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.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

HEDGEHOG, COWS AND ONE DETERMINED FOOTBALL CLUB

Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Hitchin Town on Saturday 22nd November 2014. We won 2-1 in front of 273 people.

This is the story of a hedgehog, a few silly cows and a stubborn football club who are refusing to be rolled over by what we are always sold as progress.

But this has become more than a tale of a football club near the bottom of the footballing pyramid losing a ground they have called home not long after they formed in 1865 and being shoved on the outskirts of town like an unwanted guest. It is a tale that has managed to galvanise local people and hit the national press thanks to a hedgehog coming on the pitch and delaying the game - even giving the lino a lesson in how not to pick up sharp objects.
Hitchin Town' Top Field is one of those magical non league grounds that make ground-hoppers go all weak at the knees – especially after you've visited a few local boozers on the way from the train station. It's surrounded by greenery and it's still called Top Field and not The Really Fast Pick and Click Stadium of Speed or some other such nonsense. However, the Canaries problem is that they rent the land from the Hitchin Cow Commoners Trust. This is a charity 'for the benefit of the community through the provision of facilities for cricket, football or other sports or for other general purposes for the benefit of the inhabitants of the town of Hitchin'. Unfortunately somewhere along the way, the Common Cows seem to have misinterpreted this as 'sticking our snouts in the trough to feather our own nests whilst helping destroy what people love about living in Hitchin.'
What the football club have been clever at doing is showing that this is more than just about a football ground but about the wider community and the economic effects of shoving another supermarket on a greenfield site. On its own, the football club could never seriously mount a campaign against these juggernauts who spout endless corporate social responsibility guff, but at the end of the day is there to stuff cash into shareholders pockets.
So the Canaries organised a packed public meeting where the chair of the Commoners Trust received so much grief she resigned.
Now they are pulling out all the stops to encourage people to March on Saturday December 6 ahead of their game against Poole Town – which they have made free to get in. The march will launch 'The Save HTFC Fighting Fund' and the Hitchin manager is encouraging all their players and youth teams to go along in a show of solidarity.
Club secretary Roy Izzard said This isn’t just about the football club, it’s about saving Hitchin as a town. We need everyone to support this cause. This is a very really threat to the fabric of the town because even if people think Tesco will pull out, there will be other supermarkets queuing up to take over. We want the march to be a rallying cry to help save the town of Hitchin as well as Hitchin Town. Even if you’ve never been to Top Field before, if you care about the town we would urge you to come along to both the march and the game because apathy is a real threat.”
As for the hedgehog, as Mr.Izzard pointed out; “If he can help us to defeat the supermarket it would be amazing. He can join our committee any time."
You never know, you might see a cheeky little hedgehog sporting a fetching yellow and green top marching with the good people of Hitchin - that's if they can offer him enough slugs.

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