These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the National League South in a swanky new ground. Iā€™ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton.

Friday, September 28, 2018

EASTBOURNE PROMISE

Printed in the National League South game v Hungerford Town on Saturday 29th September 2018 We won 2-0 in front of 722 - and are now fifth in the league!
 
A trip to Eastbourne in September is the easiest it is going to get for me to watch the Rebels this season, so imagine my joy on reading that it was National Rail Replacement Bus weekend, turning journeys of 30 minutes into hours of torture. But one rail company excelled itself, telling a frustrated passenger who'd had to stand for miles, that making fairs cheaper would only encourage more people to use the trains and so there would be even more overcrowding.
Seeing as my yacht was in the repair yard, me and my Brighton supporting mate Terry jumped on the speedy 12X to Eastbourne. It's just a shame I couldn't make the most of the beautiful scenery as the winding country roads kept my stomach churning and my head between my knees.
This of course had nothing to do with the week I had just had, celebrating how sport can break down barriers.
I'd been to a little shindig the night before at our community owned pub The Bevy where we were showing 'Believe That' a short film about a group of lads with downs syndrome competing in their first international ping-pong tournament. Supporting them was the inspiring Brighton Table Tennis Club who use the sport to train everyone from prisoners, refugees, people with disabilities and schools using table tennis to teach maths. The film was inspiring and one of the lads used to work for our charity now has a job in the pub in the kitchens. A great night but maybe one beer too many for this bendy old bus.
A few days earlier my eldest had been part of his Albion in the Community teams presentation evening again at The Bevy. Albion in the Community use the power of football to deliver everything from health checks, school work, skills and training. The boys and one girl cooked up a healthy buffet for all their parents making the message that if you want to excel in sport you have to look after yourself, practical and fun.
Eastbourne is rather greedy when it comes to football clubs representing the town ā€“ Borough, United Association, Town and Langley Wanderers. Borough are the new boys powering up the divisions and even spending a couple of seasons in the National League, while United are in crisis, bottom of the Southern Combination Premier. Town are the team with the most history against Slough, have a ground bang in town where football clubs should be and listed turnstiles ground-hoppers drawl over.
We jumped in a cab to meet Lynn, Phil the Flags and that other turnstile maestro Aidan (and I don't mean turnstile decks) at the Kingfisher Pub. With so many pubs to choose from they managed to picked the one The Sweeney would have shied away from. It could have given its old Slough name-sake a run for its money. As we reminisced about the Slough Kingfisher we wondered who in the right mind ever thought putting a pub under a shopping centre would be a pleasant place to drink, unless you were an alcoholic mole. Rumour has it that they sealed it up with lots of customers still drinking in there.
Quite a few Rebels had decided to spend the weekend at the seaside while others arrived by coach and the ever dependable Chris Ashley seemingly taking 38 different trains and a walk from Pevensay Bay to avoid the dreaded rail replacement. In the end about 150 Rebels watched in horror as we had a player sent off within 10 minutes. We then watched in delighted shock as we took a 3-0 lead! In the end it was 4-2 to the Rebels and a hatrick for impressive Peterborough loane Matty Stevens. Our managers said it was one of their best ever results and the Eastbourne twitter feed spent half its time complaining about our goalkeepers time wasting rather than the fact they'd been beaten by a team playing with 10 men for 80 minutes.
As we serenaded the players and managers we managed to persuaded Phil to spare us bendy bus hell and drop us near Brighton. When we eventually got back to The Bevy Terry said 'The football was amazing and I met some real characters. Reminded me of Brighton days in the lower leagues.' 
I know I sound like the repetitive drunk non-league bloke at the bar, but watching Premier League football doesn't come close to that personal touch you get following the Rebels - over land, sea and bendy bus.

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