Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

A new season for Stow FC

Walthamstow FC super-fan David O'Driscoll on the season ahead

Hero for A new season for Stow FC
Stow FC took home the ESL trophy last season (credit: David O'Driscoll)
07 July 2022

As most football fans will testify, each new season brings with it a fresh burst of anticipation and hope. This is particularly true for the rabble supporting Walthamstow FC following their extraordinary success last season, when they won the Essex league at a canter by over ten points. Stow's success generated much interest and pride in the local community, causing an influx of new fans to the stands, and also means the team are now playing in the Southern League for the first time in 16 years.As most football fans will testify, each new season brings with it a fresh burst of anticipation and hope. This is particularly true for the rabble supporting Walthamstow FC following their extraordinary success last season, when they won the Essex league at a canter by over ten points. Stow's success generated much interest and pride in the local community, causing an influx of new fans to the stands, and also means the team are now playing in the Southern League for the first time in 16 years.

The league comprises twenty teams and is sponsored by Pitching, a "grassroots sports investment programme". This promotion means Stow FC is now eligible for the FA Trophy and will be in the FA Cup with a qualifying round in the early season. The team will be reconnecting with several opponents they have faced over the years - like Welwyn Garden City, Harlow, Ware and Hertford - and face some long trips to Dunstable and in particular, Cirencester Town, 200 miles away.The league comprises twenty teams and is sponsored by Pitching, a "grassroots sports investment programme". This promotion means Stow FC is now eligible for the FA Trophy and will be in the FA Cup with a qualifying round in the early season. The team will be reconnecting with several opponents they have faced over the years - like Welwyn Garden City, Harlow, Ware and Hertford - and face some long trips to Dunstable and in particular, Cirencester Town, 200 miles away.

Andy Perkins, club chairman, is delighted to be back in the Southern League, "playing against new teams and old friends". He said Walthamstow FC plans to start announcing new signings in the next couple of weeks and hinted that there are “some very exciting prospects on the way”. He was also particularly delighted to announce that co-managers John Mackie and Terry Spillane, having steered the team so well last season, “have agreed to stay on to spearhead the next promotion push".Andy Perkins, club chairman, is delighted to be back in the Southern League, "playing against new teams and old friends". He said Walthamstow FC plans to start announcing new signings in the next couple of weeks and hinted that there are “some very exciting prospects on the way”. He was also particularly delighted to announce that co-managers John Mackie and Terry Spillane, having steered the team so well last season, “have agreed to stay on to spearhead the next promotion push".

I caught up with Terry, who was thrilled with the new deal for himself and his fellow manager, and set out an impressive target for the team. "We aim to be one of the fittest squads in the league,” he told me, “To give ourselves the best chance of reaching our target of the playoffs.”I caught up with Terry, who was thrilled with the new deal for himself and his fellow manager, and set out an impressive target for the team. "We aim to be one of the fittest squads in the league,” he told me, “To give ourselves the best chance of reaching our target of the playoffs.”

He added: “We are really looking forward to the new season. We have already released some players that played a part and helped us win the ESL title, which is always a difficult job to do, but we've also agreed new deals with the spine of the team and a majority of the winning squad."He added: “We are really looking forward to the new season. We have already released some players that played a part and helped us win the ESL title, which is always a difficult job to do, but we've also agreed new deals with the spine of the team and a majority of the winning squad."

Other than the signings Andy hinted at, Terry said they had filled some of the gaps left by departing players by promoting younger footballers who had excelled in the reserve team. These new additions will be put to the test by a vigorous pre-season training schedule, including friendly fixtures with “good strong clubs” expected to give them “a stern test”. This includes a fixture that the local football community should relish: a home derby against Leyton Orient on 26th July.Other than the signings Andy hinted at, Terry said they had filled some of the gaps left by departing players by promoting younger footballers who had excelled in the reserve team. These new additions will be put to the test by a vigorous pre-season training schedule, including friendly fixtures with “good strong clubs” expected to give them “a stern test”. This includes a fixture that the local football community should relish: a home derby against Leyton Orient on 26th July.

There is no doubt that the joy of football, as TS Eliot once wrote, "pierce you with a sudden painful joy" and Walthamstow FC certainly provided many such moments last season. Let's hope that the local community will get behind the team as they endeavour to create a few more.There is no doubt that the joy of football, as TS Eliot once wrote, "pierce you with a sudden painful joy" and Walthamstow FC certainly provided many such moments last season. Let's hope that the local community will get behind the team as they endeavour to create a few more.