Abi Ticehurst, our Women’s Football Correspondent launches her new interview series ‘Off the Pitch’ talking to the women of Berkshire involved in football beyond the field. First up, Slough Town Supporters Trust board member and club shop manager, Sue Shiel.
Sue’s infectious smile will be the first thing you notice as you stroll into the club shop at Arbour Park. She’s a stalwart of the matchday experience when you go to the ground having first got involved with Slough Town FC around 2002 when they were still playing at the ground in Wexham Road.
She’s the first to admit that despite being an avid Chelsea supporter she had never been to a non-league game before then, “My husband and two daughters regularly went to games and even though I enjoyed the Premier League, I decided to give it a go” and the rest is history as “since then I have never looked back”.
As she mentioned her husband and daughters are avid fans and that’s a real draw for Sue as she quips one of her favourite things about being at Slough “Is the family feeling. Running the club shop means I get to meet lots of my own supporters and many away supporters”. And that family feeling extends right from Sue across to the first team management, “We are lucky enough to have a great team of players and managers who are great with interacting with us which contributes to making it a happy place to be in.” That family feeling extends to the players and thought they may come and go, travelling with the squad means Sue often encounters them again and “its always like seeing old friends again”.
If you follow Slough on social media, you’ll be familiar with the club’s ‘One Slough’ hashtag and Sue echoes how lucky the club is to “have two ladies’ teams, numerous junior sides, and our Academy 23 team, who one their cup final last season.” The club also confirmed recently that both the Ladies and Rebels sides would join the men’s and academy’s teams for their home games at Arbour Park this season, which is important in signifying that one club mentality.
Whilst Sue is keeping the club shop ticking over, she’s also keeping up with the game in play during match days and for her the stand out moment was, “Winning the Isthmian league cup in the 2004 – 2005 season and obviously our promotion games against Kettering and Kings Lynn.” As with so many of our local sides pushing for growth and development, a ground to call their own is immensely important and Sue notes the move to Arbour Park as vital for the club in 2016 “after sharing with Windsor FC and Beaconsfield for many years”. This move was important for the club too as it meant their “games against Gillingham and Rochdale were televised by BT Sport” which was another highlight for Sue.
Of her role as Supporters Trust board member, she explains that “we meet about once a month and discuss ways we can help the club and fundraising”, they also do their best to promote the Supporters trust through shirt sponsoring at the club, “at the moment our logo and name is on the back of the home shirt at the top”. Sue dons many hats on match day, as well as club shop manager, ‘the trust board members are involved with helping out i.e coach bookings, selling 50/50 tickets, 500 club and also player sponsorship.”