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, August 09, 2015

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE FROME - FOOTBALLS COMING HOME

Printed in the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division game v Frome Town Saturday 8th August 2015. We drew 0-0 in front of 275

I must admit to giving myself a good old pinch and check it wasn't April Fools Day. After 12 long nomadic years the Rebels will soon be running out on their new 3G pitch after Slough Council gave the thumbs up to a new sports complex for the town. Construction work for phase one of the Arbour Park Community Sports Facility (catchy) is timetabled to be completed by August 2016. Costing £12 million, it will be, for anyone whose not been paying attention, more than just about a new football ground for Slough Town. Of course we will get increased attendances, but the 3G pitch will enable the ground to be used constantly and as our chairman Steve Easterbrook said “It's great that the council recognise the benefits of sport to the community, not just in terms of healthy lifestyles and wellbeing, but also as part of community cohesion.”
Now Slough is about a diverse melting pot of people as anywhere your find outside London, but one whose children are unfortunately being segregated by religious free schools. So apart from getting rid of these schools, the best way to bring the different cultures and people together is a successful community run football club in the heart of the town.
However, with council funding ready to be hit with a tsunami of cuts, then credit where its due to Slough Council – although perhaps not its ability to make quick decisions. Councils must think outside the box to tackle problems. Just look at Dartford Council, whose Conservative Party leader Jeremy Kite told me nine long years ago “Everyday, councils throw bucket loads of money at schemes to deal with anti-social behaviour, childhood obesity, community cohesion, civic pride and community relations. Here in Dartford, we took the view that rather than fund a series of expensive here today- gone tomorrow initiatives, we would invest in football as a catalyst for all those things. I'm sure every Council thinks they are doing things right, but I've never regretted or doubted the wisdom of our investment in a new Stadium. You simply cannot put a price on the sense of pride and worth that is developing around the town as a result of The Darts coming home. Princes Park will not only become a centre of spectator sport, but also as a participatory one too - for kids of all ages. I have told the club that they MUST bring kids in and encourage school sports finals and training to take place on the first pitch.”
Unfortunately, some councillors often seemed to trapped in self-imposed boxes and much happier to play tit-for-tat party politics. Let's call it Dexter-itous. Which is why what is happening in the town of today's opposition so interesting. On 7
th May, the people of Frome voted against traditional party politics and gave a coalition of independents control of all 17 seats. The founder of this movement has named it 'flatpack democracy' with Frome leading a small-scale political revolution that's spreading across the country. At its core is a basic aim 'taking political power at a local level, then using it to enable people a greater say in the decisions that affect their lives.' Which is what all political parties say they like to encourage, but often stick their hands over the ears when new ideas come along because they are so busy pointing the finger of blame at their political opponents. What Frome has, is a group of people brimming with a can-do attitude and using the Localism Act to make things happen.

So the people of Frome create a new political movement and the Rebels finally get their new ground. Neither of which would happen if people sat on their sofas moaning that the council don't do anything for them or shooting people down that do get off their backsides.

The moral of the story - never take no for an answer – oh and make sure you have a level-headed, savvy-businessman like Steve Easterbrook on your side.

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