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.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

HOME COMING AND FOOTBALLING GODS

Printed in the FA Cup 1st Qualifying round  v Chipstead on Non League Day Saturday 3rd September 2016.We won 6-1 in front of 472.

Well that was some home-coming. A sell out crowd of 1,401 (where did the extra one come from?) in our fantastic new stadium with plenty more unable to get tickets. A 2-1 victory in the sunshine after being a goal down. Electric signs announcing the game as you came off the M4, twitter on #RebelsReturn meltdown. Eight deep at the bar and not because of the usual reason that Beaconsfield bar staff had gone out for a fag at half time. Fans old and new, loads of youngsters – you've got to say after nearly 14 years in exile the only way is up for Slough Town. And you could see from some of the old faded Slough tops why club-shop Sue was doing such a brisk trade in merchandise.

Our joint managers Unders and Bakes in their programme notes made it quite clear that without our chairman Steve Easterbrook none of this would have happened. And where was he when I arrived at half one to flog Trust membershipis? On car-park duty! When I left at 6 he was clearing up. Did he see any of the game? Did any of our supporters who volunteer to make our club tick and took on the enormous task of making sure the day went smoothly see more than glimpse of the action?

My only complaint was that it was all over so quick and there were plenty of people I didn't see. But guess what. It's all happening again. Even better the Football Gods have made sure we have an FA Cup tie at home on Non League Day. Now in its 6th season, its become part of the footballing calendar. As they put it "Always scheduled to coincide with an international break, Non League Day produces a platform for clubs to promote the importance of affordable volunteer led community football." So instead of listening to moaning Premier League managers, smaller clubs can grab the spotlight and find ways to entice people to their games. That it's not all about the glamour (and expense) of the Premier League - and that football exists away from TV screens. Crowds often triple but the million dollar question is - how do you keep some of those people for more than just a day? Having a swanky new stadium near the middle of town with the town playing attractive football should help.

What i've also been really impressed with is the link up with St.Josephs School which our academy players will attended as part of their sixth form education. It's just another important part of the jigsaw that will really put Slough Town back on the map.

So why not be part of the story? Fantastic if you can cheer from the terraces, but how about some volunteering? Join the Slough Town Supporters Trust, sign up to the 500 club lottery, help out on matchdays. You never know, you might even meet your future spouse. Or sell a golden goal ticket to David Brent when he turns up to his first game.

The last time I saw Chipstead play they spoilt the AFC Wimbledon party. It was the Dons first ever competitive league match, after the FA thoughtfully gave MK Dons their place in the Football League. With a crowd of over 4,000 and hundreds unable to get a ticket (sound familiar?) it was heading for a draw until in the 84th minute Chipstead scored to make it 2-1. Let's hope they haven't got any ideas of spoiling our week long celebrations today. Still, isn't it ironic that after such a helping hand from the football authorities and millions spent on a ground and players, that MK Dons are now playing at the same level as AFC Wimbledon who have been propelled up the leagues by the thousands of volunteer hours from their fans. Or was it thanks to the footballing Gods? 

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