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.

Sunday, December 03, 2017


Printed in the FA Cup 2nd Round game v Rochdale Monday 4th December 2017. We lost 4-0 in front of a sell out 1,950 crowd.

Just when I thought this season couldn't get more surreal up pops up double hat-trick boy Matt Lench and joint manager John Underwood on the box at Arbour Park. Even my kids are transfixed. Slough. Town. On. The. Tele. I was half expecting Kieran and clubshop Sue to be rummaging around in the ball-bag.

To think back to the first 15 minutes of our cup-run - away to more-trees-than-fans Berkhamsted; when our former managers club really should have been two goals up which might have put a spanner in the works to this cup run (and Berkhamsted still haven't lost a league game this season). Since then we've beaten Dulwich, Poole, Folkestone and Gainsborough and it was the manner of that last victory that really was something special. Our joint managers said the Gainsborough game was their best day ever in seven years of management and who are we to disagree. Chatting to older supporters, we have got one of the best squads ever. We are flying in the league and scoring more goals than anyone else in the football pyramid apart from Manchester City - whose reserve keepers boots probably cost more than all our squad combined.

And so to Rochdale. I've always had a soft spot for Dale when between them Workington and Southport they fought over who could finish bottom of Division Four safe in the knowledge that it was a pretty closed shop and you wouldn't get voted out of the league. It's fair to say that anyone who supports Rochdale is not a glory-hunter. In fact A Fans Suffering Index had them top as the most long suffering fans!

They have only been promoted three times – in 1969, 2010 and 2014 - playing 36 consecutive seasons in the Football Leagues bottom division from 1974 to 2010, the longest time any team has been in the bottom division of the League.

Of course we all know the longest suffering fans are Arsenal ones, or maybe that's the most insufferable.

My missus Uncle Steve happens to be a Dale fan and i've twice sat in the Spotland home end when we visited Manchester to cure my football withdrawl symptons. I even went to see them in the play off finals at Wembley where they lost to Stockport County, who were splashing the cash at the time - a plan that went spectacular wrong with Stockport now playing in the Conference North.

Surrounded by wealthy neighbours Rochdale are impressively punching above their weight establishing themselves as a League One side. As Steve told me “We are local family club which does a lot for the community and where you are valued as a spectator. Our chairman and directors are supporters who have stood on the terraces and our manager is a genius. He mends broken players and then we sell them on. We nearly got to the play offs last season with the smallest budget in the league but have struggled a bit this season after selling our best three. We recently bought the ground and have plans to develop it and put on events to help with finances but getting in the third round will be massive for us.”

I'm not sure i will really be able to enjoy the game, there's too much riding on it. If getting a ground back in Slough has transformed the club from Basket-case to Brazil of the Southern League, imagine what the finances and exposure of the FA Cup 3rd Round would do? Yes i know there's no magic of the cup for Premier League teams, but for both teams the 3rd Round would be paved with gold. However, defeat to Rochdale would mean the Rebels would hold the unenviable record of the most 2nd round exits without ever making the 3rd round. So no pressure then boys. 
Let's go and make history. 


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