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, April 20, 2014

SEVEN YEAR ITCH

Printed in the Southern League Central Division One game v Rugby Town on Saturday 19th April 2014. We lost 2-1 in front of 402 people.

Apart from one Eggy hiccup, Slough have been flying this year and this has got to be one of the most exciting finishes to a season for years. There's a fight for the top spot and play off places while Egham's floodlights continue to blow a fuse.

While the football gets the pulses racing, its behind the bureaucrats desk that the real fate of Slough Town football club is being decided. The 7 years (yes, seven!) indecision on our ground is frustrating to say the least.

A while back I wrote to Sloughs MP Fiona Mactaggart pointing out the Rebels are more than just a football club; more than 22 men kicking a ball around on a Saturday in front of a few hundred fans. That the stadium will be something the whole town can get behind unlike another religious segregated free school. It will not just be a place for Slough Town to call home but have modern sports facilities for the whole town; multi-use games area, athletics track, facilities for the dance academy and of course delivering much needed housing. That's on top of the clubs football academy.

Fiona Mactaggart replied

I asked Stephen Gibson, Investment and Regeneration Manager (for Slough Borough Council), for an update and he provided the following information. 'The council remains committed to the delivery of a range of community projects including a home for Slough Town Football Club at the Arbour Site. However, the site is also being sought by the Department of Education for a free school and unfortunately this is blocking progression by the Council's proposals.'

Can I just say that I agree completely with your sentiments. I do support the principle of a Sikh secondary school in Slough, but there are other sites that are more suitable. I am a supporter of Slough Town myself and have long championed their need for a proper stadium. I knew the delay is frustrating but I hope that you are reassured that Slough Borough Council is committed to providing a home for Slough football.

Unfortunately the 'emergency legislation' that Mr Gove rushed through parliament almost immediately after the General Election gave him an enormous number of powers over local schools and local government, and his civil servants tend to throw their weight about even more than those powers warrant. But they have got a fight on their hands in Slough! Thank you for getting in touch; here's hoping that Slough Football Club have a base very soon.”

So what does our chairman Steve Easterbrook think. He told me “There is really nothing I can add. I welcome Stephen Gibsons and Fiona Mctaggart's comments. However after 7 years of working closely with the officers, councillors and residents of Slough and having delivered a scheme with potentially huge benefits which meets many goals set by all political parties, I fail to comprehend why no one will make the final decision. Indeed it was Slough Council who put forward this site and requested we do all the preparatory work in the first place! (Which we have done at great expense).”

If it was left to me I would stick free schools, religious schools and private schools into the dustbin of unequal history, but I get the feeling I might be waiting a while for that to happen.

So I will pin my hopes on a ground in Slough instead. If nothing else, a football ground in Slough at Arbour Park, will be one of the few places in Slough that can bind the diverse communities of Slough together. A jewel in the town, without burdening the taxpayer with extra cost.

Just someone make a bloody decision soon (pretty please).

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a lifelong Rebels fan that moved away from the area it saddens me to see a town the size of Slough without a team located in the Town.
Yes a football team does bring everyone together.
To keep paying rent to another club can only lead to a downward spy rial

Keep up the good work

8:47 am

 

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