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.

Monday, December 29, 2014


Printed in the Southern Premier League game v Hungerford Town  Saturday January 1st 2015. We lost 2-1 in front of 310 people.

On yet another Saturday where I couldn't face the bubbling cauldron of passion that is Holloways Park, I decided to take my son to football and drag his friend along to watch his first ever live game. And where better than the Dripping Pan, home of Lewes FC. It's free to get in for Under 16's and was free for kids on the buses thanks to Small Business Saturday (as opposed to Pay No Tax Big Corporation Day the rest of the year). Although not the Premiership that so many youngsters are drugged with, Lewes does have beer, terraces, singing and swearing – all the ingredients for a perfect Saturday afternoons entertainment. It was also freezing, no goals and quite frankly the worst game of football i've seen all season, so the perfect introduction to what watching football is often like.

It also had a (free) fanzine being dished out - 'Knickers to 'em' formerly '10 Worthing Bombers' – both references to their friends along the coast – and what a great read, Now I do love a fanzine, having been co-author of 'Rebel without a Clue' during our first few seasons in the Conference. We even managed to get banned when he printed an unflattering article about our local Tory MP and even got in the national press cos we were so rude about him. Fast forward 30 years and i'm reading the intro to Knickers which is having a pop at the Lewes board. Bloody hell. This is a 100% community owned football club, with over 500 in attendance at a Ryman League bottom of the table clash with Tonbridge Angels. A club who refuses to bankrupt itself, where you can drink on the terraces, is free for kids and has the best football posters ever and food to die for. The editors might have a point about the extreme gentrification of the club, but surely the football club simply mirrors just how middle-class Lewes has become.

Having a pop isn't a bad thing, its good to keep those who make the decisions on their toes, but I always think criticism should be backed up with people mucking in. After setting up my own charity and helping re-open a co-op pub I know the endless hoops, paperwork and meetings that take place behind the scenes to make things happen. Easy to criticise, a lot harder to get stuck in. So if you're going to make a New Years resolution, how about that you will get more involved in your community?

Then I read 'With Disappointment Comes Football Wisdom' which perfectly summed up the growing up you do as a football fan. “Season after season as you stand on a terrace wondering why you bother, it is because it is shaping your life...Tomorrow can't come quick enough and with modern media demanding we live our lives at breakneck speed 24/7, there remains minimal time for thought and conjecture. Or is it just people of my era are older, wizened and frankly battle hardened through life's onslaught of sporting disappointments?”

The bit on football forums was also spot on “All you see is a forum members name but you don't need a photo to guess their age. A defeat means so and so out, a win and he is the best thing since sliced bread. You are under 25...Management is a long term art and strategy (but) young people have no patience.”

I remember at one point I had to stop watching Slough, cos when they lost it ruined my whole weekend and sent me into cat-kicking fury. Which didn't impress my vegetarian friends or the cat.

As for the kids, half an hour to go and they wanted to go home and play Minecraft, or at least watch some plonker on a computer, talk about how to play Minecraft. No way as they were bribed with another chocolate bar, your staying here to watch some blokes running round on a pitch trying to score a goal and give us some Christmas cheer. And with the final whistle, as we made our way up the windy Lewes streets in the dark, all smelling of Christmas, It felt good to be passing on a time-honoured football tradition to the younger generation.

* For copies of 'Knickers to 'em' email 
* To find them on twitter @knickerstoem


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