Sport Walthamstow

A disappointing end to Stow’s season

David O’Driscoll reflects on Walthamstow FC’s failed bid for promotion

Walthamstow FC fans cheer on the team (credit Andrzej Perkins)
Walthamstow FC fans cheer on the team (credit Andrzej Perkins)

Being a fan of any football team necessarily involves dealing with disappointment when your club loses but, to my mind, the fans of some teams can seem ill-equipped to weather this challenge. There is sometimes an outpouring of anger, rage and hatred at the stadium and, even more so, online. This means it was a refreshing change to see the gracious way Walthamstow fans dealt with a disappointing end to the season.

Walthamstow FC’s shot at promotion ended on 26th April, when the team lost three-one in the play-off semi-final to Didcot Town, who went on to win the final and advance to the next league. It was undeniably disappointing after the extraordinary run the team had had in their journey to the play-offs. Speaking after the game, manager Nicky Ironton suggested the loss may have been partly due to the number of injured players, arguing the players “gave their all [but] just ran out of legs”.

“We just had so many injuries at the end: five played injured against Didcot and five were not available due to injury,” Nicky said, arguing the team were disadvantaged by seven postponed games, which meant playing catch-up in March and April.

“We had three games in March and nine in April. That put us miles behind the other teams and it caught up with us, otherwise we would have definitely won the playoffs.”

However, Nicky remained philosophical despite the sting of falling at almost the last hurdle, adding: “It’s all experience for the boys.”

Next season, the manager is keen to keep the current team together, potentially with one or two additions, and is relishing the opportunity to have another shot at promotion.

“I am confident the club is moving in the right direction,” he told me, so much so that he has signed a two-year deal to stay with the club. It’s news that has delighted club chairman Andy Perkins, who said he can now “enjoy [his] summer”.

The new season will start at the beginning of August, with the Stow playing in Isthmian Division One North after a restructuring of the various leagues, done to minimise the amount of travelling required. For the Rabble, however, it looks like it could entail trips even further afield, with games in Basildon, Thurrock, Stowmarket, Lowestoft and Ipswich.

However, Walthamstow FC will still have a few more local games against its old rivals, Redbridge and Enfield. I am sure Stow fans can approach the next season with confidence and the hope of an even better result next time.

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