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?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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: Parts Sales Advisor - OTE 18k-23k

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of Ford's leading Parts Who...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to learn ...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Lead

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading providers of w...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders