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.

Monday, January 07, 2013

ALL FUR COAT AND NO KNICKERS


Printed in the Southern League Division One Central game v Uxbridge Saturday 5th January 2013. We lost 3-1 in front of 261 people.

Another bloody Slough Town postponement, so needing a football fix I scoured the Non League Paper for a nearby alternative. And you can’t get much nearer to me than Whitehawk FC, top of the Ryman Premier with a rich Chairman dreaming of Conference football, playing Enfield Town.
Whitehawk is an estate in Brighton and one of the poorest in the country but the chairman has very deep pockets with ex league players and others who wouldn’t usually play in the Ryman League pulling on the shirt colours. The ground is slowly being transformed with 900 seats from Brighton’s old athletic stadium now in place and banks of earth piled up ready to transform the old Enclosed Ground into one fit for bigger things.  
Now Slough used to have some right old ding dongs with Enfield until a dodgy chairman made supporters decide they had had enough and establish the first supporters run club in the country. That was in June 2001 and ten years later the club finally moved to a new ground in the borough just a short distance from their old one. Moving last November they went on a run that eventually secured them promotion to the Ryman Premier. With decent support, new facilities and part of their local community the club once again have a future and are a model of how I feel non league football should be run in this country. Whitehawk are not.
The game was over as contest when Enfield conceded a penalty and a player to make it 2-0. When another walked late in the second half Whitehawk cranked up the pressure to eventually make it 6-0. The score wasn’t surprising just bloody depressing and like so many clubs with a small budget, Enfield are being punished for doing things the right way. Meanwhile Whitehawk are all fur coat and no knickers. Big plans but no fans. Despite their success over the last few seasons half of today’s crowd of just 167 were made up of Enfield Town fans.
Maybe the chairman hopes to attract some of the 1,000 that came to the FA Vase quarter final against Truro in 2007. Truro City were another club with big plans and dreams of the football league, but are now a financial car crash. The Vase game was also before Brighton had their swanky new 26,000 all seater stadium to hoover up so many fans. I spotted one of the old boys that used to do the Whitehawk gate at a Brighton game recently.
I don’t begrudge their success but I do worry about their future. The club has been representating the estate since 1945. I don’t want to sound all cynical but we’ve all heard so much trumpet blowing from money men so many times before and it almost always ends in tears. From Colne Dynamos to Truro City powering up the pyramid until the money disappears and the club plummets down the leagues or worse cease to exist.
For Enfield, the future is bright. It might not feel it after a 6-0 defeat but for what they have achieved as supporters in just 10 years means they can hold their heads up high and know that the supporters run model they pioneered has been adopted by other clubs across the country. 

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home