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STFC Club History

Club History
by Nathan on 06/07/2003

A history of Slough Town Football Club from foundation in 1890 to the present day.

Slough Town FC Club History

The Early Years & Slough United

The original Slough Football Club were formed in 1889 as the product of a merger between Slough Albion and the Young Mens' Friendly Society. The club played one match in the Hennessey Cup in 1889 before joining the Southern Alliance in 1890.

In 1921, Slough joined the Spartan League and competed in this competition until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. During this period, Slough had their player, Alec Grant selected to play for England against France in Paris, becoming the Club's first full international. It was also in the twenties and thirties that E.J. Norris set the Club's all time goalscoring record, notching up a staggering 343 goals in 224 appearances.

They had been runners-up in the Great Western Suburban League in 1919/20 and in the Spartan League in 1920/21, 1921/22, 1931/32, 1932/33 and 1938/39.

The thirties saw considerable upheaval after six players were deemed to be professional by the FA and banned from playing amateur football. The ironic thing is that this was merely down to poor book keeping on behalf of the Club.

Shortly after this, the Club foolishly turned-down the opportunity to buy their Dolphin Stadium (click here for a map) from George Bennett, the landowner. This had repercussions for the Club in many ways. Not least of these was the fact that the Greyhound Racing Authority took over the lease of the ground and the Football Club were relegated to tenant status.

The outbreak of war three years later and the enforced blackouts forced Greyhound racing to be held on Saturday afternoons and left the Football Club without a home. The Club spent a little time playing at the Cricket Club (click here for a map) in Chalvey Road before moving in with Maidenhead United at York Road (click here for a map).

In 1943, Slough Centre FC moved to the newly built Centre Stadium in Belfast Road (click here for a map) and invited Slough FC to join them in a merger to become Slough United FC The first match at the Centre saw United demolish St Albans 7-0. The merger signalled a new period of success for Slough.

The arrangement only lasted four seasons but, during that time, United played against some of the top amateur sides in the country. They started in the Herts & Middlesex League, finishing as runners-up one season and third place in the other before moving into the newly formed Corinthian League.

Their first season in the Corinthian League saw them finish as runners up to Grays Athletic and also reach the 1st Round proper of the FA Cup. The following season, they repeated their runners up place, losing out to Walton & Hersham and bowing out of the FA Cup at the 2nd Qualifying Round stage.

The decision to abandon the Spartan League in favour of the Corinthian League earned the Club the nickname "The Rebels", a nickname adopted by Slough Town after United split again into its component parts in 1947.

No Longer United

The first season after the split, the Rebels only managed a lowly 13th place in the Corinthian League. They showed some improvement in the following two seasons, finishing in 6th and 8th place, and beating their former colleagues of Slough Centre in the FA Cup in 1949/50.

However, it was in 1950/51 that the Rebels first made their mark in amateur football, winning the Corinthian League for the first time.

Despite increasing their points total by three the following season, they were only able to achieve a third place finish and something of a lean spell ensued with a 10th and 13th place finish in 1952/53 and 1953/54 and only a losing FA Amateur Cup Quarter-Final appearance against Pegasus in 1952/53 to look back on.

The Rebels managed two 4th place finishes in 1954/55 and 1955/56 and a 6th place in 1956/57 before securing the runners-up slot in 1957/58, missing out to near-neighbours, Maidenhead United. 3rd place was secured the following season and a disappointing 7th in 1959/60 but in 1960/61, the Rebels suffered their worst season to date, finishing 16th out of 16 teams in the Corinthian League.

Wembley & The Athenian Years

8th place was secured for the next two seasons and the Rebels then switched to the newly enlarged Athenian League on the abolition of the Corinthian League.

Their first season in the Athenian League's 1st Division saw a respectable 5th place and this was bettered in some style when the Rebels took the Division 1 title in 1964/65, losing only three matches and scoring 81 goals in 30 games! The following season, the Rebels managed to take 8th place in the Athenian League Premier Division and went one better to finish 7th in 1966/67. There was disappointment in the FA Amateur Cup though, with the Rebels losing at Skelmersdale United in a Quarter-Final replay.

The Rebels won the Athenian League Premier in 1967/68, scoring an incredible 93 goals and losing only 2 matches. They were runners-up the following season and again lost at Skelmersdale United in an FA Amateur Cup Quarter-Final replay.

They managed 4th and 3rd places in the following seasons and reached the Semi-Final of the FA Amateur Cup for the first time, beating Aveley at Mill Field in the Quarter Final and holding Dagenham to a 3-3 draw at The Valley before bowing out 2-1 at Craven Cottage in the replay. They also made the second round proper of the FA Cup, losing 1-0 at home to Barnet.

The Rebels took the Athenian League title in both 1971/72 and 1972/73 and came agonisingly close to completing a memorable "double", losing 1-0 to Walton & Hersham in the FA Amateur Cup final at Wembley Stadium in front of 41,000 spectators thanks to a last minute goal after defeating amateur giants, Blyth Spartans and Bishops Stortford on their way to the final.

Tight Shorts & The Isthmian League

1973/74 saw the Rebels join the newly formed Isthmian League Division 2 where they were runners-up to Dagenham. They were promoted with the Daggers to the 1st Division and finished 9th in their first season in the top-flight. The last match of the season saw a single goal enough to beat Horsham in the final match ever to be held at The Dolphin Stadium. With the Dolphin destined to become a supermarket, the Rebels moved to Wexham Park Stadium.

The next few seasons saw them maintain a midtable position before romping to the Isthmian League title in 1980/81. They also made the 2nd Round proper of the FA Cup in 1979/80, losing by the only goal to Yeovil Town at Huish. There was more disappointment in the FA Trophy where the Rebels made it as far as the Semi-Finals in 1976/77, losing 6-2 on aggregate to Dagenham. However, they did win the Isthmian League Cup in 1975/76 and 1980/81 when they also won the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup for the tenth time.

Finishing in 8th and 7th in 1981/82 and 1982/83, the Rebels again made the 2nd Round proper of the FA Cup, losing 4-1 to Bishops Stortford at Wexham Park after a memorable 1-0 win over Third Division Millwall.

The following season saw the Rebels finish 3rd behind Harrow Borough and Worthing but they only managed 14th place in 1984/85 and 6th in 1985/86. The latter of these seasons also saw another FA Cup 2nd Round proper appearance with the Rebels holding Leyton Orient to a 2-2 draw at Brisbane Road before bowing out 3-2 in the replay.

They made the 2nd Round again the following year, losing 3-0 against Swansea City at Vetch Field and came third in the Isthmian League, behind Wycombe Wanderers and Yeovil Town. The Rebels showed amazing consistency, taking third place for the next two seasons, firstly behind Yeovil Town and Bromley and then behind Leytonstone Ilford and Farnborough Town.

The Isthmian Title & The Conference

The 1989/90 season saw the Rebels pip Wokingham Town to the Isthmian League title and gain promotion to the Conference for the first time in their history. The FA Cup saw disappointment though when the Rebels made it to the 1st Round proper, only to lose at home to Woking.

The first two seasons in the Conference saw the Rebels struggle to avoid the drop, finishing 19th in 1990/91 and 20th in 1991/92. Despite finishing in the relegation places, they were reprieved by the Football League's increase in numbers. They made the FA Cup 1st Round proper in 1991/92, losing 2-1 to Reading in a replay at Elm Park.

They finished in an excellent 5th place in 1992/93 and again made the 1st Round proper of the FA Cup, this time losing to Colchester United at Layer Road.

During 1993, the Club was bought by Alan Thorne, former chairman of Millwall and Dave Kemp was appointed as manager.

The following season, they could only manage a 21st place finish and were relegated back into the Isthmian League Premier Division but they again made the 1st Round proper of the FA Cup, losing to Torquay United at Wexham Park.

1994/95 saw the Rebels bounce straight back into the Conference, finishing as runners-up to Enfield in the Isthmian League. Slough were promoted due to Enfield's inability to go up. This season saw yet another FA Cup 1st Round exit to a league side, this time falling 4-0 to Birmingham City in a home match switched to St. Andrews.

Again, the Rebels failed to make much of an impact on the Conference and 17th and 16th place finishes were achieved in 1995/96 and 1996/97. The first of these seasons saw the Rebels lose out to league opposition in the FA Cup 1st Round proper for an incredible 5th successive year with them losing 2-0 to Plymouth Argyle at Wexham Park.

Seats & Controversy

Controversy struck the Rebels in 1997/98 when, despite finishing in a creditable 8th place in the Conference, they were ejected from the league. The Rebels had completed an excellent season, reaching the Semi-Finals of the FA Trophy for the second time where they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Southport and holding Cardiff City to a 1-1 draw at Wexham Park in the FA Cup 1st Round before bowing out of the competition 3-2 in the replay at Ninian Park.

Following a long period of dispute between the Club and the Council, Chairman, Alan Thorne, resigned his chairmanship of the Club. His son elected not to install the additional 49 seats required by the Conference. He went on to sack manager, Brian McDermott and placed the entire playing squad on the transfer list.

There is much dispute as to the real reasons for Slough's ejection from the Conference. Whilst the official reason is the issue of the seats, there has been much talk that there were severe financial irregularities at the Club and that these were the real reason for the Conference expelling the Rebels.

August 13th 1998 saw a new consortium take over the Club, only nine days before the start of the 1998/99 season. With former Scottish international, Alan Brazil installed as Director of Football, things looked promising for the Rebels.

1998/99 saw the Rebels yet again in the 1st Round of the FA Cup, this time losing to Division 2 side, Macclesfield Town in an amazing penalty shootout at Wexham Park after a 2-2 draw at Moss Rose. The League saw them finish 11th.

The 1999/00 season showed a little improvement on League form with the Rebels finishing 9th but all was not well at Wexham Park and repeated financial crises were beginning to take their toll on the Rebels and the 2000/01 season saw the Rebels drop out of the Isthmian Premier League, finishing 20th.

Finding themselves in the Isthmian League Division 1, the Rebels failed to make much of an impact on the league despite their large budget and having been installed as pre-season favourites. They finished in 8th place.

The 2002/03 season saw the Isthmian League reorganise divisions 1 and 2 and The Rebels participated in the Isthmian League Division 1 North and, despite showing some signs of challenging, failed to take one of the two promotion places. The FA Cup saw the Rebels reach the 1st Round proper, but they were surprised by Harrogate Railway Athletic at Wexham Park after having beaten Isthmian Premier sides, Hampton & Richmond Borough and Canvey Island in earlier rounds.

Wexham Park & The Future

The future is somewhat uncertain at the moment for the Rebels. The situation with their Wexham Park ground (left) means that a ground share with Windsor & Eton will see the Rebels start their 2003/04 season at Stag Meadow, although it is by no means certain that Wexham Park has seen its last ever Slough Town match.

Chairman, Martyn Deaner, is reported to be attempting to negotiate a deal that will see the Rebels return to Wexham Park in the near future, but nobody appears to be saying much.

Manager Steve Brown stepped down at the end of the 2002/03 season and has now joined Boreham Wood, taking a large number of the Rebels' squad with him.

In the long term, it can only be hoped that a new permanent home can be found within Slough for the Club and that a new Football League standard ground can be built.

In the interim, the Slough fans will need to travel some distance to watch the boys in amber and blue.

Eddie Denton took over as manager at the beginning of season 2003/04, and despite a shaky start to the season, managed to secure fourth position in the Ryman League division One South and "promotion" to the Ryman Premier Division.

The 2004/05 season has to be arguably one of the best in the club's recent history. Despite a league finish of only 13th, Slough managed to reach the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Cup, having beaten League One side Walsall out of the competition in the 1st Round. They also reached the 5th Round of the FA Trophy and won the Bryco (Isthmian) League Cup.

Slough spent much of the 2005/06 season hovering in and around the relegation zone, but secured their safety with a few games to spare. The Semi-Finals of both the Westview (Isthmian) League Cup and Berks & Bucks Cup were reached.

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