These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. We are homeless and currently stuck in a nightmare Southern League Central Division loop, just 8 leagues below the Premiership. I’ve been supporting Slough for 33 long years, and despite moving to Brighton still go to most games hoping for promotion and our promised ground back in the town where I was born.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

CHANGING CLIMATE


Printed in the Southern League Central Divison One match v Aylesbury United Saturday 15th February 2014. We won 5-3 in front of 272 people. 
 
I'm not sure I will ever lose that buzz of an away game. As I sit on the early morning Slough Town Express wondering what beery delights Nigel has lined up for us, as I hurtle towards hamlets and towns that would otherwise pass me by. Saturday in your colours is also the only time you can go up to complete strangers and start to chat about football without them ringing the police.
Now I always love a trip to Marlow. We were lucky the Marlow Donkey was running as the Thames lapped the tracks and flooded the riverbank houses. With climate change this wild weather is a sign of things to come and while the flooded fields looked strangely beautiful and peaceful, for the people affected it must be devastating.
After supping in one of those gastro pubs that aren't really pubs, the Real Ale CAMRA Rebels sniffed out the squat ugly building across the road that houses The Marlow British Legion club. Now I’m not too fussed about real ales and I’ve never been into a British Legion club but what a warm welcome we received as they signed us in, chatted about football and recommended ales. If this place don't tick all the boxes of what a community pub should be I don't know what does. Chatting to the management committee you also realised that they had the vision to make sure the place could adapt, with their beer festival and other events keeping the punters coming, to make sure it survives the relentless closure of our community spaces (and have you noticed that its always the village pub where residents meet and organise when floods and disasters strike – what happens when there isn't one?).
Next up was Shoreham. Thanks to another Rebels wash out I decided to make the trip to one of my favourite Sussex clubs. It seemed the right thing to do, as a group of fans from Hertha Berlin in Germany were coming to watch their game against Rye United. When they found out Shoreham played in the same colours and were formed in the same year as Hertha they decided to adopt them as their second club.
Shoreham certainty rolled out the blue carpet to their new found friends with a great atmosphere – although probably a little different to what the 10 German lads are used to with their 77,000 capacity stadium. They got invited into the board room and later officials joined them in a pub in Shoreham to watch the Hertha game and sink a few more beers. How could I resist a night learning about German football and chatting to Stuart Slaney Shoreham's young chairman whose passion for youth football has seen him take over the club. As he pointed out “They wanted to see a bit of UK football and fortunately instead of a Premiership or Championship team, they chose a grassroots club. One of our players got sent-off in the 90th minute and the Hertha supporters thought it was because they were shouting him encouragement to go into tackles, so they paid for his fine. They were shouting for Shoreham and it was one of the best atmospheres we have had in quite a while. We are hoping to return the favour nearer the end of the season and maybe try and get a friendly with their supporters club."
Just like the people behind Marlow British Legion, the chairman of Shoreham is savy enough to spot opportunities that come his way to make sure that the Musselmen continue to flourish. The German visit was splashed all over the local papers and Non League Paper, where he lamented "It's a shame that these supporters travelled 750 miles, but we can't get local supporters to come 500 yards to see us."
Now I’m all for keeping and respecting tradition but also realise that in a rapidly changing world of climate and lifestyle football clubs and pubs must learn to adapt if they are not only to survive but flourish. 

 

1 Comments:

Blogger stuart slaney said...

Great write up.

Cheers
Stuart Slaney
www.shorehamfc.co.uk

7:30 pm

 

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