Updated: Oct 14
Darren Holmes looks at today's visitors
IN 2019, a consortium of seven 19-year-olds bought Walton &Hersham for a nominal fee. Four years later, they have turned their football club's fortunes around and have achieved three promotions in the process.
Combined Counties League Division One was their starting point following the takeover, a division that is directly comparable to The Peninsula League. Since then, they have progressed through to the Southern League.
Formed in 1945, Walton & Hersham have a notable past, having reached the second round proper of the FA Cup twice and the first round on four occasions.
Legendary ex-Wimbledon manager Dave Bassett was a former player who lifted the FA Amateur Cup with the club in the 1972-73 season, and the 1973-74 campaign saw the Swans defeat Brian Clough’s Brighton & Hove Albion 4-0 at the Goldstone Ground in the FA Cup first round.
Punk band Sham 69 got their name from a fragment of graffiti that originally read “Walton & Hersham 69”, a tribute to the club winning the Athenian League; Sir Stanley Matthews was briefly the club president in the 1980s; and former Millwall chairman/Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis was a member of the board for a number of seasons in the 2000s.
They were a formidable team to play in the 1970s and successful members of the much coveted Isthmian League. However, they almost folded towards the end of that decade and the 1980s were not as profitable on the pitch although they remained a club playing in high level non-league football, when they were plying their trade in the Combined Counties League, until 2016, when they suffered a further relegation soon afterwards.
In 2017, they left their Stompond Lane ground to move into£20m pound sports complex, the Elmbridge Sports Hub, sharing the ground with Walton Casuals, regular opponents of Tivvy’s, until they disbanded.