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, November 15, 2018


Printed in the National League South game v Woking on Saturday 17th November 2018. We lost 1-0 in front of 1,465

There's never been a time in history when so much information has been at the fingertips of every human. So why does it feel like we've entered the Age of Stupid? World scientists tell us we have 12 years to change our ways or face catastrophic climate disaster. Our insect populations are plummeting – which seeing as they pollinate the food we eat is not something to ignore. We're drowning in plastic rubbish yet our politicians can't even bring themselves to curb plastic straw use. You'd think we would all be able to take better care of the planet we call home but I've long ago stopped watching the news – bored of the narrow focus and simple solutions to complex problems.

Football is my escape not just from work but also a world that seems to turn darker every day.

So why is it that on holiday that I always take a bunch of books to stimulate my intellect they always stay half read while I devour the football ones instead. So with Christmas coming up (I know, sorry to mention the C word) here's some recommendations

'Bloody Southerners' by Spencer Vignes is about the time when managerial gold-dust Brian Clough and Peter Taylor rocked up at Brighton and Hove Albion after walking out on Derby. This was a bit like Jose Mourinho in the wake of his Chelsea successes joining Southend. It's a brilliant evocative book that captures not just a pivotal time in the Albions history but also the towns. Clough might have worked miracles at Derby and Nottingham Forest but he doesn't cover himself in glory in this book with many tales from players of his mean spiritedness, dis-guarding injured players like yesterdays chip paper. Although Clough could hardly bring himself to turn up for training, him and Taylor woke a club from slumber with a chairman who splashed the cash and eventually got the club to the top of the tree and a Wembley FA Cup final. They put the town on the map along with Abba appearing at the Dome as it hosted The Eurovision Song Contest winning with 'Waterloo.' But Clough had little time for the place. In his autobiography he wrote 'People go to Brighton for various reasons. For a holiday, for a day trip, for a place to retire, for a Tory Party Conference. Or for a dirty weekend. With all due respect to the club and its fans, you don't go there for the football. Brighton is not a big-time club and is never likely to be.'

In 'How to be a Footballer' Peter Crouch comes over a very decent bright, funny man in a crazy puerile world of football. It's light hearted entertainment at its best with chapters on footballers fashions, team bus etiquette, celebrations, transfers and his trade mark headers and volleyed goals, both of which he practices to within an inch of their lives. He also talks unsurprising about his height quite a lot. I think his chapter on abuse should be read by moaning fans up and down the country on how getting on your players backs doesn't really bring out the best in them.

Back in the UK after a 30 years absence 'Home and Away' is Dave Roberts accounts of Bromleys first ever season in non leagues top flight as he criss-crosses the country from Barrow to Torquay to Boreham Wood. In the end this book is about belonging. As Bromley clung on to their newly won status Roberts mussed 'People whose names I didn't know but with whom I had stood on the terraces up and down the country were drifting around, unwilling to end the season just yet. It wouldn't just be the football i'd miss over the summer. It'd also be these fans. As one fan put it 'It's spending time with genuine nice people that's rewarding. No agendas. No pecking order. Just a glorious collection of rogues!'

I'm sure all Slough Town fans can relate to that. 

* Don't buy these books from tax-dodging Amazon but from actual real bookshops if you can.


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