his goal and it was not to be as the Kent team
celebrated their 125 birthday with a win.
Still on that performance Seaford Town should be challenging for
promotion to the first division this season.  I’m sure the ‘disgusted
of’ types will be shaking in their Seaford-seaside-bungalow-boots at
the very thought.

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