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.

Sunday, March 08, 2015


Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Cambridge City Saturday 7th March 2015. We lost 4-0 in front of 315 people

How ironic that all those years spent praying for promotion everytime I saw the words AFC Hayes on the fixtures list, that I should spend so little time watching the Rebels in our first season back in the big time (Big Time of course being relative). It all started so well with a flurry of action down in the West Country but with the groundsharing at Beaconsfield testing my patience (I’ve been to so few home games my season ticket is working out as pricey as a seat at the Emirates), endless rail replacements which means five hour journeys become ten, kids, work and a co-op boozer that has popped up down the bottom of my street. Well, its been a season of 'wish you were here' and now with no prospect of relegation or promotion, a season spent watching more Sussex County than Southern Premier.

Still, I did fancy a bit of Chippenham Town, never having entered their turnstiles. Once I left the brave new world that is Reading station (how about this for a crazy idea, get a bar and a decent place to eat in the concourse you numpties) I arrived in Chippenham with plenty of time to catch up with The Real Ale Rebels (plus Kieran). They have the knack of finding old fashioned boozers that make you feel you have walked into someone's house by mistake. Leaving them to debate the finer points of ale, I got to the ground before the usual 1 minute to spare to catch up with all the aches and ailments of the ageing Rebel population and ponder the news that the council have given permission for our new ground (not that it means we can start building just yet).

I must say I was impressed with Chippenham. Loved the ground, cheap clubhouse, friendly fans from all ages including a Swede, with obligatory crazy Viking beard who travels over to games after a group of friends stumbled across the club – like you do when you live in Sweden. He bared his chest and waved his shirt above his head as Chippenham scored twice in a terrible game of football. I was wondering if the people by the Stadium Control Room would leap into action and cover up his modesty. But I had headed back to the bar before then.

This world of football is so far removed from the Premiership that it has more in common with horse dancing (or Equestrian Dressage as they like to call it to make it sound sensible). I cringed as I watched FA say they hoped the Premiership would hand a few more crumbs to the leagues below as the biggest TV deal ever was announced. Five Billion Quid over 3 years! The Premier League currently spends £168m on community programmes and facilities, just 3% of its income. So while the top of our national sport is awash with millions, grassroots football struggles with terrible pitches and terrible or non existent facilities. These very same clubs that play footballers millions, can't it seems, afford to pay its lowest paid staff the Living Wage (and its worth remembering that people on low wages are topped up with tax credits, so in effect taxpayers are subsidizing these big clubs).

So I couldn't help smiling, when their smugness turned to horror with FIFA announcing that the Qatar World Cup could be moved to the winter. We can't have our players getting too hot, not that we give a shit about the hundreds of workers killed building stadiums in the footballing hotbed (well it is a desert) that is Qatar. FIFA are so corrupt, even the Somali government waves its arms in despair and I wish countries would just tell them to stick their World Cup up their bloated, corrupt back sides.

Yet just like the Premiership, they get away with it because we go along with it. When there are protests, such as the Crystal Palace Ultras whose banners criticised the new TV deal, they are ignored by Match of the Day when these protests should become talking points.

Thankfully the chances of Slough Town joining this cauldron of crap anytime in my lifetime is pretty much zero. And that's the way I like it. Infact the more supporters are taken on a merry dance, the more Non League becomes attractive to people fed up with being taken for a footballing ride. And with the prospects of a new ground in Slough, these are the sorts of people we need to grab with both footballing gloves and turn them into Rebels.


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