For many non-league clubs, the need to unearth a gem from the local or surrounding area is usually there as a lack of resources can hinder recruitment prospects further afield. Sadly, though, with Premier League and Football League sides gaining a large foothold in the local community, it’s an incredibly tough task to bring through local talent before they get snapped up.
Walthamstow isn’t short on local talent either. A footballing hotbed, Walthamstow is full of football fanatics. Many have an encyclopedic knowledge of football, could name every winner of the Euros, alongside the greatest kit men the game has ever seen, and even the best non-league football ground pie. Walthamstow is an area of London with a fanatical football following, with many talented players to have come out of the area.
With an array of local lads who have found their way into the professional game, we thought we’d go through some of the best of them. Maybe they can help inspire the next batch of Walthamstow youngsters who we might even see in a Stow shirt in the near future, perhaps?
Born in Walthamstow, you can’t really get much bigger than Harry Kane right now. The Tottenham and England forward is a dedicated professional who has worked hard at his craft to now become one of the best strikers in world football. After initial loan spells at the likes of Leyton Orient and Millwall, not many expected the Spurs striker to reach the heights that he has. With Alan Shearer’s all-time Premier League goalscoring record in his sights, Kane could go down as one of the best ever players England has produced. Not bad for a boy from Walthamstow.
Now at Newcastle United, Dwight Gayle’s rise from the non-league game to the Premier League should inspire some of our shining lights. Known for his goalscoring instincts, Gayle was playing for the likes of Ryan and Stansted before being snapped up by Dagenham & Redbridge. It was at the Daggers where he really caught the eye, putting on a number of impressive displays before earning his move to Peterborough United, then from there to England’s top flight with both Crystal Palace and Newcastle.
Now retired from the game, it is fairly well documented how well local boy Dean Holdsworth did. A striker who loved a battle, Holdsworth is probably best remembered for his time at Brentford, Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang and a successful spell at Bolton Wanderers, a club he actually ended up becoming the chief executive of after leading a consortium to purchase the Trotters. With 197 goals in 606 appearances, Holdsworth had an excellent career in the professional game
Now on the books at Championship side Middlesborough, goalkeeper Jordan Archer has been on an impressive journey after being released by Tottenham in 2015. Since then, Archer has gone on to achieve promotion from League One to the Championship with Millwall, before leaving the Den for pastures new at Oxford United. Now currently vying for the number one shirt at Championship giants Middlesborough, Archer didn’t give up after being turned down as a kid at Spurs.
Crawley Town’s Nathan Ferguson grew up in Walthamstow and follows a long list of talented footballers to have come out of the area. Starting out at Dagenham & Redbridge, Ferguson went on to establish himself as a solid operator at non-league level before earning himself a move to the Football League in 2016 with Port Vale.
Special mentions to Martin Hayes, David Holdsworth and Jon Goodman.