Printed in the Southern League Central Division game v
October 2012. We won 4-1 in front of 198 people.
For the past year I’ve been working with other people on my
estate to try and re-open our local boozer as a community pub
. None of us get
paid and as anyone who has set up a totally new venture will know, there’s a
hell of a lot of work to do. Meetings, business plans, more meetings, leases,
licensing and then the small matter of trying to raise up to 200,000 to make it
happen! And because we want to make it the first co-operative pub in the country
on a housing estate we will be issuing shares and have been working on a
prospectus. Why am I telling you all this apart from the fact that this is a
sales pitch to ‘buy someone a pub for Christmas?’ Because occasionally people
ask or post remarks implying that we should get our bloody finger out and get
the pub open. Forget that everyone is working, has families, is giving up a
considerable amount of their time for free. From the outside the pub sits empty
and nothings being done.
I think that’s a fair analogy with running a non league
football club. Most people go to a match, maybe have a pre match pint, buy a
programme, a raffle ticket, watch ninety minutes of football and go home. If you
don’t like what you see you can post straight away on our forum and if we really
get ourselves into a hissy fit, tell everyone who will listen (probably all 20
of us) that we will never darken the turnstiles again unless X happens.
Now I’m all for fan power and salute the people behind AFC
Wimbledon, FC United of Manchester
the fan owned club pioneers Enfield Town
. But really boycotting us at the
moment is seriously cutting off your hand to spite your face.
This isn’t unique to Slough Town
, I spend too much time on other clubs
websites when researching my pieces (ok I’m just being nosey) and many of them
are so full of woe after a defeat that it brings a tear to my eye. Some so full
of anger I wonder if its one of our supporters posting.
When our backs were against the wall, Slough
supporters stuck together and despite enduring
defeat after defeat, carried on supporting our team. When we lost 9-0 to AFC
Wimbledon their fans clapped us off the pitch, their mascot bowed, their
applauded our coach and brought so many drinks for those of us that stayed
behind that I can’t remember leaving. Fast forward a few seasons and the club
has come on in leaps and bounds but with last season’s third play off defeat in
a row we are stuck in some nightmare southern central division one loop. And
it’s draining moral. Our new ground remains tantalizingly close, we’ve all seen
the wonderful plans, it feels real, and yet we continue to groundshare.
But some time you just have to step back and smell the
coffee. Glass half full or half empty?
That’s why I propose something simple that won’t cost the
club a penny apart from a bit of time. It can be done after a match so no one
has to make a special journey. I’m talking about an occasional fans forum. To
clear the air. To give a chance for people to ask questions. For people in
charge to let us know why certain things happen.
People could of course speak to people behind the club in the
bar after the game. They don’t usually bite. Our management team aren’t idiots
– they might make mistakes – hell, even I do. But they are doing our best.
Football at our level it is about being part of a community,
supporting your club through thick and thin, victories and defeats. Sometimes
it’s worth taking a step back and seeing that when it comes Slough Town FC our
glass is a whole lot fuller than it has been for a very long time. Cheers!