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.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

DIY FOOTBALL

Printed in the Southern Football League Premier Division game v Chesham United Monday 25th August 2014. We lost 3-0 in front of 354 people.


I usually leave it to the last minute before I enter the heaving cauldron that is Holloways Park on a Slough Town match day. But this time, I'd promised to encourage people to join the Supporters Trust. So instead of some vocal enhancing refreshment, I was at my table, pens in hand and raring to go before the turnstiles had even opened.
And what an eye- opener. Everywhere people were buzzing around, making sure everything was ready for the hoards. All the unseen background work that takes place to make sure the game goes ahead. It's a serious operation and one that is done on the whole by unpaid volunteers, who would get it in the neck if something went wrong and get little thanks if it all goes right!
I keep banging on about how I don't think people are great at pushing the Supporters Trust and its work, so I decided I should offer to Do It Myself.
When the turnstiles did open, supporters had to seriously run the gauntlet. Entrance fee, Trust membership, golden goal, programmes, merchandise. One of the regulars complained he'd spent £53 despite having a season ticket! Still, £53 is still cheaper than going to watch a London Premiership team.
But as Steve Easterbrook said in his programme notes “We have some real challenges ahead, both on and off the field and I would like everyone to perhaps have some perspective as we continue to try and move the club forward. We are now in a league where the vast majority of clubs are established and operate from their own grounds located in their own towns. We of course do not - and I cannot emphasis enough how difficult it has been and is trying to run a club in this environment.”
Yes its great to finally be in the Premier but its going to cost us an arm and leg just to keep still and without income from the bar and all those other extras that you get when you have a home to call your own.
One regular complained that he spent more on the football club than on his wife and that we need to find different funding streams rather than pick pocking the same old regulars. That's true and having MyFC involved has spread the load. The club are always looking at getting more sponsors involved. But how? Why would some multinational corporation on the trading estate bother sponsoring us? Mars didn't even when we were in the Conference preferring instead to sponsor another local club. Er, Napoli from Italy!
The million dollar question is how to prize people away from football on the TV and convince them that watching non league is much more fulfilling than shopping.
How do Potters Bar compete with Arsenal just down the road. Well with Arsenals cheapest season ticket a snip at £1,000 they have decided to give away free season tickets to try and get a few more punters through the turnstiles. And bobble hats off to Prescot Cables for their 'Don't let your kids grow up thinking football is a programme' advert.
So I would say to all supporters – join the Trust, sign up to the 500 club, sponsor a game, encourage kids to become mascots, hassle your company to take out some advertising, put up posters and get behind the team even when things aren't going well on the pitch.
We've had a fantastic start to the season, and the council have indicated that we could be in our new stadium by January 2016.
We can all tell the club to do this and do that, but in the end it's up to all of us to do what we can to help out. It's what football at this level is all about.

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