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 31, 2013

FREE FOR ALL


Printed in the Southern League Central Division game v Leighton Town Saturday 30th March 2013. We won 5-1 in front of 221 people.

According to the 2011 census Slough is most multi-cultural town in the UK and in the main the different peoples and cultures get on ok. But is all that about to be destroyed?
The recent announcement that Arbour Vale would be the best place for a Sikh free school has hit the football club full in the face. Forget five years of work of hard work and negotiations for a new stadium, sports facilities for everyone and much needed housing, this government, supposed champion of Localism, knows best.
I feel very lucky with my education. I had a great time at Britwell’s Claycots Primary, I passed my 11 plus (just!) and got a place at Herschel Grammar School. The school was like the United Nations with working class kids from all over Slough’s estates mingling with those from wealthier backgrounds. I don’t believe in dividing children up now on the basis of an exam at 12 but at least then there was some social mobility happening.
When my dad was alive he lived opposite Herschel which is now mainly Asian kids with only 67% of pupils coming from Slough. My old school mate told me we wouldn’t have a chance of getting in their now as competition is so fierce. There are plans for 4 free new schools in the borough including a Muslim Secondary school. Where will all these go? With land at a premium in the borough there seems to be need careful planning to get things right but this is being destroyed by the governments obsession with free schools while flogging off state schools to their mates.
With the rise of religious schools, what Slough Town is proposing is even more important. It isn’t just about the football club although of course that is important for the town to get behind as they did when 1,500 cheered Slough on against Mansfield in the FA Cup.
Football brings people together – just look at the effect it had on the city of Bradford when their football club reached the League Cup final.  For me you tackle racism and bigotry by getting people to meet each other and football is an easy and proven way to do this.
Schools need to be mixed. We shouldn’t be segregating pupil’s especially primary school ones on the basis of race, religion or how sharp their middle class parents elbows are. What sort of society are we creating?  We only have to look across the water to Northern Ireland, where thanks in part to the education system, Protestant and Catholics lead largely separate lives often seen as both a cause and effect of The Troubles. Is that what we want for Slough?
Slough Town Football Club has an important part to play for the future of the town. It might not seem that now, stuck nine miles out of the borough, playing eight leagues below the Premiership. But we know the club is a non league sleeping giant, that with a new home, income stream and increased crowds would wake up, power up the pyramid while creating jobs and training opportunities for the town.
But more importantly than that the Rebels would bring multi-cultural Slough together to cheer on their team and become a very important part of the social glue that binds communities together. 

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