Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

The rise and rise of Stow FC

Stow columnist David O'Driscoll interviews the father and son duo behind the team

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(Credit: Stow FC)
04 February 2022

It’s already a fantastic time to be a Stow FC fan - I’d argue the team is a sure fire bet for promotion and I’m told merch is doing brisk trade - but the father and son duo standing behind our squad have got their sights set even higher.It’s already a fantastic time to be a Stow FC fan - I’d argue the team is a sure fire bet for promotion and I’m told merch is doing brisk trade - but the father and son duo standing behind our squad have got their sights set even higher.

Chairman Andy Perkins took over in 2012, exactly sixty years after his father took him to watch the team for the first time, back when they were still known as Leyton. In accordance with this family tradition, Andy took his own son and communications manager Andrzej to a game when he was only a few months old. The pair seem to know the majority of their fanbase, reinforcing the club’s family-friendly feel, and are incredibly hands on - you may spot Andrzej behind the turnstiles on match days.Chairman Andy Perkins took over in 2012, exactly sixty years after his father took him to watch the team for the first time, back when they were still known as Leyton. In accordance with this family tradition, Andy took his own son and communications manager Andrzej to a game when he was only a few months old. The pair seem to know the majority of their fanbase, reinforcing the club’s family-friendly feel, and are incredibly hands on - you may spot Andrzej behind the turnstiles on match days.

Andy and his son Andrzej (credit: Stow FC)Andy and his son Andrzej (credit: Stow FC)

The club’s history before Perkins took over was somewhat chequered - a section of its Wikipedia page is simply titled “Times of struggle” - but this hasn’t humbled the pair’s ambitions. The modern Stow FC has only had a home in the area since 2013, returning to Wadham Lodge after an Ilford exile that lasted five years, but they are already determined to see it get its own stadium, which would be an amazing asset, not only for the team, but for the whole community. The club’s history before Perkins took over was somewhat chequered - a section of its Wikipedia page is simply titled “Times of struggle” - but this hasn’t humbled the pair’s ambitions. The modern Stow FC has only had a home in the area since 2013, returning to Wadham Lodge after an Ilford exile that lasted five years, but they are already determined to see it get its own stadium, which would be an amazing asset, not only for the team, but for the whole community.

The Perkins tell me they have “identified land in the borough that has been earmarked just for sports use” where a purpose-built home could go and are “confident” they could raise the money required, thanks to links with local businesses and grant opportunities. I am sure I speak for many - even non-Stow fans - in wanting to see such an exciting development materialise, particularly at a time when so many local football pitches have been lost or are under threat. What this will rely on, however, is “wider support” from Waltham Forest Council, although father and son tell me they’ve been in touch with MP Stella Creasy, in the hopes she can put in a good word.The Perkins tell me they have “identified land in the borough that has been earmarked just for sports use” where a purpose-built home could go and are “confident” they could raise the money required, thanks to links with local businesses and grant opportunities. I am sure I speak for many - even non-Stow fans - in wanting to see such an exciting development materialise, particularly at a time when so many local football pitches have been lost or are under threat. What this will rely on, however, is “wider support” from Waltham Forest Council, although father and son tell me they’ve been in touch with MP Stella Creasy, in the hopes she can put in a good word.

(Credit: Stow FC)(Credit: Stow FC)

And this isn’t the only possible expansion on the club’s horizons. The pair tell me they are keen to see the club support a women’s team at some point, in addition to the work they already do to build up the next generation of players through their ties to local academy Ryan FC. They share their current grounds with women’s team London Seaward FC, an independent team that split ways unhappily with Leyton Orient last year, so perhaps we’ll see a closer relationship in future.And this isn’t the only possible expansion on the club’s horizons. The pair tell me they are keen to see the club support a women’s team at some point, in addition to the work they already do to build up the next generation of players through their ties to local academy Ryan FC. They share their current grounds with women’s team London Seaward FC, an independent team that split ways unhappily with Leyton Orient last year, so perhaps we’ll see a closer relationship in future.

My final piece of insider gossip? Look out for a stylish new look at the merchandise stand. I’m told they’re currently “exploring” a possible design inspired by Walthamstow icon William Morris for a shirt next season.My final piece of insider gossip? Look out for a stylish new look at the merchandise stand. I’m told they’re currently “exploring” a possible design inspired by Walthamstow icon William Morris for a shirt next season.