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.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


Printed in the FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying round replay v Hendon Tuesday 28th November 2017. We drew 1-1 then lost 3-0 on penalties in front of 626 people.
There isn't a week when the Non League Paper doesn't report on another football club in crisis. Before the Southern Premier League season even began we knew Gosport would be relying on youngsters to try and avoid this seasons one relegation spot, while Dunstable Town became a supporters run club after their main backer left the building.
Now it's the turn of Merthyr Town who last week announced an 80% budget cut with the majority of their players leaving. Their youth players stepped up and were duly battered 13-1 by Chesham United. Merthyr were resurrected not so long ago as a fan owned club, but as one of the committee members said “Being fan-owned means that finances can sometimes be tight and mistakes can be made. Two and a half years ago we tried to increase spending on and off the pitch after our successful promotion. At the end of last season we increased that again. Again there was the hope that income would increase significantly. Unfortunately that just hasn’t happened hand we’ve lost thousands of pounds since.” The club now have a £25,000 tax bill they are hoping to pay off with a crowdfunding page, collections and increased attendances at their Pack the Park promotions.
Dulwich Hamlet are one of the best supported teams at our level but have found themselves caught between property developers Meadow Partners (who set the playing budget) and Southwark Council over plans to build houses on their ground. The developers promised to build a new ground and hand the club over to the supporters if they got permission for new houses. Southwark quite rightly said that not enough of these houses were affordable and so the Hamlet are on the brink being used by property developers as football pawns to get their own way.
Meanwhile they are up against Billericay who have been allowed to get away with spending a totally unsustainable wage bill by a chairman with an ego that would swallow a lion. And we all know what happens to clubs when big-ego chairman lose patience and walk away.
We also have 135 year old Skelmersdale United locked out of their ground, Clapton Ultras boycotting home games because of the actions of the clubs chairman and Waltham Forest plunged into uncertainty after the death of their chairman. Waltham Forest is run by volunteers with players paying their own travel expenses. They have set up a crowdfunding page in the hope that they can raise enough money to celebrate next seasons 150th anniversary.
While football clubs should be run properly, running a football club isn't like running a business. Liam Hickey is Dulwich's club chairman and a supporter for nearly 50 years. He has found Meadow increasingly difficult to deal with. “At nearly every level of football, people invest money for the love of the game...What is very clear in discussions with certain people at Meadow is that they don’t get this concept at all. They can’t understand why anyone wants to put money into football. It is completely alien for a property company to try to run a football club.”
Even when you are doing well fans still like to have a pop. After years in the doldrums, Slough Town are flying but some people are moaning that season ticket holders and those that actually go to a game are rewarded with the first chance to buy tickets for the Rochdale cup match! Imagine that, rewarding people who support the team.
It takes an enormous amount of work to build a football club, but a couple of poor seasons, the wrong manager, a chairman blinded by their own pig-headness, and fans impatience and you can see all your hard work come crashing down.
So what is the answer if even supporters run clubs can find themselves in a financial mess? Or will it ever be that some football clubs will find themselves flying too close to the financial wind? And how is it with the Premier League awash with cash that grassroots football is in such a mess?
Thankfully non league re-organisation will cut the travel bill for many clubs but I would like to see the FA level the playing field with financial fairplay and a wage cap on teams. Our planning laws need to be strengthened to protect football grounds from property vultures. But probably the most important thing you as a supporter could do, would be offering to volunteer for your local non league club.
* If you want to make a donation to Waltham Forest campaign

Monday, November 06, 2017


Printed in the Southern Premier League game v Weymouth Saturday 18th November 2017. We won 3-0 in front of 923 wet fans hunting for FA Cup tickets.

After our stunning 6-0 victory away to Gainsborough Trinity in the 1st round of the FA Cup I wanted to say this...

I remember when we lost Wexham Park and became homeless.

I remember being told by local councillors we should merge with Windsor

I remember getting thrashed every week one season culminating in a 9-0 defeat at AFC Wimbledon which sealed our relegation.

I remember turning up at Chelmsford and our manager telling us another five players had just left and half-joking with Nigel that he might have to pull on his boots. I remember another one of our favourite players telling us at Oxford City after another defeat that he'd had enough. It was ok for him – he could change clubs; we were stuck with supporting Slough!

I remember clubs enjoying taking us down a peg or two, with the AFC Hayes tannoy man and their manager asking sarcastically how our search for a new ground was going as they once again beat us.

I remember sitting in the pub having a laugh with all the Slough fans, knowing the next 90 minutes of football were going to sour that mood.

I remember cheering the team off at Fleet despite defeat meaning relegation to the Dog and Duck League (lucky for us we were reprieved)

I remember losing another play off game as we were stuck in a Southern League feeder division loop. Worse was losing to Beaconsfield whose rise up the tables was helped with our rent and beer money (a bit like your best mate nicking your girlfriend just after you've treated her to the holiday of a lifetime).

I remember being knocked out of the FA Cup by Erith Town, Hanworth Villa and Wroxham

I remember feeling sick to the stomach when I heard Mr.Slough Town Chris Sliski had died.

I remember being impressed as our chairman Steve Easterbrook was introduced after a game. With Steve at the helm the building blocks for a new club were slowly put in place. He didn't splash the cash or promise football league in five years like so many flash-in-the-pan idiots who are foolishly entrusted with running football clubs.

I remember that incredible play-off final fight-back against Kettering Town to see us finally win promotion to the Southern Premier. I don't remember too much of the celebrations in the Herschel afterwards!

Of course the last 20 years haven't been all doom and gloom; in fact it was amazing what was achieved with little income and playing away from Slough for over 13 of those years. Just think what we could do with a community sports ground that would massively benefit everyone in Slough we used to ponder.

I remember because it makes what's now happening to our club so much sweeter.

The fact that we still have a club to support is thanks to people who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes. Too people who sadly are no longer with us. To joint managers who have built the team up steadily. To a chairman who is passionate, patient and doesn't panic and who finally got us back in the town we represent.

I remember because now when I raise a glass its usually one of celebration rather than to dull the pain of supporting Slough Town. And I bloody love it.