Previously Posted on my old site, this will have a make over soon as its well out of date.
“Capershotts” The Ground
Capershotts, the ground is believed to have first hosted football back in 1944. A team known as Waltham Abbey Youth Club appeared on the site and began to play its matches there. The origin of the name “Capershotts” is unclear and there are a couple of theories put forward by Waltham Abbey historians. One being that the plot of land when mapped or viewed from the air, was originally in the shape of a ‘Cape’. It is not known if the area was covered with trees at one time, as the more likely explanation of Shotts being such an area would tend to be more appropriate. Stoneyshotts is an area in Waltham Abbey which could probably bear testament to this in times gone by.
During the 1950’s and early 60’s the ground was surrounded by sloping banks on two sides which were eventually made into allotment areas. These were alongside the ground on one side and behind the far goal. This end, (now Elm Close) was surrounded by the old Rochford nursery greenhouse buildings. These stretched the length of the now urbanised Rochford Avenue which was built in the 1960’s. The 50’s also saw the first clubhouse being built. The concrete building consisted of a large area, a small bar area, one store room and a players bath. The site of this building can still be seen today next to the existing clubhouse on the left side. The concrete base is still there and now forms part of the beer garden that was made in the early 2000’s. In the 1990’s the building became unsafe due to age and constant vandalism and was eventually pulled down and cleared.
1954 saw the arrival of the first spectator stand midway along the river side of the ground. Over the years the old corrugated sheeted and wooden stand developed a curiosity of not being parallel to the actual pitch that had moved slightly following the arrival of allotments and fencing. In the 1980’s the old girl finally gave up the ghost and collapsed overnight in a storm. Fortunately no spectators were queuing for a forthcoming match! Soon after Waltham Abbey Town Council came to the rescue with a generous grant that enabled a safer brick built stand to rise from the ashes. Still however curiously at an angle to the pitch.
1984 brought a welcome addition with the completion of the existing changing room pavilion. The £20.000 development was built mainly by volunteer club members who worked tirelessly for a few pints reward. In 1984 the construction of the M25 also took place and this was a welcome godsend for the club. Temporary membership was given to the Irish black top boys, who apart from drinking copious amounts of alcohol, dug a trench from the clubhouse to the changing rooms in return for the club’s hospitality. This allowed for the utilities to finally reach the building. The changing rooms were not without set backs however as numerous plumbing problems beset the building for many years after.
The concrete path around the pitch was also steadily laid during the eighties and completed, along with a path across the training ground between the pitch and the clubhouse.
Floodlights were the next feature to hit Capershotts at the end of the 80’s. In 1989 Joe Collins secured a deal with Walthamstow Avenue who were now defunct and selling the assets of their Green Pond Road ground. Again volunteer members worked tirelessly in removing the lights from Green Pond Road and bringing them to Capershotts. The club originally bought all 8 pylons, but with advice decided on erecting only the present four. The changing face of technology did not see the need to put up 8 in this day and age. The pylons were painstakingly renovated and began to take shape. However, once again the club suffered a set back. The erection of the two riverside pylons saw the crane sink into the Capershotts pitch deeply. Two home fixtures were quickly postponed. These lights quickly transformed the outlook of the club and more progression was soon sought. It also allowed for entry into more prestigious competitions such as the FA Cup and various others. The first match under lights came in the form of a Middlesex charity Cup match. Rayners Lane were the visitors and the match ended 2-2. Mickey Smith became the first Waltham Abbey player to score under the glare of the lights. The lights were honoured to have an official opening with Crystal Palace FC being the midweek visitors. The club was indebted to Steve Coppell for sending a side down that included Gareth Southgate and Andy Gray. Not surprisingly Palace ran up a 6-0 win on a great night for the club. At the end of the 1991-92 season the pitch was then dug up and re-levelled by Joe Collins and well known local digger driver Paddy Steadman. The following season became a nightmare as the ground failed to settle quickly under the deluge of rain and the team were forced to play many of their opening matches away from home. However it settled eventually and the team returned home for the visit of Amersham Town in 1992-93.