Slough prepare for Gillingham in FA Cup, quietly confident of good day at the Office


In a town more renowned for the hit TV show The Office, numerous multinational companies; including Lego, and being a stone’s throw away from Windsor Castle, the football team are making their own building blocks towards a potential FA cup 3rd round place.

Ranked as the third lowest team left in the competition, only Guiseley and Southport rank lower, they are seen as huge underdogs, but there is a quiet confidence exuding from within the bowels of Arbour Park, the home of Slough Town.

They are used to that. They overcame National League Sutton United, a division and change above them at the second attempt, having drawn 0-0 at Gander Green Lane and 1-1 at home, where they were nine minutes from elimination before a James Dobson free kick somehow penetrated the Sutton wall.

Slough went on to win a penalty shoot out 8-7, in which both keepers scored penalties.

Gillingham FC of League One make the trip on Sunday expecting to progress while the players, supporters and staff of the Rebels hope to create their own piece of history.

It will be tough for Slough, League One’s top scorer, Tom Eaves, is in Gillingham’s ranks. Gillingham as recently as 2005 were playing in the Championship and in the year 2000 they reached the quarter finals of the FA cup, suffering a defeat at star studded Chelsea who featured former world player of the year George Weah and the mercurial Gianfranco Zola.

However they are languishing in 19th position in League One approaching the halfway point of the season having suffered three straight league defeats.

George Wells beats Sutton keeper Ross Worner to put Slough through to the 2nd round 8-7 on penalties
Photo: Paul Loughlin / Sutton United FC

Their victory in the last round of the FA cup was against National League side Hartlepool and they required extra time to see off lower league opposition. This will give the underdogs hope.

Slough are progressive.

Reaching the second round of the FA Cup last year as well as gaining promotion to National League South through the playoffs, they are a team with momentum. Their form has been good since promotion. This is already their 6th tie in the FA Cup this season which is as many as Premier League clubs will be playing if they win the trophy.

Slough Town physiotherapist Alex Moore also worked for the Cascadia national squad at ConIFA.  He feels his team are in good shape declaring that ‘One of the main aims was to have a fully fit squad for the FA cup tie.’ They will be hopeful to make club history and reach the third round for the first time.

The famous poem titled ‘Slough’ by Sir John Betjeman, a protest against the industrialisation of the town, seems long forgotten.

A brand new and shiny ground was built in Slough allowing the Rebels to return home after nearly a decade away from the town.

‘There isn’t grass to graze a cow.’ Betjeman chimed and he would be right at the new stadium, playing on an artificial surface may prove to be an obstacle for the League One side where currently all sides are playing on natural surfaces.

Moore noted:

‘With the capacity of the stadium being extended it would be great to pack out Arbour Park and make it a night to remember.’

If it’s as memorable as the sitcom filmed there, the Rebels will be celebrating long in to the night as they look to overcome the three league gap between the sides.

Who know what fate awaits the winner of this tie?

They will hope for one of the big guns of the English game; Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool et al. They may even hope for a local derby with the Royals from Reading.

Either way, Slough will be proud of their achievements and the progress they have made in the world’s oldest cup competition.


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