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, March 18, 2012

A WEEK TO REMEMBER


Printed in the Southern League Central Division game v Biggleswade Town on Saturday 17th March 2012. We mugged Biggleswade 2-1 in front of 234 and remain second.

Of all my 35 years supporting Slough Town this has to have been one the best weeks. How could we top the impressive plans for a new ground? How about a hard fought 1-0 win at St.Neots in front of the biggest league gate of the season.
Plans for the Rebels new ground are a win-win for everyone. A football club back in the heart of Slough (and thankfully the Slough bus station designer hasn’t been involved in the plans) with extra sporting facilities for everyone and academy football for up and coming youngsters.
It won’t cost the taxpayer anything either as the housing developer will be building the ground from the profits of the sale and rent of its houses.
When I was at the exhibition with my mum one irate neighbour was ranting at anything and everything. But as I tried to tell her, Brighton’s new ground has been the best thing that has happened to my estate, bringing jobs, training and their fantastic community work in the shed load. Sure Arbour Park has a 2,000 capacity rather than 22,000 but she shouldn’t fear a new ground but embrace it, and realize that a thriving community facility is good for everyone. Certaintly better than a gated one where everyone only cares about themselves and their poxy house prices. Or another religious school segregating our children. Because in such a diverse town like Slough bringing the community together through football has got to be a good thing.
An example of this community spirit was our annual weekend away which handily happened to be St.Neots this time round. I don’t think we could have met a friendly bunch of fans before, during and after the game. It encapsulated everything I love about non league football. We even had a few drinks with their manager the night before the match. On an early spring day as kick off was delayed for 10 minutes because of the thousand plus crowd, nearly 200 Slough fans assembled in fine voice. This felt like FA Cup Extra, perhaps the best atmosphere from Slough fans since we were hammered 9-0 at AFC Wimbledon just five years ago and the club were in freefall. Except this time we won and the club has a future.
To add even more cherries to the overflowing cake, this was also the week that a group of residents found out that we can have a go at trying to reopen our estates only pub. With boozers closing at a staggering 2 a day, we had to convince the landlords that we had something different to offer. So we came up with a community co-operative pub with a café. A community hub with decent beer, decent coffee and decent food at an affordable price for one of Brighton’s poorest estates. Owned by the people that drink there without pubcos making us buy their expensive barrels of beer. I reckon that just like supporters run clubs, this will become one of the models for the future if we want to save our pubs. All we got to do now is raise 150 thousand!
It’s amazing what people can achieve when they get together; having the vision, thinking outside the box, coming up with solutions rather than what’s-the-point me-me-me cynicism. And when you do pull off your plans, there’s got to be no better feeling. Well perhaps, apart from sipping my first pint at Arbour Park or in our local pub.

* If you haven’t already done so you’ve got till this Monday 19th to fill in a questionnaire for the new ground http://www.arbourpark.com/
* To find out about plans for our community pub http://www.facebook.com/TheBevy

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