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, November 05, 2016

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

Printed in the Southern Premier League game v Hitchin Town on Saturday 5th November 2016. We lost 1-0 in front of 646.

Some might think I need my head read after giving away my tickets to last Saturdays Brighton game so I could watch Slough play Bognor Regis Town in the FA Trophy 1st Qualifying round. Especially as Brighton played out of their skin demolishing promotion rivals Norwich City 5-0. But Slough were also playing out of their skin seeing off Ryman Premier League high-flyers and last years Trophy semi-finalists 4-1. Some of the football Slough played was the best I’ve seen in years and with most of our strikers out injured, the icing on the cake was 18 year old Fulham loane Elijah Adebayo. His second volleyed goal was sensational and he became the first Slough player to score a hat-trick on his debut in 30 years – not bad for his senior football debut.

It says a lot about our new status and our managers that we me managed to get Elijah from Fulham if only for a month. If you follow Neil Baker on twitter, it seems no game is too far flung or obscure for him to watch. So I asked Neil if we would have got Elijah if we were still homeless?

Neil “
Not 100% sure we would have got him if we were still at Beaconsfield, obviously helpful that we are playing in a nice stadium on a perfect pitch. In terms of how we got him, I rang my friend there last week who is quite influential in getting the loan lads out to see what they might have as a forward option, and said he would need to speak to Peter Grant the Under23s manager and ex Norwich manager. They then came back that Monday night after beating Newcastle to say that he was available and they had spoken to Elijah who was really keen to come (which is one of the driving factors) after that between our secretary Kay Lathey, myself and their secretary we got it tied up.

“In terms of games, I tend to get out as much as I can, there will be certain weeks where I am out most nights, and others not so much. It works quite nicely as with Jon having a young family it is a lot harder for him to get out as much as me, but it still enables us to both keep an eye on people, and after each game we will talk in length about the teams that have seen. Sometimes we will get out to separate games so that we can watch more football between us.”

While Slough have a spanking new home, last season the good folk of Hitchin got behind their football club to save Top Field; one of those magical non league grounds that make ground-hoppers go all weak at the knees – especially after you've visited a few local boozers on the way from the train station.

However, the Canaries problem is that they rent the land from the Hitchin Cow Commoners Trust who decided a supermarket would be more preferable than a football club. What Hitchin then cleverly set about doing was showing that this was more than just about a football ground but about the wider community and the economic effects of shoving another supermarket on a greenfield site.

This culminated in a packed public meeting where the chair of the Commoners Trust received so much grief she resigned. Then a march through town was attended by nearly 1,500 which long treasurer Roy Izzard told me was 'one of the proudest days of my life.' With free entry after the march, Hitchin had their highest attendance for over 20 years with 1,606 people and of course a Roy of the Rovers last minute winner against league leaders Poole Town. The protests boosted the standing of the club along with a new 25 year lease but they are also looking at a possible move to a site less than a mile away. A feasibility study is being done on that and Top Field but as Roy pointed out 'Whatever happens, the fans will decide what we do.'
 
As for Slough I was one of the last to leave with the lights still on, I couldn't help marvel at what's happening to our club after struggling for so many seasons and thank our lucky stars that we now have the stability from which to build again.

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