When people think of football in North London they naturally think of heavyweights Arsenal and Tottenham Hostpur. But there is a much smaller team that is also based in the same area, specifically just four miles east of the brand-new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. When you’re located next to two footballing giants, it’s easy to fall by the wayside.
While the eyes of the world have been on Qatar, this team has been plying their trade in English football’s eighth tier. Only the top two tiers in England were afforded the luxury of a midseason break meaning that while Spurs’ stars were battling it out against the world’s finest in the Arabian Gulf this winter, Walthamstow FC have been facing off against Biggleswade Town and Welwyn Garden City in in the Southern League Division One Central.
Tottenham’s Premier League campaign will get back underway on Boxing Day. They face London rivals Brentford – a matchup, which Bovada’s soccer bet odds and offers have made them the favorite for. At the same time, The Stags will be competing in a less than glamorous tie against Waltham Abbey.
Who Are Walthamstow FC?
Walthamstow FC is the pride and joy of non-league football fanatics from the North East London area. Founded in 1889, what started as an amateur team has grown into a symbol of pride and passionate football that many have come to love. Located in Walthamstow, the team was founded by three local lads, Heber Gaskell, Albert Smith, and Fred Lubbock.
They then entered the East London Senior Cup in 1890 and won the Amateur Cup for the third time in 1948, showing off their dominance in the amateur football arena.
During their decades of existence, the team has already seen some of the most successful and notable players in the English football community. Some of the most famous and acclaimed players that have played for Walthamstow FC are players such as Jimmy Greaves, one of England’s all-time top goalscorers.
Former Manchester United and Spurs striker Teddy Sheringham also played for the club in his early days, one of the most celebrated strikers during his time. Besides them, the team has also seen other great players that have been part of their roster. These include Ted MacDougall, Kenny Sansom, Russell Osman, Peter Shilton, and many more.
Another impressive figure in The Stags’ long and storied history is their remarkable managerial staff. Throughout their existence, the team has seen several big-name managers who were able to bring their very best in the pitch. One of the earliest and most respected managers of the team is Joe McCall, who had a prominent spell with the club, particularly impressing in the East London Cup.
After his retirement in 1905, another significant figure in Walthamstow FC’s history is Ted Drake. Drake was a talented footballer who played for Arsenal and segued into management in 1909. The team under Drake’s presence won an impressive total of five East London Cup titles between 1909 and 1929.
During their 125 years of existence, the team has picked up plenty of silverware. Aside from their three Amateur Cup wins, another highlight in their long list of achievements are their appearances in the FA Cup First Round in 1956 and 1960, where they battled it out against Fulham and Bournemouth respectively. Moreover, they have also had multiple successes in the Eastern Counties League and the Essex Senior League, where they won several times and even achieved a staggering record winning seven times in a row between 1992 and 1999.
One of the most remarkable wins in Walthamstow’s history was in the 1947/48 season which saw them reach their highest-ever league position. The team won their second championship and remarkably went on an unbeaten run of 15 matches only conceding three goals in the process. A truly remarkable achievement by an unforgettable Walthamstow FC side.
Finally, one of the club’s most impressive wins occurred in the 2008/09 season. Walthamstow achieved success by winning the Southern Football League Division One South. This marked their first title as members of the non-league football world and is a moment that will go down in history for many supporters of Walthamstow FC.
The beautiful truth about the club is that they embody the spirit of the game and the city’s passion for it. It remains an iconic part of East London’s football culture and the larger history of English football, and the club remains a fantastic place for talented young footballers to hone their craft.
Non-league clubs in this season’s FA Cup
Unfortunately, this term, Walthamstow couldn’t replicate their feats of the late 50s by progressing in the FA Cup. They bowed out in the extra preliminary round, falling to a 2-1 defeat against Buckhurst Hill. But there are a number of non-league clubs still going strong in the world’s oldest cup competition.
Fifth-tier side Chesterfield have made it to the third round and are preparing to host former Premier League club West Bromich Albion at the start of January. Their divisional rivals, Boreham Wood, will face Accrington Stanley at home at the same stage. They stunned Bournemouth last season en route to the fifth round, and they will be hoping for similar heroics this term.
Ryan Reynolds’ Wrexham are also still in the competition. They will travel to Coventry City in the hopes of securing a massive win for their American superstar owners.