These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the National League South in a swanky new ground. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Printed in the FA Cup 1st round replay v Mansfield Town Tuesday 13th November 2012.
We lost 4-1 on penalties in front of 1,597. Gutted.

This FA Cup run has been like a shot in the arm. About confirming why we love football. When you stand in the wind and rain for a bore draw in front of 100 people and ask yourself, why do I bother? The games away to Gosport, Margate and Mansfield remind you why. But more importantly why you love supporting Slough Town.
The disappointment of our third play off defeat in a row and the decade long ground-sharing seemed to knock the stuffing out of our fans this season but this cup run has put a spring in everyone’s step.
I must admit I didn’t expect us to get anything out of the Margate or Gosport games, but the team seems to be getting up a head of steam so much so that I thought we could get a result out of Mansfield.
At the Gosport away game (we won’t talk about the home one!) I spoke to a young lad from the Isle of Wight who had made two trips on a ferry to get to his first Slough Town game. Another lad from Edinburgh got to his first game away to Mansfield and is promising to be here tonight.
These are the games that fire the imagination, that get people along to experience a team for the first time and maybe start supporting the club in the long run.
And what a great day out it was in Mansfield. Slough fans descended from all corners of the British Isles, twitter went into Rebel meltdown and the club for so long in the doldrums felt like it was re-announcing itself to the world. We’re back! Not that we’ve ever gone away, just been limping and spluttering on in our sick bed. 255 fans behind the goal singing their hearts out, while our players threw themselves at every ball. Relief and a bit of disbelief at the final whistle. We’d only gone and held a team of professionals three leagues above us to a draw.
And didn’t it feel good when they announced in the second round that we were smallest club left in the competition. Then if both clubs when their replays we will be playing Walsall away. Ha! They owe us one after our famous first round win against them seven years ago when Paul Merson was player manager at the time and said "Losing to Slough was the worst day of my football life. The sound of Slough players celebrating still haunts me." We held a red card protest against the council before the Walsall game to encourage them to help us find a ground. Fast forward seven years and the council are behind us, the ground is frustratingly, tantalizingly close.
Mansfield won’t like coming here. Their ground is like Wembley compared to what we’ve got to offer. So let’s turn up the volume and become that clichéd 12th man.
This cup run – now our seventh game – is one for the fans, for the people who volunteer behind the scenes, for the players, the management, our chairman and for the one person who we wish was still here to enjoy. Chris Sliski.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Printed in the Southern League Central Division game v Ashford Town on Saturday 10th November 2012. We won 6-1 in front of 234. Next stop: Mansfield Town in the FA Cup

You would hope that when a group of people come together and volunteer to run a local football club for their community they would get the support from those that are meant to represent them. Ashford Town is one of those friendly little clubs in our league that I enjoy going to, who do things the right way on a limited budget and small crowds.
So it must have felt like a real vote of confidence when their local MP thought it would be a good idea to say that an airport runway should be plonked on their ground!
Eton educated Dr.Kwasi Kwarteng heads the “Free Enterprise Group”, which published a paper that wants two more runways for Heathrow Airport. They want to resurrect plans for a shelved third runway at Sipson and the destruction of Stanwell and Bedfont to make room for a fourth runway. Apparently good for economic growth but not so good for the 12,000 people who live in Stanwell and Bedfont whose houses would be demolished.
The MP didn’t even have the courtesy or contacting the club first; that was left to a Sunday newspaper.
Despite being called Ashford Town the club are based in Stanwell and as you would expect aren’t best pleased “We are surprised that the Member of Parliament for Spelthorne has put his name to a report that proposes demolishing a large part of his constituency.  We acknowledge the importance of Heathrow Airport to the local and national economy, but do not subscribe to the view that this should be an overriding concern, to the exclusion and ultimate destruction of the local community.  This proposal would not just obliterate Stanwell and Bedfont, but also blight Ashford and Feltham for many years.  We do not believe that is a price worth paying.” 
While the threat to the ground might not be immediate, the long gestation period of a project creates its own problems. Sipson is still blighted by the third runway, years after the announcement that it wouldn’t happen. Should the new plan gain any momentum, it will be impossible for Ashford Town to obtain grant funding for facilities because funding bodies will just say ‘we’re not paying for something that could be a home for planes in a few years.’ 
It’s not just Ashford Town that would cease to exist. You can also wave goodbye, to Ashford Cricket Club, Hockey club, Bedfont Sports, Bedfont Town and Feltham. Not that there would be any resident homes to support the clubs anyway.
Gareth Coates, general secretary of Ashford Town FC, said: “I don’t feel an MP should write a report advocating the demolition of a great portion of his seat. It is astonishing that we have been earmarked as a potential runway. An MP should be representing his constituents and I fail to see how relocating 10,000 residents plus the club and demolishing their homes is in any of their interests.”
As is usual in the scheme of these things, the people that come up with these plans don’t live next to motorways and airports. Although they always seem to shout the loudest when a wind turbine might ‘blight’ their country views.
Kwarteng has also co-authored a book, ‘Britannia Unchained’ which claims that "Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world." It's funny how the people telling other people to work long hours doing rubbish jobs aren't the ones who have to do them. In this case, it comes from a man who spends his time as an MP and writing book sat on his arse for most of the day.