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.

Thursday, March 31, 2016


Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Hungerford Town on Monday 28th March 2016. We lost 2-0 in front of 319 people. 

Last weekend Haywards Heath Football Club won promotion to the Southern Combination League Premier Division after winning an incredible 24 league games in a row. After a 24 years absence from Sussex footballs top flight an official from the Sussex FA tweeted that they were sleeping giants. While there's no doubt that Haywards Heath have been underachieving for many seasons, could they really be described as a sleeping giant? A small commuter town in mid Sussex town with a population of 23,000? Surely one to file under football hyperbole.

I've often heard of Slough being referred to as sleeping giants. Our many seasons in the south west and central Southern divisions playing village teams (and often losing to them) where we would outnumber the home support – yes, we were definitely a big fish in quite a small teacup. But when you look at clubs in our league like Kettering and Weymouth, who I think would both fit in the football league, are we really a sleeping giant or more a drunk bloke that's sobered up after years of being on the lash and is finally turning his life around.

Are Leicester City a sleeping giant? Not according to Charlie Stillitano, a US sports Executive who recently held talks with 'top' Premier League clubs about the pre-season International Champions Cup. Stillitano met with the chiefs from Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool to discuss this closed tournament, where he admitted a 'restructuring of the Champions League' was also discussed.
He recently told US satellite radio station SiriusXM : “What would Manchester United argue: did we create soccer or did Leicester create [it]? Let’s call it the money pot created by soccer and the fandom around the world. Who has had more of an integral role, Manchester United or Leicester? It’s a wonderful, wonderful story – but you could see it from Manchester United’s point of view, too...I guess they don’t have a birthright to be in it every year but it’s the age-old argument: US sports franchises versus what they have in Europe.
"There are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful elements to relegation and promotion and there are good arguments for a closed system. This is going to sound arrogant and it’s the furthest thing from it … but suddenly when you see the teams we have this summer in the International Champions Cup you are going to shake your head and say, ‘Isn’t that the Champions League?’ 
Of course the European Super League idea has been around for as long as 'When Saturday Comes' which just celebrated its 30th birthday and is really worth a read if you like your football coverage a bit more down to earth than the usual over-hyped nonsense. In its editorial it said 'The one thing uniting the various oligarchs, potentates and venture capitalists who have bought into English club football over the past decade is that none is remotely interested in sporting principles. If the shake up we've seen at the top level of the Premier League this season was to become a regular occurrence, with former Champions League habitués continuing to fall well short of the top four, then some owners might come to see the appeal of a self-selecting new league free of the upstart over-achievers who don't even have merchandising outlets in Tokyo and New York.'

Forget that Leicester (who aren't exactly short of a bob or two) have brought some much needed unpredictability to the Premier League. To the money-men these upstarts have upset the apple-cart and threaten their long-term investments. Ignore the back pages of the tabloids, this is Football for the Financial Times. Where the best-branded teams in the world shouldn't have to sully themselves with those who haven't worked out that flogging more tops in China is a much better way of deciding who gets to play in the Champions League

* Since i wrote this Leicester have been invited to play in the International Champions Cup


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