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

HOPPING MAD IN SUSSEX

Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Cippenham Town Tuesday 25th November 2014 We drew 2-2 in front of 238 people.

Despite being a Slough Town season ticket holder, sticking pins in my eyes is often more preferable than going to Beaconsfield. A pocket full of pins is usually all i've got left to spend after some of our far flung away trips and with other commitments eating up my Saturday mornings, it's meant that I have spending time sampling the delights of Sussex County League Football.

First up Shoreham were you can always expect a warm welcome from their forward thinking chairman who runs a proper community football club. Shoreham town centre has been transformed in recent years and now even has its very own micropub that makes a trip to watch the Musselmen even more attractive. Micropubs are basically stripped out boozers – no music, no fruit machines, often no bar with barrels of local real ale and cider for the discerning pallet and limited opening hours. Soon there will be 100 micropubs and they are a shot in the arm to the relentless pub closures happening across the country. Especially this one, the Old Star, being in the same place as The Star, a pub that closed 100 years ago!

Next stop Southwick, who to say they have fallen on hard times is an understatement. Changing their trading name, meant that the old club went into liquidation and they had to be relegated under FA rules. So this proper old school club that once spent time in the Isthmian League now play in Division 3 of the Sussex County.

Southwick play at Old Barn Way and the ground is starting to ape its name, which is a shame as the club were the first in the Sussex County to get floodlights back in 1968. It used to have a stand but this was lost to a fire in the late 1990s. A £100,000 grant from the Football Stadia Improvement Trust 10 years ago got the club new changing rooms and a directors lounge.

This was an FA Vase game against Lordswood, and Gods know where they are from. A healthy crowd, crushed into the small seated stand, out of the rain saw Southwick exit the competition. But what was pleasing to see in the programme was that all their players were sponsored and when we left (after supping a Southwick larger) the bar was heaving. The only way is up for the Wickers.

Now to the town of Uckfield, whose population of 15,000 were spoilt with two senior football clubs to chose from last season. Now after a merger AFC Uckfield Town were born and are riding high in Division Two. They are hoping their combined strength will lead to promotion as well as running teams for footballers at all levels while looking to support the development of youth team football in Uckfield.

We were greeted at their tidy little ground by a cheerful man on the gate handing out very impressive free programmes. He said they had a good crowd of 40 the other week when they beat Littlehampton Town in the Sussex County Cup while the other Tuesday just 4 people paid at the gate. The ladies at the bar were discussing how to spruce up their rather forlorn clubhouse and their main problem seems to be that they are so far out of town. The game against Midhurst and Easebourne was an abject example of not taking your chances. They should have been out of site at half time, instead they finished the match as the losing side.

You get the feeling that all these clubs are going in the right direction, and while its not the same as bellowing out my support to the Rebels, it is always a pleasure to sample the many Sussex footballing delights on my doorstep.

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