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, September 24, 2016

EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED

Printed in the Southern Premier League game v Biggleswade Town Saturday 25th September 2016. We won 3-0 in front of 575.
It was late in the second half. Slough had just scored FA Cup goal number five against Chipstead and the usual big mouths started another one of those catchy 'Rebels' chants. Except this time a few youngsters at the front joined in. I looked around and some Asian lads were also getting in on the act . Blimey, loads of people were having a Slough Town sing-song. And this is when it really hit me - the new ground means that everything changes.
We've long bemoaned our dwindling, ageing support, stuck out on an M4 outpost opposite a service station. It might only be a few miles up the road but it makes a massive difference. Our season ticket sales already tell a tale having sold 240 compared to 138 the season before. At the end of the game, the young Rebel converts wanted to know when the next home game was. Hopefully it wont be long before they are leading the singing and coming up with their own, leaving us old faithful to shuffle off into the corner and give our weary vocal chords a rest.
My parents weren't really into football and if my dad couldn't drop me off, I could at least jump on my bike. I wouldn't have ever taken my life into my hands and cycled up the Farnham Road but Arbour Park is just a short bike ride away from most of the towns estates - even Royal Chalvey.
You only have to glance over to Maidstone to see what can be achieved with a new ground. And if you want to find out how not to run a football club then the old Maidstone United is a good place to start! Overspending to get into the football league, they had to groundshare 40 miles away because their ground didn't meet football league requirements. There was even a plan to relocate to the North East and merge with Newcastle Blue Star but this was rejected by the Football League. They were the last League club to go bust and their homeless youth team had to reform at the basement of the footballing pyramid, playing in the Fourth Division of the Kent County League - effectively relegating them seven leagues. It took 24 years to finally get back to the town they represent. From the ex-Football League carcass with crowds of just a couple of hundred while groundsharing at Sittingbourne, they have powered up the leagues and are now in their first season in the Conference playing in front of 2,000 plus a week on a 3G pitch and have become the heart of their community.
Last Saturday we put another homeless club to the sword. Like all homeless clubs, the fans of Cambridge City have been put though the mill. In January 2006 their owners announced that they had sold their ground to pay off debts and planned to scrap the first team and have City’s reserve side play at Cambridge United’s Abbey Stadium as a feeder team for United.
As you can imagine this went down like a lead balloon and supporters quickly rallied with a 200 strong public meeting establishing a Supporters Trust. Just 8 weeks later the club had become supporters run and the old board were gone - but unfortunately they still lost their fantastic town centre ground and are now pitched up at St.Ives Town. With no disprespect to what St Ives have achieved, their bobbly pitch and ramshackle ground 17 miles from Cambridge is far from ideal. Crowds really reach 200 and on Saturday over half must have come from Slough. Still, they have a new ground lined up and would be playing there now if it wasnt for one anti social neighbour with too much time and money on her hands trying to stop the move on some obscure planning technicality. We hope the success of Maidstone and the resurgence of Slough, can keep the Cambridge City supporters spirits up.
As for us Rebels; back home, top of the league, seven wins on the bounce and into the 3rd qualifying round of the FA Cup, we haven't had so much to sing about for a very long time.

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