Flicking through my twitter the other day and I came across a post from an old team mate Ian Spring. It jogged the memory bank of Sunday football days gone by when I first started playing adult football at the club. We started as a CB football team as we had a thriving club in Waltham Abbey called the Ghost Town Breakers. Every week we would meet at the community centre in the Crooked Mile and then laterly if my memory serves me correct at the Football Club. My brother got us use of the Johnson Matthey works ground in Brimsdown and we started playing friendlies known as Matthey Citizens. In reality we were pretty crap but we loved it and at that age I guess we thought we were the boll*x. It was not long before ex Club Secretary John “Charlie” May invited us to come and play Sundays down at the Abbey and would get us in the Sunday League. He used to referee our games and knew that my brother and Keith Hutchins, who ran Matthey, didnt get on. We took up the invite and were proud as punch when we won our first two games 7-0 (Edmonton Green) and 4-0 (TPA) in Junior Division Four. I remember the paper said we were ” cock a hoop”. If my memory also serves me correct, I dont think we won another game that season! Still we had some great laughs along the way. I recall playing a team called Tower Hamlets in the Essex Cup at Capershotts early on. No way was we going to win this game but strangely enough we did, winning 2-0 at Capershotts. It was Ian Spring who inspired me to write this article as I recalled he scored an absolute ping of a goal with a strike that gave the keeper no chance. Now not knowing what Ian looks like these days, (until seeing his twitter profile) at the time he was about (seemingly) four foot tall, no neck and basically was a circle. But boy could he strike a ball. Ask him to run around and then that was a different matter. Two funny things happened in the game that were stand out had to be there moments. A player was jumping up and down in front of Charlie May (who was now playing for us) as he took a throw in. Charlie threw the ball straight in his face. Naturally we cracked up as the player fell like a ninepin and claret splattered all over his white Tower Hamlets shirt. The other moment was when a Hamlets player called the ref a See You En Tee. Charlie turned around a said to the ref “did you hear that”? “what”? said the ref. “he just called you a cunt” “who did?” “him”. Come here player, within seconds the fella was shown a red card and turned to curse at Charlie as he walked off. “you wanker, you got me sent off” Charlie said “well I didnt call him a cunt did I!”. We were pissing ourselves, one of the funniest things I´ve ever seen and heard on a football pitch! We lost 1-3 at home in the next round as we embarked on our losing streak throughout the season. I think it was 82-83 that season, no doubt I will look it up one day.
Did you play that day or have a sunday memory from the Abbey? Would love you to leave a comment.
Sat 13th August 2016 and the Ryman League has the big kick off whilst all the talk is about the FA Premier League. Millions of pounds spent across the country and yet one big transfer fee would transform a whole set of lower league clubs in one go. Somehow that always grinds me and doesnt seem right. Well anyway once again due to work commitments I will miss the opening day and for a few weeks yet, up until around second week in October to be almost precise. Its these times when I pray for a good FA Cup and Trophy draw and hope that we are still in at least one when I get back. Anyone who is a football fan also knows that emptiness of the close season, itching for the leagues to start and usually get bathed in sunshine on the first day. It was almost the same on Cup Final day, the sun always shone over Wembley and you didnt need the Met Office! Today Waltham Abbey travel to Bury Town in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk and Im particulary peaved as I always enjoy my visits there. Having met Chairman Russell Ward and his lovely wife Karen at the Ryman League presentation night a few years back, I´d like to say we have become friends and we always put the world of football to rights after the match over a beer or two. Next week I will be fretting over the home match with Bowers and Pitsea whome we play in the FA Cup early round. the FA Cup at our level is always a big game for me. Not only can it bring much needed money into the club but in my eyes its more about the publicity it can bring to the club and the town. Apart from a magnificent church and an old mate called King Harold reputedly buried here, what else can heap publicity on the town like the FA Cup? A run to the first round would be a magnificent achievement and make people sit up and notice. Thats why I fret early part of the season. I didnt have to worry too much last year, we lost 1-0 to Welwyn Garden City in the first effort. Not a good year. So for today, good luck to all sides who are about to set out trying to achive their dreams. Remember there are always more losers than winners in football, buy hey now and again please, let us have a slice! See ya soon.
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
Back in the 90’s I used to have a site called Capershotts.com. It was all about the history of Waltham Abbey Football Club and not current stuff. I had started to build the site mainly to post old memories of times at the Abbey and try to gain interest from people in the town, old players, fans etc and generally friends who had some great times in the 70’s and 80’s. Due to an error on my part this site was lost but recently I managed to find some old files on computer and think I may just be able to recover them. Also with the advent of new technology it looks like its even easier now to build decent websites and get up and running pretty quick. Now I’m not saying this one is going to be quick, by any means, but I’m going to try and make an effort to place as much of my old stuff online as possible, its about time. So if you have stumbled upon this site, thanks for looking, over the next few weeks it will take shape.