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.

Monday, August 04, 2014


Football is a dirty old business and the higher up you go, the more corporate and soulless it becomes. But at our level, we still celebrate with the players, can chat to the managers and are on first name terms with the chairman. Hell, they even let some of us print our rants in the programme.
But there are times when politics and football collides even at our level and Slough fans have been debating ever since the fixtures came out whether or not they should go to cheer on the Rebels at Hereford.
Before we get to Hereford's mismanagement, kicked out of the Conference and currently £1.4 million in debt, let's look at another lower league club who asked fans to boycott their games.
Chester City were averaging almost 2,000 in League Two the season before, decided to boycott games to get rid of their hated chairman who had run their club into the ground. Their last 3 games averaged less than 470 and one home fixture with Eastbourne was postponed after 75 minutes following an on-pitch protest. A survey showed that 95% of fans supported a boycott while "99.5 per cent of respondents believed a change of ownership was essential.” Chester were eventually wound up and thrown out of the Conference.  A new club was formed by supporters who got behind their team with volunteers helping to run every department of the club, and fans turning out in numbers at matches – breaking a number of attendance records along the way. The reborn, supporter run Chester, won 3 back-to-back titles and are now back in the Conference averaging 2,366 a game.
So what of Hereford? The Hereford United Supporters Trust have also asked to their fans to boycott the team after over 95% voted in favour of the move in a poll of members. They have asked all supporters to not attend home matches, take up advertising and sponsorship with the club, or participate or contribute to any event held at Edgar Street or to the financial benefit of Hereford United until the owners make good with the promises to pay the staff and players, meet all football creditors, settle the debts owed to Herefordshire Council, and settle all outstanding winding-up proceedings. Their local MP agrees with the boycott and ex-players, officials, admin staff and the groundsmen are still waiting to get paid. They are under a transfer embargo and have a third winding up petition at the beginning of September. Finishing the season looks doubtful.
The trust have also organised an alternative fixtures list with ex-players and supporters donning the kit and 821 fans turning up for a Fans United fixture against Worcester at Malvern Town.
So I would say to Slough Town and any other fans thinking of going to Hereford. Just put yourself in their shoes for a moment and wonder just what it would be like? Or how would you like to not be paid for work you have done?
Personally, I'd love to visit Edger Street, home of one of the greatest FA Cup upsets of all time, but I know that this isn't just about me going to a football match. It's about standing with other supporters.
The reason football authorities and clubs get away with treating us like mugs is because we act like ones, complaining about the way football is run but still willing to go along with it because we have loyalty to our club.
This time fans have stuck together and I think we should respect that. Just like Coventry City fans refusing to go to Northampton, Wimbledon fans setting up their own club and Manchester United fans forming FC United of Manchester, who will be starting their new season in their own ground, built in part thanks to £1.6 million raised by community shares.
That's the power of football fans. And until we make that stand, then the endless convey belt of financial football car crashes will continue while we all look over our shoulder and wonder if our club will be next.
So yes, I support my team, but sometimes but there is a greater footballing good. It's not the end of the world me not going. And hopefully it won't be long, before we are playing a reformed Hereford United at Edgar Street soon.


Blogger Will Paine said...

After considering all that I had read during the last few months, once the safety certificate was issued I purchased my train ticket 10.36 dep Slough 13.48 arr Hereford 21.51 dep Hereford 00.55 arr Slough for £28.05 with my Senior Railcard. Fans Forum at Edgar Street this evening. Whatever happens to HUFC in the next few months, a lot of people have been putting in a lot of unpaid hours in the last few weeks.

New socks for the Burnham match.

See you all then.

Will Paine

9:57 am


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