TT Match Preview: Slough Town by Warren Carter

Opposition interview number three sees us question Slough Town supporter Warren Carter about his newly promoted team, before Saturday’s game at Arbour Park:

Hi there Warren, thanks for chatting to TT – before we talk about the team tell us a bit about yourself and how long have you followed ‘The Rebels’?

My first match was age 11 with my dad watching Slough take on Liverpool in the youth cup final – so that’s 40 years watching the Rebels. I moved to Brighton 25 years ago and fell out of love with the game but one Saturday seeing football fans on their way to a game I got the urge again and it had to be Slough, as it feels like one big family. Not the sort you’d invite round for Christmas dinner but people you’re happy to meet up with, have a beer and a sing-song on the terraces. I’ve been writing for the programme for 12 years and put all these articles on my blog for the millions of Slough fans to read. You can peruse them here http://sloughtownsoapbox.blogspot.com/

Thanks to my eldest I’ve also got a Brighton season ticket so have to juggle watching two teams as well as supporting local non league clubs when I can get to neither.

In my day job I run a small charity for people with disabilities and kids who struggle at school and am chair of The Bevy, a community owned pub on the outskirts of Brighton.

What are your hopes and expectations for the team this season after promotion to the NLS?

We were such a car-crash of a club for so long that I’m still pinching myself that we are back at this level but last season is going to be hard to beat. We finished third with 99 points, scored 152 goals in all competitions, had a televised FA Cup Second Round match, had an unbelievable comeback at Merthyr going from 4-0 down to winning 5-4 and won an incredible 25 points from 27 in April to get us into third. And finally an 89th away goal winner at Kings Lynn to see us promoted to National League South.

I want us to become a decent NLS team while increasing our support especially attracting people from the whole Slough community which is the most mixed in the whole country.

How has your start to the season been and are you confident going into the TUFC game?

One away win, one home win, one home draw, one away defeat where apparently we should have won which is pretty good. On our day we are match for anyone, and last season we beat National League North side Gainsborough 6-0 at their place in the FA Cup first round. I’m confident that we can get something out of Saturdays game.

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FA Cup entrance for ‘The Rebels’ – photo by Gary House Photographer

Which Town players should we be looking out for this Saturday and why?

Lee Togwell for me, has climbed up the leagues with Slough and always puts in a great shift and scores the odd goal. We have a small talented squad with lots of rotation for places with plenty that can do you damage. Watch out for James Dobson’s free kicks.

Have you got the right man in charge and what sort of tactics does he employ?

We got two of the right men in charge. I can’t sing the praises of our joint managers enough, Neil Baker and Jon Underwood have transformed this club and powered us back up the leagues. They are also not shy of making unpopular decisions when it comes to moving players on. Neil being single seems to be on a permanent scouting mission – for players that is, not future wives. We play fast attractive, attacking football on a 3G pitch

Who owns the club and do they have ambitions to take the club higher up the ladder?

Our chairman Steve Easterbrook is the model chairman. Gets the job done quietly without promising the earth. He took over 10 years ago when we were facing relegation to County football. We were homeless, rudderless and going bust. If you think you’ve had it bad at Torquay picture your nearest village clubs beating you regularly in the league while enjoying laughing in your faces. Steve gradually steadied the ship without splashing the cash and you are more likely to find him serving behind the bar, cleaning the toilets or sweeping the floor than in the boardroom. But most importantly his determination finally saw us move back to Slough two seasons back. The man deserves a knighthood. Like all well run non league clubs we have some amazing volunteers who give up so much time and a well run Supporters Trust that has a big say in the running of the club.

Give us some interesting facts about the club and its history?

We must be the only team to finish 8th in the Conference (as it was then) and be relegated apparently for a lack of seats but in reality for financial irregularities. It was to be the beginning of the club coming apart at the seams and being homeless for 12 years.

Slough are nicknamed the Rebels after leading a breakaway movement to form a new league, the Corinthian League, after the Second World War. Not to be misheard as The Revels, after the towns Mars Bar factory which churns out everyone’s favourite chocolate bars.

We’ve never reached the 3rd round of the FA Cup, losing in the second round 8 times. Apparently a record but not one anyone likes to shout about.

Arbour Park – photo by Gary House Photographer

Tell us about Arbour Park, what’s the ground like, what attendances do you get and how’s the atmosphere at games?

It’s a new ground with a fantastic stand where you view the game and enjoy a pint and watch the football. The terraces are a bit to shallow for my liking but we have cover behind both goals. After a telling off from our managers the atmosphere massively improved home and away at the end of last season. We have sold 400 season tickets (at just £150 a pop if bought before the end of July) and had 866 at the opening game of the season and over 600 on a Tuesday night.

The Yellow Army will be there in force to support TUFC, which pubs near the ground are the best options for pre-match refreshments?

I recommend the Wheatsheaf, a tidy backstreet pub behind Slough High Street that shows football and supports the club through advertising and matchday Supporters Trust discount on beers. It’s a 20 minute walk to the ground but cabs in Slough are cheap. Let them know your coming and they will probably sort out food for you. I might even buy you a pint (unless there’s a coach full of you).

And finally, what are your thoughts on TUFC entering the NLS and give us a match prediction?

When people ask me what league Slough are playing in now, their eyes widen when I say the same as Torquay. Good for us, but probably not so glamorous for you. 2-2

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Manny Williams scoring Slough’s Play-Off Final winner – by Gary House Photographer

Terrific stuff Warren, sounds like Slough Town are a team on the up and it could be an entertaining game on Saturday. I’ll agree with you and plump for a draw – 1-1. Many thanks for talking to us and good luck for the rest of the season, also thanks to Gary House Photography for the brilliant pics – Dom

*This interview, plus Dom Roman discussing TUFC are both included in the official match programme this Saturday.


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