These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the National League South in a swanky new ground. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Poole Town on Saturday 24th January 2015. We lost 4-0 in front of 309 people.

I was reading an article the other day about what a complete mess we are making of our planet. You know, the sort of article you skip cos its too depressing and far more pressing is to find out just what José Moaninho is complaining about now.

Scientists spent five years identifying the core components needed for human life – and the results ain't pretty. Of nine worldwide processes that underpin life on Earth, four have exceeded “safe” levels. Changes in the last 60 years are unprecedented in the previous 10,000. All of these changes are shifting Earth into a “new state” that is becoming less hospitable to human life – and there's no sign things are slowing down.
Lead author Professor Will Steffen of the Australian National University said “It’s fairly safe to say that we haven’t seen conditions in the past similar to ones we see today and there is strong evidence that there [are] tipping points we don’t want to cross. People say the world is robust and that’s true, there will be life on Earth, but the Earth won’t be robust for us.”

“Some people say we can adapt due to technology, but that’s a belief system, it’s not based on fact. There is no convincing evidence that a large mammal, with a core body temperature of 37C, will be able to evolve that quickly. Insects can, but humans can’t and that’s a problem...It’s clear the economic system is driving us towards an unsustainable future and people of my daughter’s generation will find it increasingly hard to survive.” 
Well, cheers for that bomb shell but what's its got to do with football? And what could a small lower league club possibly do to stop the world becoming a less hospitable place for humans? Obviously if the worlds environment collapses then most of our games would be postponed – although the old blazers that run our league will no doubt be in their bunkers trying to make clubs finish the season. I think we should put a mark in the stand, and make our club greener than Kermit's bottom. Proper building insulation, solar panels, recycled water and reduced waste. Not only should these be essential components for our new ground but would also save money. I know, I know, let's get our bloody ground first but if those solar panels knock a few pence off your pint or mug of tea (served in a cup that isn't thrown away after just one use) or enables us to sign a better player; well who'd be arguing against?

Since Dale Vince, who made his fortune from green energy company Ecotricity, became chairman of Forest Green Rovers, he has been determined to make the club 'the most sustainable football club inBritain.' Some examples include collecting water from under the pitch to use for irrigation, solar panels and the first meat-free football menu. They've also got the UK’s first electric ‘mow-bot’ putting Rovers in the same league as Bayern Munich, who use the same revolutionary technology. The ‘mow-bot’ uses GPS technology to automatically mow the pitch without the need for human intervention – saving up to 50 per cent of a groundsman’s working week – it even sends a text if it runs into trouble. Rovers next plan to create an eco-venue for business and schools with the football club a working demonstration of sustainable living.

Of course there are those who complain that this is all green nonsense, while politicians and corporations carry on us normal and tell us that buying endless crap we don't need is good for the economy. But the warning from Profesor Steffen is clear if we do nothing “History has shown that civilisations have risen, stuck to their core values and then collapsed because they didn’t change. That’s where we are today.”
So wouldn't it be a good thing to have our club badge changed to 'Served the Planet with Honour'!

Friday, January 16, 2015


Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Weymouth on Saturday 17th January 2015. We beat the league leaders 3-0 in front of 328 people.

Being a lower league football fan in London isn't for the faint hearted. Where once stood magnificent stadiums bursting with song now there are housing estates or supermarkets. Where once all the capitals football teams could rely on big crowds, now those that are left face a relentless battle with an apathetic public and an insane property market, whose vultures circle ready to asset strip until there are no community spaces left. These people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Hillingdon Borough, Southall, Hendon, Edgware Town, Walthamstow Avenue, Leytonstone, Hayes, Ilford. Enfield. The list goes on.
The once mighty Wealdstone, the first club to do the Conference and Trophy double, were rewarded with their chairman selling their ground to Tescos and getting very little money from the sale. After a financially crippling spell at Watford, they groundhopped round the capital and even had a ground half built, before contractors went bust and Barnet eventually moved in. They have now settled in the idyllic setting of Ruislip, a club who themselves folded due to a lack of interest. Ruislip metamorphosed into Tokyngton Manor F.C.and now groundshare at Amersham. Meanwhile Wealdstone are on the up, crowds have rocketed and they will now forever be synomous with the 'wantsum' Raider.
Dulwich Hamlet, whose glorious old Champion Hill, was a glorious old wreck by the time they moved out are finally bringing back some of the glory days thanks to clever football and even clever marketing. Last week 1,200 turned up for a Ryman Premier League game v Billericay! Their ground is under threat, but it was also the first London football stadium to be listed as an “Asset of Community Value”.
Meanwhile at the Old Spotted Dog, something inspiring is taking place. Clapton FC play in the Essex Senior League where many clubs would be overjoyed with 3 figure crowds and where not so long ago just 25 people would watch the famous old Clapton play. Last week against Haringey Borough the crowd was 235 and the Clapton Ultras, with flares, flags and singing are trying to bring back the atmosphere (and politics) that has been lost to the supporters of so many corporate football teams. 
The first ever supporter run club in the country Enfield Town are now back in their borough after losing their ground to a dodgy owner.  
Then there's AFC Wimbledon, whose fans furious at the franchising of football, were spitting feathers at the FA commission comment that “Resurrecting the club from its ashes as, say, ‘Wimbledon Town’, is not in the wider interests of football.” They started life at the bottom of the footballing pyramid and pitched up at Kingstonian, another club who were having an ongoing battle with their dodgy chairman. The Dons paid him cash to bugger off while Kingstonian play a small amount of rent ever since. Now they have plans to move back near their spiritual home and might sell their ground to Chelsea. Some Kingstonian fans aren't happy, and have never been. If our ground got transferred to someone else and we became tenants I’m sure we would have the hump. To add salt to the wound, the Kingstonian committee say they can't afford to stay. I'm not sure what the solution is but rather than finger pointing, we need to look at the economic free-for-all that gets us in this mess in the first place.
Football grounds need proper protection from dodgy owners and property vultures. Like pubs they are all 'Assets of Community Value' and beyond the first team, give a chance for people to not just play football but for communities to come together.
As Wealdstone, Dulwich and Clapton have shown, with a bit of nous, it is possible to pull in those punters and show that lower league football is alive and kicking in London.

Saturday, January 03, 2015


By Graham Kaye-Taylor

Like everyone else, I was both shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Chris Boxall. As news filtered through social media channels, I couldn’t quite believe what my eyes were reading and even now writing this some hours later it still hasn’t really sunk in. My thoughts and prayers go out to Tony and Jan, Chris’ family, friends and colleagues. He will be sorely missed by all within the Slough Town community.
Chris was an integral part of the younger generation of Slough Town supporters who helped promote the club in the digital age. A talented web designer by trade, Chris utilised his skills honed at the Slough Observer to deliver a website for the football club that was light years ahead of its competitors and among the very best in the non-league. The unofficial fans forum that he co-founded back in 2001 still operates today, providing an outlet for Rebels to share their post-match joy and frustrations. I’m not sure that we can blame Chris for the shenanigans of some of the more colourful characters who have frequented the forum over the years, but we should all be grateful to him for giving us an online platform where rival opinions can be aired.
For years Chris was part of the website match reporting team as well as providing information for the Non-League Paper. When most supporters were celebrating a goal, Chris could be found scribbling down details of the time and scorer in his notepad, or tweeting the details so that supporters not in attendance could be kept up to date with the match progress.
I first came to know Chris towards the end of the club’s tenure at Wexham Park. While he was never one of the more vociferous supporters on the terraces, he was always there at matches cheering his team on, usually in the company of his dad. Chris liked to keep himself fit by spending time at the gym, which was good news for the Supporters Team as it meant we had at least one player who wasn’t panting and wheezing after 15 minutes. Away from the club he was highly sociable and could regularly be found frequenting the dance floors of Berkshire after a couple of beverages. Looking back at photos of Chris from a long weekend in Bognor from our younger days has raised a smile. Needless to say these pictures aren’t getting published!
Just from looking at the reaction to the sad news it was clear that Chris was very popular with colleagues past and present. Former Slough Observer sports reporter Gary Chappell, who covered the Rebels during the Eddie Denton era, very succinctly wrote “Shocked, stunned and saddened by the death of Chris Boxall at 34. Many memories. All funny. Top man.” John Dickens, current Senior Sports Reporter for the Slough Observer simply tweeted “RIP Chris. Pleasure working with you.”
The untimely loss of Chris follows the recent passing of other Rebels including Dave Pearcy, Peter Riley and Chris Sliski. In a week where we should be feeling optimistic at the news of a planning application being submitted for the new stadium, the Slough Town community is instead filled with sadness that yet another of its loyal hardworking supporters will not be there to see our great club playing within the town it represents. I only hope that when the Rebels homecoming finally happens, Chris will be looking down from above in the great supporters coach in the sky.


Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Burnham on Tuesday 20th January 2015. We drew 2-2 in front of 257 people.

All Slough fans would have swapped their Christmas socks for news of a ground in Slough. So it seems Santa came early with the announcement that planning permission has finally been submitted for the ground at Arbour Vale. This time without the houses but a school with sporting facilities for the whole community. Amongst other things this will include an artificial pitch and covered seating for a least 250 spectators. There will also be a four-court sports hall, multi-use games areas for community use and playing fields for the school and nearby St Joseph’s Catholic High School. The facilities are designed to meet the ground grading requirements of the Southern Premier League with flexibility to expand.

However, this news was tinged with the sadness of another Rebel passing. The death of Chris Boxall was all the more shocking as he was only 35 years old. I can't say I knew Chris well; he was one of those more thoughtful, quieter Rebels, and the driving force behind our fantastic website; one of those unsung heroes that makes clubs like ours tick. We've lost so many of our Rebel friends over the years since we've have been homeless and its heartbreaking to think of those that have put so much into the club will never see us play back in the town where we belong.

I asked Chairman Steve Easterbrook a few questions about the ground

Q Are you confident that the Rebels really are coming home sooner rather than later

Steve “With all the setbacks we have encountered it is very difficult to be 100% confident. However this is the furthest we have got and I would like to think that there is a now determined effort and momentum to finally bring the club back into the town where it belongs. “

Q Was the decision to have a 3G pitch an easy one?
Steve “Yes.”

Q Do you think this is the way forward for lower league clubs to survive?
Steve “Absolutely – it is not only the way forward for clubs it is the way forward for communities as the pitch can be better utilised as opposed to just the couple of times a week you can play on a grass pitch. Also with an artificial pitch there is less chance that a game will be called off. If you take last New Year’s Day, which is traditionally one of the best supported days of the entire season – out of approximately 133 scheduled games at Step 1 to 4, 91 were postponed – this will have cost clubs thousands of pounds. It has taken the FA a long time, however artificial pitches are now accepted in the FA Cup, in the Conference League and it won’t be long before the professional leagues accept them.”

Q And finally, are you enjoying the Southern Premier and how do you think we are doing
Steve “Really enjoying this season and visiting all the new grounds. It goes without saying that the standard of football is higher however on our day we have shown that we can be a match for anyone. Of course if you have an off day you can get severely punished (Redditch at home….ouch!).”

As some of the development land falls in Green Belt, the development still hinges on a final sign-off from the Government. Let's hope Eric Pickles doesn't do a Scrooge and Slough Town Wanderers can finally have a home to call their own soon.