On Saturday 23rd April 2016 the first team were fighting for their Ryman Division One North survival with other results having to go their way. A home game against already relegated Redbridge should have been a foregone conclusion but with this team, you never know. On the day a two nil home win was pretty comfortable. The scenes at the end were later described as like “a play off final”. The match finished and the players and supporters waited for news to filter through that Wroxham could only gain a point at Romford and we were a point clear of the zone. The relief was there for all to see as celebrations started on and off the pitch. The clubhouse buzzed for hours after and the realisation hit home. The reality now is that next season is a clean sheet, fresh start whatever you want to call it. The cliches abound, “we move on”. But in the cold light of day where would you rather have been on that day? Lets face it (and I´m sure people will see this as a dig), not so far away, a team that were enthralled by their own publicity just missed out on the playoff positions, I have to say which over the season they probably deserved. So where would you rather be? My point is at the end of the day, 6th or 21st, the reward in football terms is and was exactly the same. We both play in the same league next year! However on the actual day we were celebrating whilst other clubs must have been gutted that they missed out!
Is this one of those times when we say “its a funny old game”? I know deep down we all know where we would rather be, but on that day, just that day, as they say in football “I´ll take that”
So we go to the last day of the season in true Sky Sports style hoping that we can win or at least draw and other results go our way. Can we afford to rely on others, well now it’s possible because that’s exactly what we have to do. Relegation does not bare thinking about…
A defeat is a calamity, results going our way is a god send. So many times in football we have heard that phrase “your too good to go down”. Ok we ain’t really quite in the too good league but we can certainly be a better side than what we are. The evidence is there, take the AFC Sudbury away win for example and the fantastic comeback against Bury Town. It’s been a season of frustration and despair with what started off as optimism and the hope of glory! Who would have foreseen that the appointment of ex professional League winner Martin Hayes as Manager would actually take the club backwards. Many felt it was already on a sliding slope but couldn’t get any worse when promising such high hopes. Any hope of team, let alone club spirit appeared to drain away with defeat after defeat. All the comments were and general consensus was that we were playing well, some great football in fact and we will come good soon. But the rot never stopped and the roots were growing longer into the mire. It could not be doubted Hayes is a nice fella and knows his stuff but is level 4 football below his footballing ability mentality wise? The players could not respond and one by one our so called best players left and finally he realised the journey was over. No regrets all round, we gave it a go and it didn’t work. Simple. That’s football. So let’s bring us back to today. The footballs pretty much the same, the same decision making mistakes that cost us are there but the team and club spirit has changed and this gives us belief for the future. We just need this one big Saturday to go our way and we are back in the game. Fresh start and all that. We cannot rely on FA reprieves, we don’t want to rely on other results although we have to, either way we need to win to go out pride intact. In my time and my knowledge no Waltham Abbey FC team had ever been relegated until we fell out of the Ryman Premier Division in 2010, once is enough.
WAFC v Redbridge Sat 23rd April 2016 3-00pm Capershotts, Sewardstone Road, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 1NX