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.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

FINALLY 'WE'RE ON OUR WAY'

Published in the National South League game v Hampton and Richmond Boroughy Saturday 3rdAugust 2018. Our first game back in the big time saw us draw 1-1 in front of 866 people.
 

I'd wanted to sing that catchy little ditty 'On our way, on our way, to the National South we're on our way' the whole bloody season but the promotion party was going to the wire. The amber and blue on the Kings Lynn terraces never stopped singing, and as I turned round to ask Deano how long left, Dobbo played a fantastic ball to Manny Williams who cool as a Trilby topped cucumber slotted in the net on 89 minutes. Total pandemonium. I've watched that clip a few times now, as Rebel Radio Ade blows his gasket 'Manny Williams, Manny Williams - 125 years old' and it never fails to lift the spirits. That's what football is all about. A fantastic season had reached its climax as the 600 Slough supporters serenaded the players and management and welcomed the return of Conference football for the first time in something like 125 years. A day forever to be known as Bank Holiday Manny Day.

99 points, 152 goals, the 6-0 FA Cup win at Gainsborough, televised Second Round match, that unbelievable comeback at Merthyr going from 4-0 down to winning 5-4 and an incredible 25 points from 27 in April to get us into third and finally - promotion to National League South. That's one season that's going to be hard to beat.

I don't think I’ve ever been kept in a ground after a Slough Town game as police with dogs stopped the dregs of Kings Lynn from getting to know us better. We even had a police escort out of the town as we hurtled back to our clubhouse to celebrate some more. When we arrived our chairman Steve Easterbrook was serving beers, along with Ade who like so many of our volunteers I can only assume has cloned himself as its humanely impossible for one person to do so much work for the club. Also serving was Chris Ashley who had driven from Kings Lynn past his home town Milton Keynes to celebrate, serve beer then head back home. To me that summed up non league football, and our Unique Selling Point. We have sold more than 400 season tickets – that's more than our average attendance when we were playing at Beaconsfield and there's a real buzz about the club.

It was a special night but I must admit that night in the Herschel after we finally gained promotion to the Southern Premier after endless play off heartaches did pip it for emotion - maybe it was the intimacy of the pub with fans who had been properly put through the mill over the years that made it feel that extra bit special. But this Unique Selling Point is something we need to hang onto if are ever to once again grace the Grand National or whatever its called this season.

What a turn around from the last time I saw us play Hampton. It was the last game of 2006-7 Isthmian Premier season which matched top v bottom. Hampton won the league and we won the wooden spoon, finishing bottom with just 18 points and a goal difference of minus 97 which included some eye watering defeats, like 9-0 to AFC Wimbledon and 8-0 at 'home' to Bromley. Home being Windsor at the time. Worse was to follow in the following seasons. Are we really are the same car crash of a club?

One of those stalwarts that make the club so special won't be with us this season. John Tebbit sadly passed away during the summer. John had been supporting the Rebels since 1937 and was a regular contributor to the programme for an incredible 48 years. John was a fountain of football knowledge and I would always try and chat to him before a game. The club has lost a real gentleman.

Another Rebel no longer with us is Mick Langley. Mick was best mates with Deano and was taken to his first game to the Dolphin Stadium aged 5. I can sort of forgive them for following Man United all over the world before finally returning, like so many, full time to the Rebels. I didn't know Mick well or that he had won a Paralympic gold medal for snooker in 1988 but he always had a big smile for everyone and a handshake before every game.

Last season while being dropped off at Arbour Park, my eldest, used to the less intimate 30,000 crowds at Brighton and Hove Albion, asked if I knew everyone at Slough. Not quite, especially the newer fans but it feels like family. Not the sort you'd want to invite round for Christmas dinner but people you are more than happy to share a pint with, stand on the terraces and sing your heart out together for the Rebels.


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