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, August 28, 2013


Printed in the Southern League Central Division game v Beaconsfield SYCOB Monday 26th August 2013. We lost 3-1 in front of 337 people.  

Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well how about this to prove his point? Over the past few seasons the non league football programme has been decimated by bad weather and with climate change now part of the footballing calendar, these weather extremes will become the norm. For lower league clubs, football pitches are their main asset and so losing any game is a financial hit they can ill afford. Which is why I am a strong supporter of 3G pitches (Maidstone United have one and last season had just one game postponed and were promoted via the play offs).
But one simple and less artificial way of outwitting the weather is to start the season and play more Tuesday games early. After many moons of watching football, I can confirm that it's a lot more pleasant watching a Tuesday night in shirt sleeves rather than long-johns in January.
So I had to groan when the fixtures for the Southern League came out and by the time I got to see Slough play I had already watched Ramsgate, Lewes and Flackwell Heath kick a competitive ball.
The FA Cup still gets me all weak at the knees in these early rounds and I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to watch an extra preliminary round tie. Binfield tweeted 'Huge FA Cup game tonight' and a run in this cup and some cash in the bank can transform clubs at this level. As well as give a fixture pile up headache later on. 
Flackwell Heath had helpfully moved their game against Binfield to a Friday night. This simple act must have trebled the crowd, with a busy bar and a queue to get in, which if listening to the regulars waiting patiently in line, isn't the norm in these leafy parts.
I wanted Flackwell Heath to win, but being so near Wycombe and with many Wanderers fans in attendance, this felt more than a little wrong. Even the Flackwell pitch had the wonkiness of the old Loakes Park ground but thankfully they played in red not blue.
Even the moths were at it, dive bombing us from the floodlights, shouting 'its still summer, play more games now before we are all dead from the cold.'
Looking at the team sheets both sides will expect themselves to be in contention for promotion from the Hellenic Premier League and just to hammer that point home, on their opening games they had scored 9 and 8 goals each against their opponents. So tonight was gonna be a goal fest!
The last time I had been to Flackwell was against Slough in the Berks and Bucks Cup 1977/8 when I was a small lad. There was snow on the ground but this didn’t stop 800 Slough and Wycombe fans cram into their ground. We won 2-0 and I can remember the ref going into the crowd to take someone's whistle off them!
Wilks Park is a tidy, compact little ground and if they can manage to a little covering behind both goals when the winter heavens open why can't teams in Slough's league?
The first half hour dished up some pretty dreadful football or what you might call a proper full bloodied cup tie. These two were definitely up for the cup! But just before half time Flackwell sparked into life and the teams began to play.
I love watching football as a neutral, listening to the fans and players moan about the official’s decisions when you can see they got them right. The rather plump lino was one of those friendly officials who just laughed it off, was up for some banter and seemed like he was an official just cos he loved the game.
The goal fest never came, thanks in part to Binfield's keeper who pulled off some fantastic saves to keep them in it. So 0-0 it finished, a replay Monday night and a fight to the death to see who and pockets £1,500 and plays Cheltenham Saracens or Slimbridge in the next round. Magic. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Printed in the programme v Northwood Saturday 17th August 2013 Southern League Division One Central. We lost 1-0 in front of 331.

My whistle has been well and truly whetted and after spending too much time working on opening a co-op pub and not enough time being in one, I’m ready to toast the new season.
Not that the Slough Town closed season hasn’t been lively.
New managers, new players, MyFC, free schools and apparently that stuffy old railway relic Station Jim signing on, have kept the club in the news.
I had a lot of time for Steve Bateman who was always ready to chat after a game, but I felt the club was ready for change. I’ll admit I didn’t warm too many of his players. Of course there were some like Alex Brown who will be missed as he gave everything for the club; but the constant moaning at refs, the bad mouthing other clubs on twitter by some players, needed to be sorted.
But that’s all in the past.
Our two new managers have been a breath of fresh air promising attacking football with an emphasis on youth with younger players being loaned out to smaller clubs to get senior football experience. A fans forum has already been done and dusted and the managers are happy to engage supporters on twitter and the forum which will be interesting when we lose and they have to debate with some of the moaning gits. But really it makes so much sense, being transparent and open and embracing social media rather than just ignoring it and letting things fester and nutters spout crap!
MyFootballClub getting involved with the club has caused some heated debate which is fair enough as they didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory during their time at Ebbsfleet. They now admit they are 'not capable of running any football club remotely in an online environment.' Apparently the Rebels were chosen ahead of nine other clubs because we are financially stable, has realistic ambitions and MyFC felt it could contribute toward our growth and sustainability. So that’s 10k in the pot for a two year sponsorship and with 1,000 paying members, hopefully a few extra fans through the gates.
There’s also nothing stopping us all becoming MyFC members to keep in the loop what’s going on. And in a way what they are trying to do isn’t that dissimilar to Supporters Trusts (which reminds me, have you renewed your membership with the Slough Town Supporters Trust). A greater say in how our clubs are run, which is such a no brainer even the government has told clubs they must embrace Trusts more fully.
So just like most Slough fans I don’t want much. Promotion and our new ground in Arbour Vale will get us Rebel believers into a frothing frenzy of enlightenment. And unlike a religious free school, will bring the diverse communities of the town together praying as one for success. And that’s what football is all about. One big happy family. Until we lose of course.
Now where’s the bar?