Football: Rebels united in the cause of survival

NON-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK

AT THE end of last season, the supporters of Slough Town had high hopes for the coming campaign. Their team had finished in eighth place in the Conference and had reached the semi-finals of the FA Umbro Trophy.

"There was a real belief that we would do well this season," Janice Raycroft, the spokeswoman for the Supporters' Association committee, said yesterday. "We really thought it would be us or Rushden for the Conference title this year." What happened in the summer, though, put paid to all those dreams.

At their annual general meeting in June, Conference clubs were shocked to learn that Slough had declared themselves unable to fulfil their fixtures this season, and they were left with no option but to vote the Rebels, as the Berkshire side are known, out of the league.

Slough had got into this state largely because of a poor relationship between the club's chairman at the time, Alan Thorne (once of Millwall), his son and influential vice-chairman, Byron Thorne, and the owners of their Wexham Park stadium, Slough Borough Council. Essential ground improvements required by the Conference were not done and, with future funding looking unlikely, it seemed the club might fold.

The Thornes have now been replaced, though, by a consortium headed by the new chairman, Jonathan Freese, who has business interests in shipping and oil. The takeover was only completed, however, 10 days before Slough were due to kick off the new campaign in the Premier Division of the Ryman League - which had accepted them following their demotion from the Conference.

The new owners brought in Alan Brazil, the former Ipswich Town and Scotland striker who is now a television pundit, as the director of football and Roy Merryweather, the highly experienced former manager of Wokingham Town, as the commercial director and a team consultant. When they arrived they found a staff of just four players: two goalkeepers plus the left-back Paul Hardyman, once of Portsmouth, Bristol Rovers and Sunderland, and the club's Football in the Community officer Mark Fiore, a left-winger previously with Wimbledon and Plymouth.

Merryweather and Brazil hastily rounded up some new players, held a two- day training session the weekend before the Ryman League was due to start, and arranged one pre-season friendly, a 2-1 defeat to Hayes, in which virtually anyone who turned up was given a game.

Amazingly, Slough secured a 1-0 win at Sutton United in their first Premier Division fixture. They remained unbeaten until their fifth league match, last Saturday's 2-0 reverse at Walton and Hersham, and currently occupy sixth place in the table.

Hardyman has now taken charge of team affairs as head coach. "Paul has done an excellent job in motivating the players," Merryweather said yesterday. "The start to the season has been a lot better than we expected - our main priority was just to get a team out on to the pitch." These Rebels, it seems, are not without a cause.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable