WFFC Advent Calendar: 24 – Billy Read

Into the penultimate day of our countdown, we take a look at our all-time greatest top scorer.

Such has been the turbulent history of the club, our top goal-scorer has only 82 goals. However, Billy Read deservedly takes his place at the top of the table.

Read was already a goal scoring forward with Walthamstow Pennant before the merger and was used to great effect on the right wing during Leyton Pennant’s first season. He scored 23 goals from 49 starts – an incredible goal scoring record. His debut for the newly-formed club came a month into the 1995-6 season, a 2-2 draw with Chesham Town.

The following season, his goalscoring record dipped a bit, but he still managed to find the back of the net 12 times from 40 games.

He fared slightly better in the 1997-8 season scoring 14 goals in 51 games.

His best season however would come in the 1998-9 season, when playing in a more advanced role, he fired an incredible 32 goals in 51 games.

After four great seasons with the club, Read was understandably in high demand, and he left the club along with Paul Salmon to join the newly-bankrolled Ford United, on their march up the pyramid.

After a spell at Ford, Read moved onto Barking, before returning to the club at the start of the 2003-4 season.

However, by that that time, age had caught up with Read somewhat, and despite scoring in the second game – against Barking – he only managed eight starts before moving back to Barking, where his form picked up once more.

Despite his second spell with the club being a bit of a failure most fans would acknowledge his enormous contribution to the club in the first three years.

Read finished his Leyton Pennant/Waltham Forest career with an agonising 199 starts in two spells across five seasons, and is deservedly a veritable club legend.

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