After re-joining Walthamstow last season, Reece Conway was welcomed back with open arms. Still a fan-favourite, he has signed for the upcoming 2020/21 season and has been handed the captain’s armband by manager Max Mitchell.
We caught up with him to find out his goals for next season, how excited he is for the new season and his thoughts on being given the armband.
You’ve been in a team who have been challenging for promotion for the last two seasons. What changes do you think need to be made so we can go one step further?
The first season was a developmental season which saw a lot of hard work and changes being made on and off the pitch to build the foundations necessary. We went on an excellent run but came up short.
Coming in late last season and the pivotal changes that were made in terms of management was always going to create disruption, but Max, his team and us [the players] stood up to the challenge and were on course to challenge for promotion. Obviously, there is nothing that can be done about the way it ended. So for me, the consistency and continuity from the very start in pre-season and throughout is key and we have the opportunity to do that.
Along with maintaining high expectations and standards each week from all aspects of the club and especially us as players, who will be out there doing what is necessary each week to achieve the fundamental goal of promotion.
You played in a squad that won promotion in the past. Is there anything Walthamstow can learn from that Basildon side?
I only spent a short time at Basildon United and I knew Marc and Liam very well. I think what I noticed was their commitment as a management team to putting on high-intensity sessions and maintaining high standards along with changing the culture of the club. They were winners and wanted to do everything to the best of their ability and in the most professional way possible. Also, the way in which they won it, highlighted their ‘never say die’ attitude. These are characteristics and aspects I’ve already seen with Max and the way in which he wants to do things.
Max has handed you the captain’s armband this season. What can we expect to see from our skipper?
It’s a real privilege to given the armband. But for me, nothing changes. I would like to think I’ve always set myself high expectations and do my best to lead by example both on and off the pitch. So as I say, for me, it’s no different. I just have to wear the band, walk out first and do the coin toss. We need 11 leaders to get the job done. But I know Max will want me to set examples and work with him and that’s what I am looking forward to doing.
Who will be Walthamstow’s main challengers next season?
It’s very hard to say in terms of challengers. This situation will, unfortunately, have a lasting impact on non-league football and those that run the clubs. So it would be unfair to make any judgements. However, as has been mentioned several times before, every game will be a tough game because everyone will want to stop us. That’s the mentality we need to have. 11 v 11 and we need to do our jobs to come out on top.
What are your targets for next season for both club and individually?
Promotion is the main objective. I’ve stayed here to deal with unfinished business and with a belief that we can win things. This club needs and deserves promotion and success and that’s what we as players want to achieve. On a personal level, I want to fulfil my role on the pitch each week to the best of my ability and add some goals along the way hopefully.
It’s been a strange and difficult time for everyone. How much are you raring to go for the new season?
The season officially starting again appears to be a long way off still. But I know many players and at many different clubs and all are looking forward to getting back to doing what we love. Having the opportunity to do small sessions and get a ball at my feet and stat ticking over is great. We will make sure we are ready for when it does get up and running.