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.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

WHAT'S IN A NAME

To be printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Dunstable Town Saturday 6th December 2014

Anyone with a grasp of football, would understand why it should be part of the geography curriculum. Much of my youth was spent pouring over leagues giving me an encyclopedic knowledge of just where every village, town and city was. Now my eldest is using his football sticker collection to find out about different countries.
If only a well travelled Ex had supported her local team Shepton Mallet. Instead she didn't know her Bristols from her Barnsley’s and once asked if Slough was by the sea. Er, not unless you count the Grand Union Canal. Now I like nothing better than winding my missus up on car journeys, by pointing out, been there, done that, cos at one point I’ve watched the Rebels play at over 150 different grounds. I know that isn't a touch on what John Tebbit could come up with, but it's seen me reach the far flung corners of our country. From Gateshead to Truro to Ramsgate with a bit of Wroxham and Boston thrown in to make a perfect geographical triangle.

I can get all romantic over a bit of Stockton and Norton Ancients and felt depressed when Blackpool Mechanics changed their name to boring old AFC Blackpool after merging with Squires Gate Youth. Everyone loves a bit of Accrington Stanley, not just cos of the milk advert, but because of their name. Sheffield Wednesday trumps Sheffield United and Sheffield any day of the week. You wonder why Sheffield, who invented the game, didn't pick a better name, seeing as they were the first and could have been called something like Sheffield the First Albion, which would certainty have put a marker in the sand.

Scottish and Welsh footballing names are always going to win in the beautiful words contest, although I thank the pagan Gods I don't support Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogochFC. If i struggle with remembering Give us an S, L, O when I’ve had a few beers, imagine trying to get that one on the go. Their name translates as "St Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St Tysilio of the red cave" which kinda beats Slough meaning an area of soft wet land – or bog.

It's a pity that these reformed clubs, they didn't use a bit more imagination that sticking AFC before their name, although FC United of Manchester when shortened to FCUM is a two finger salute to modern football. Blyth Spartans give themselves an edge just by their name and have FA Cup romance written all over them, before they'd even thought about reaching the 5th round proper. Romulus aren't from another planet and Walton Casuals aren’t a punk band from the seventies managed by Jimmy Pursey or an English Defence League splinter group but a team from Surrey playing in the Ryman League Division One South. And try saying Harrow Borough quickly after a few pints (and try finding the bloody ground for that matter).

Thumbs up to Chalfont Wasps, Glossop North End, Prescot Cables and Oxhey Jets but it's the Northern League that not only dominates the FA Vase but dominates best named footballing clubs. Jarrow Roofing Boldon Community Association, Bedlington Terriers, West Allotment Celtic, Billingham Synthonia, Seaham Red Star, Esh Winning and the aforementioned Norton and Stockton Ancients make all us wordsmiths go weak at the knees. It's only spoilt by one of those ego trip chairman clubs, Celtic Nation which leaves a bad taste in the mouth like the once proposed merger of Ramsgate and Margate to make Thanet United. Gravesend and Northfleet becoming Ebbsfleet was also a historical football club name massacre.

So if you are thinking of starting a new club, why not pour over the Non League Paper for a bit of inspiration. Just think of how the innocuously named Harrogate Railway Athletic lured us all into a false sense of security. Maybe we need to soften up Slough to do the same. Mind you, its taken so bloody long to get a ground, we are fast turning into Slough Town Wanderers.

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