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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DECAMP TO DORSET*

Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Hereford United Tuesday 21st October 2014. We won 2-0 in front of 276 people.


I do like a bit of Dorset. Every May Bank Holiday Slough try and spoil our regular trip to olde-worlde charm of Knoll House by Studland Bay, as the inevitable play-offs lead to some tense i'm-leaving-the-holiday-early-negotiating skills. This is the hotel where Churchill planned D Day and I half expect Nigel Farage to appear from the bar talking to the working classes as only a former investment banker can.
Later in the summer we always take a trip to Swanage, a lovely little seaside resort that has had a massive shot in the arm from people getting off their arses. If people ever tell you your crazy idea won't happen, hit them over the head with a Swanage steam train. When British Rail decided to rip up the tracks in 1972, a group of determined enthusiasts had a dream. 40 years later, they have not only re-opened the line, but it is now connected once again to the National Rail Network. There's 400 volunteers, 50 paid staff and it contributes £14 million annually to the local economy. 
You can tell it was my missus who picked the time to go on holiday as it coincided with the beginning of the football season, but as we pulled up outside our flat on a Saturday, the noise of players huffing and puffing drifted through the air. And so on Wednesday night, I parted with a few quid to watch Dorset Premier League reigning champs Portland United demolish Swanage and Herston. I love the fact that even at this level 60 people turn up including some away fans. A Dorset official told me that Portland didn't want to go up because of the extra traveling and it was nice to hear a bit of football realism. Yes, I’m all for people working together to realise a dream, but often with football clubs, its some bloke with a big ego and big pockets that pushes clubs to reach for the stars. When the money runs out, these clubs often plummet to whence they came or worse disappear altogether.
No sooner had we returned from Swanage, when it was about turn and off to Weymouth for an end of the summer kiss-me-quick traditional Slough Town away weekend. Weymouth is a fantastic resort. A beautiful sandy beach, Punch and Judy, a lively harbour and plenty of backstreet boozers to quench the thirst. As the Slough hoards descended it felt like we were back in the big time. People had heard of their local football club rather than scratching their heads and telling us they didn't know where West Piddlington Village FC ground was. While their stadium is too out of town for my liking, we can only dream of having something similar in Slough.
With only enough time to empty the sand from my pockets, it was back up to Poole. Poole felt a bit Slough by Sea with a dreary identikit high street. They've even let those bullies Tescos muscle in on a prime spot by the harbour which should be reserved for pubs and restaurants.
Just like us, Poole had fallen on hard times, and were forced to leave their ground to make way for Poole Pirates speedway and greyhound racing. If losing your ground to such ridiculous sports wasn't bad enough, the following season they lost 39 consecutive matches winning just 1 point from 42 games! Since then supporters have pulled the club by their football boot straps, finally knocking together a ground the Southern Premier were happy with and with planning permission for a new stadium, their future looks bright. Their noisy support felt like they are enjoying themselves, whereas you get the impression from Weymouth fans they are just tolerating the Southern Premier and will be sending us a postcard from the Conference soon.
As for us Rebels, this is just about as good as it gets and rather than fleeting Big FA Cup crowds, we are back in the big time and are singing our little hearts out just to show how happy it has made us.

* This column was sponsored by the Dorset Tourism Board

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty fair assessment

4:57 pm

 

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