Baker And Slough Hope To Be Box Office Hits Next Season

Slough Town’s Neil Baker saw the question coming quite some time before it was asked.

“Yes, and I absolutely love it,” the joint manager said. “So you can understand what an honour it is to be branch manager here!”

He’s not talking football. You say Slough to most ardent comedy fans and there’s only one thing they think of.

“The Office has cult status in my house, it should have everywhere. I’m a huge fan.

“But do you know what, it’s it nice to have Slough Town finally on the map for something other than David Brent and Wernham Hogg.”

Baker runs the Rebels alongside lifelong friend Jon Underwood and the pair guided the club into the National League Sough via the Southern League play-offs last season.

So who’s the Brent and who’s the Gareth Keenan in this partnership?

“I’m not answering that!” he laughs. “We do everything together. There’s no assistant, or assistant to the manager!

“We’ve always done it this way and we like to think we’re a good team.

“Last season we had our big FA Cup game against Rochdale and BT Sport roped in Big Keith with his Scotched egg for a sketch.

“We’ll always be where The Office was created. Good job I love it so much and will talk to anyone about it all day.”

If you have got no idea what we’re talking about, you won’t be alone.

But there’s excitement building in Slough, back in the town after a long exile and finally back moving up the Pyramid.

It’s always the big question in the summer after a promotion. Does a manager stick with and reward the players than did so well, or do they recognise the step up needs reinforcements?

“They all deserve their chance,” he said.

“It’s a learning curve in a lot of ways. It’s not blind loyalty. We have decided not to bring many new players in because we think the squad here is good enough.

“They are of a good age. I would say the average age is 25, maybe 26 and that suits us down to the ground.

“It’s not too old and not too young. Not too inexperience but players with the freshness and the drive to really go on.

“You have got to go out and learn what it means to win games at this level. It’s a step up.

“We have kept all-but one of last season’s squad which I think sends out the right message.

“Also it shows that once you are a player here you don’t want to leave. Most managers lose players and the vultures circle after a good season but we have kept everyone together.

“We have signed two so far, there may be another one to come, maybe two further down the line but I think we are very comfortable with what we have done.”

But do Slough have promotion ambitions again?

“Absolutely,” Baker adds. “We don’t want to run before we can walk and make predictions, but we don’t see why we can’t settle into our new league well.

“The support is great and it’s just so great to say we are a National League club again.”

Slough Town are back. Fact.

PHOTOS BY ALAN PALMER

Where next?

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