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 06, 2017

BATTLE OF THE HAVENS

Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v St.Ives Town Saturday, August 26th 2017. We won 3-0 in front of 618.

It's getting to the point where the FA Cup is starting so early the extra preliminary round will soon be played before the FA Cup final! It can't be a good thing that for many clubs their first competitive match of the season is one with so much to play for - including £1,500 for the winners. 
Of course none of the 370 clubs who start in the extra preliminary have much of a chance of reaching the first round proper (making the previous six rounds improper?) yet everyone at this level wants a good cup run. It's not just good for the bank balance but also exposure. Remember Westfields from the ninth tier of the pyramid who last season reached the First Round getting international exposure and £30,925 in prize money.
So while Brighton reveled in Pride, a few of us ventured over to sunny Newhaven, a town of not much more than 10,000 that is less than 10 miles from Brighton.
Unlike Brighton it has a sandy beach, but this has been fenced off by the French company that runs the ferry for 10 years cos they say it isn't safe! I spent many a sunny afternoon relaxing on the secret coves when the tide is out. On one romantic outing, the hand glider one of my exs had been chatting too half an hour earlier landed right next to us as we were enjoying each others companies. I’m not sure who was the more embarrassed!
Newhaven's ground is surrounded by woods, parks the impressive Newhaven Fort and the harbour – they're can't be many grounds that have a ruddy great ferry appearing on the half way line during a game.


It also has a bit of a carbuncle of a stand. Built 30 odd years ago it will only be fully functional this season and mirrors the town and clubs fortune. With eye-watering property prices in Brighton, people are moving to Newhaven. Yes they might have had a bloody great incinerator burning Brighton's rubbish imposed on them and a high street encircled by a busy road on its last legs like so many shopping centres, but they have some great seaside pubs, a ferry service to Dieppe, stunning coastline and I reckon the future is bright. This is the same with the club who not so long ago nearly got relegated from the Sussex County League Division 3. With 14 clubs under their banner including a women's team for the first time, many of whom were at the game in their Newhaven kits. They are one of the Southern Combination Clubs who I reckon could hold their own in the Ryman League.
They've got some of Brighton's old Withdean stadium seats behind both goals, but they could do with some cover. When the heavens opened in the second half, everyone legged it to the main stand, and I can't imagine it being much of a laugh watching games on a Tuesday night in February.
New neighbours Peacehaven got to the dizzy heights of the Ryman Premier before the money ran out. To me the Ryman League always felt a step too far. Crowd grading regulations insisted they built a 200 seater stand when they are lucky to ever attract that many supporters. However they are now a supporters run club and it seems to have put a spring in their step with apparently 3 ultras groups, all well represented in the bumper crowd of 504. They've also got a song that will be hard to beat 'Oh Telescombe Cliffs are wonderful, we've got two pubs, a garage and a Wimpy, Oh Telscombe Cliffs are wonderful.' Lyrics Peacehavens Peter and the Test Tube Babies would be proud of.
Wonderful is not something that could be said of today's match. In a game of few chances Peacehaven edged it and looked the more skillful, but it ended 0-0 and a replay on Tuesday.
The bigger picture for me is that the FA need to stop treating all clubs equally when they are blatantly not. They need to look again at punishing ground grading rules and drop the rules for the early rounds that you can't drink on the terraces. They need to increase the payments for winning in the early rounds (do the FA Cup winners really need £1.8 million?) and come up with a plan to make sure the FA Cup extra preliminary round isn't the first competitive game of the season. I won't hold my breath. 


0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home