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.
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.
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.
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?).
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.
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
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."
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