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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Printed in the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying round game v Sholing on Saturday 22nd September 2018 We drew 2-2 in front of 465. We won the replay 3-0

Another cup run beckons and its back to that old chestnut 'Will Slough ever reach the third round of the FA Cup?' The Rebels have the dubious accolade of having the most 2nd round appearances without ever reaching the 3rd round (seven times, since your asking). Rochdale under the lights might not be everyone's idea of romance but with the TV cameras, our new ground, a big crowd full of new faces and a wad of cash to boot; well it made me go all weak at the knees.
In the end the side playing five leagues above us were too strong. It was then Rochdales chance to turn on the charm in the 5th round scoring a last gasp equalizer against Spurs and a trip to Wembley.
Now we welcome Sholing and if I’m honest I would have preferred the game to be at their place. Infact I think the cup draw should be weighted so lower league teams play at home. I don't know much about Sholing except their manager has been their 19 years, racking up 1,000 games and winning 10 trophies – including the FA Vase in 2014. After four years in the Southern League Division One South and West, where they reached the play-offs in all of those campaigns, the club resigned for financial reasons and stepped back into the Wessex League Premier Division.
While Wessex League neighbours Lymington Town have a dream draw against Torquay United, Torquay fans aren't seeing it as romantic but further evidence of their fall from grace, and they are in a right mess. An absent chairman with a knack for bankrupting clubs and greyhound stadiums who is once again promising the earth. So could full time Torquay be embarrassed by a team who've never before been in the 2nd Qualifying round? With the appointment of Gary Johnson as their new manager that's got to be less likely but there's more chance of that happening playing at Lymingtons ground.
Over in Sussex, Uckfield are creating their own bit of history, having never won an FA Cup match before. Not so long ago there used to be two teams in Uckfield but a merger means its just now just one senior team. Building a football pitch on a former spring that apparently an old farmer used to bottle perhaps wasn’t the wisest of moves in our wet winters. Having a ground miles out of the town centre doesn’t help either and when I visited a few seasons back it was one man, his two kids and a squirrel. However, there has been some serious hard work behind the scenes and their 1-0 victory against Croydon Athletic was watched by 183 people. Their reward? A plum home tie against Dartford. Graham Sullivan is like so many non league volunteers, a man of many hats - committee member, kit man, programme editor and official matchday washer-uper. He told me “The FA Cup run this season is having a great effect on our club. At last the town of Uckfield is taking notice and realising it has a football club. The Mayor has come to the games, the Chamber of Commerce are taking an interest and the whole mood of the club is lifted because people suddenly care about us. Attendances have risen and then have stayed risen for the following league matches. From never winning an FA Cup match to suddenly hosting Dartford in the 2nd qualifying round has given the committee and management team a massive morale boost. The hard work has been worth it and we are moving in the right direction.”
Other note worthy results were Egham Town beating near neighbours Staines 1-0 and Sloughs near neighbours Burnham dispatching Bury Town 1-0. Not so long ago we couldn't beat Burnham for toffee but a series of relegations and they find themselves five leagues below us in the Hellenic League Division One East. They now face an away trip to Billericay. Expect a certain Billericay-Dickie to have another one of his toys-out-the-pram hissy fits if Burnham get anything out of that game. However, stars of the last round must go to the Sutton Coldfield Ultras. The one time I went to their place it was like a morgue and to be fair these Ultras are more hip replacement than hipster, but their version of Tequila during their victory against Rushall Olympic has set social media alight.
Of course. it's hard to dine out on a shoestring and fair play to the FA who've put their hands in their pockets and increased the prize money in each round – you even get some cash when you lose in the extra preliminary and preliminary rounds. That means Uckfield have already banked over £11,000.
One thing I would change is, along with an opt up clause for organ donations, an opt out clause for clubs entering the FA Cup. The authorities should always look to make the workload of voluntary football secretaries lighter and this simple measure would stop mistakes like Bracknell Town who left it too late to enter the cup and get all romantic on the terraces.
So here goes, take a deep breath, only 6 more improper wins till the 3rd round. 

* For more FA Cup Facts than you can shake a cup at, head over to the excellent and exhaustive FACup Factfile


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