History

Walton & Hersham FC was formed from the amalgamation of Walton-on-Thames FC and Hersham FC following the resumption of football after the Second World War.

Brief histories of the pre-merger days of Walton-on-Thames FC and Hersham FC can also be found on this site.

Details for the current season can be found on the official club website.


Amalgamation

Walton FC and Hersham FC were always fierce rivals who for many years played their home matches at grounds just one mile apart.  Amalgamation talks had first taken place as early as the 1912/13 season but it was rejected by 22 votes to 7.  It was not discussed again until April 1923 but this time the vote was tied and, with no casting vote available, the teams remained separate.  Talks were held again during the 1932/33 season but as previously the nays won the day.  Following the end of hostilities in 1945 the two clubs met once again to discuss an amalgamation and, with Hersham no longer having a ground to call their own, finally a deal was done.  The Walton FC AGM approving the merger, held at The Plough public house, also decided that the new Walton & Hersham FC would join the equally new Corinthian League.

Corinthian League days

Once the merger was finally agreed the team played its home matches, as it has done ever since, at Stompond Lane but the first competitive match on 1 September 1945 was away against Epsom Town in the Corinthian League where the Swans lost 7-1.  Strangely the first competitive match at Stompond Lane three weeks later was also against Epsom Town, although this time in the F.A. Cup, and where the Swans metered out an 11-0 mauling.  Quite a turnaround in just twenty one days!
The 1945-46 season was not one of note as the team finished seventh in a division of nine.  1946-47 was somewhat different with the club crowned Corinthian League champions and the title was also won in the following two seasons with "just" runners up spot following in 1949-50.  That was to prove to be the last season in the Corinthian league as the club were elected to the Athenian League from 1950-51 onwards.





Moving to the Athenian League

The Swans started life in the Athenian League very well, finishing as runners up in their first season in 1950-51 having topped the table at one stage.  This season also saw them progress to the Quarter Final stage of the F.A. Amateur Cup where they were beaten in a replay at Stompond Lane by the mighty Bishop Auckland.  Success was forthcoming in the Surrey Senior Cup where the Swans came from behind to beat Dulwich Hamlet in the Final played at Selhurst Park.

Although only finishing 7th in the Athenian league in the following 1951-52 season the Swans made it even further in the F.A. Amateur Cup before being beaten by Walthamstow Avenue in a Semi-final played at Craven Cottage.  On the way they knocked out two clubs from County Durham, Bishop Auckland (away) and Crook Town (in a replay at Stompond Lane), the former having previously been unbeaten at home in the F.A. Amateur Cup for 19 years.

1952-53 was a very similar story with the Swans being defeated in the F.A. Amateur Cup Semi-final again, this time by Harwich & Parkeston at Griffin Park.  In the league they again finished in 7th place.  The subsequent four seasons were largely uneventful other than when the club failed to apply to take part in the F.A. Cup in 1956-57!  League performances were getting worse and in 1956-57 the Swans finished 14th in a division of 15 teams.

In the following season the F.A. Cup brought some light to what was a dismal season.  After having previously played six ties the 1st Round Proper of the Cup was reached for the first time with the Swans drawn at home against Southampton, the league side coasting to a 6-1 win.  The 1957-58 Cup run was in complete contrast to the league where the Swans finished bottom of 16 teams.

For 1958-59 the club followed most others when it scrapped its Selection Committee, following this with the appointment of former fans favourite Reg Sentance as manager.  Whilst the Swans reached the semi-final of the Surrey Senior Cup, losing to Woking, the league performance barely improved with a finishing position of 15th, one place off the bottom.

Reg Sentance was replaced as manager for 1959-60 by Don Stoker who was to be around for many years to come.  Initially the results of his managerial reign were similar to his predecessor with relative success in the Surrey Senior Cup (beaten finalists) but poor league performances (14th out of 16).  The 1960-61 season saw the Surrey Senior Cup won with a 2-1 victory over Wimbledon at Sandy Lane, Mitcham and a league position of 5th was a vast improvement compared to recent seasons.  At one stage in that season the Swans played 13 cup matches in a row.

The next four seasons were more of the same with the Surrey Senior Cup retained in 1961-62 and the Semi-final reached in 1963-64.  League positions ranged from 5th to 7th.  There were events off the field though, with a new stand built over the summer of 1963 and permission granted for floodlights to be installed, all of which led to a doubling of the rent paid to the Council for the use of the ground.

The floodlights were installed in time for the 1965-66 season and the first match played under them was against Worthing in a league match on 24 August 1965.  The official switch on a month later, was celebrated with a home match against a Tottenham Hotspur XI which featured Jimmy Greaves.  The league position was not improved, however, with a lowly 11th place finish.  The Swans did enter a new Midweek Floodlit league comprising 10 teams and which at that time featured an innovative 3 points for a win.  1966-67 saw no improvement and the Swans finished in 13th place in the league.  This was also the last season in which Don Stoker was in charge and he was replaced by Allen Batsford.




Allen Batsford, Cup Success and the Isthmian League

For 1967-68 long time manager Don Stoker was replaced by Allen Batsford and without doubt his reign was the most successful in the history of the club.

Batsford's new training and match regime did not bring immediate results with just an 8th place finish in his first season, although the Midweek Floodlit League was won. The following year, however, the Swans started the 1968-69 season with 13 straight wins (scoring 48 goals and conceding just 3 in the process) and went on to become Athenian League Champions, finishing ahead of Slough Town by 4 points. The Midweek Floodlit League was also retained.

This success meant that expectations were high for the 1969-70 season. Unfortunately the trophy cabinet remained bare with the Swans finishing as runners-up in the Athenian League, Midweek Floodlit League, the Surrey Senior Cup and the Athenian League Cup. The first round proper of the F.A. Cup was reached but a home defeat to then non-league Barnet put paid to any hopes of a glory tie.

1970-71 was more successful with the Surrey Senior Cup and the Midweek Floodlight League both won.  In the league the runners-up spot beckoned once again, as did the first round proper of the F.A. Cup, this time Telford winning 5-2 at Stompond Lane.  More importantly for the standing of the club it's application to join the Isthmian League was successful and, together with Bishop's Stortford, it was elected to that league for 1971-72 onwards.

In that first Isthmian League campaign the Swans proved they were very comfortable competing against their previously more illustrious opponents finishing a very creditable 3rd.  In the club's final season in the Midweek Floodlight League they finished runners-up to Slough Town and they were also beaten in the final of the Surrey Senior Cup, this time by Woking.  This season also saw two Swans players, Dave Bassett and Roger Connell, gain amateur England caps.

The 1972-73 season is the one most fondly remembered by Swans fans (of a certain age!) and the reason behind the url of this website.  In the F.A. Cup the Swans reached the first round during which they defeated, for the first time, a football league side, namely Exeter City.  The second round saw them drawn at home to non-league Margate who returned to Kent victors and with a tie against Tottenham Hotspur for their efforts.  In the F.A. Amateur Cup the Swans finally got to Wembley with Slough Town standing between them and the cup.  The Swans had reached the final without conceding a goal and that record was maintained at Wembley as a 1-0 victory courtesy of an 87th minute goal from Roger Connell brought the biggest prize of all to Stompond Lane and the Swans finally crowned F.A. Amateur Cup Winners.  Accusations of incentives to players to win the cup were investigated by the FA but found to be without substance.  In the league a runners-up spot was achieved and the Surrey Senior Cup was won with a 2-0 victory over neighbours Kingstonian.

The following season had much to live up to and in part did so but finished with unwelcome news.  For 1973-74 the Swans were exempt until the first round of the F.A. Cup where once again they had the opportunity to take on a football league side.  The opponents were Brighton & Hove Albion who at that time were managed by Brian Clough following his short lived stay at Leeds United.  Stompond Lane was full to capacity to see an entertaining match but one that produced no goals.  The replay at the Goldstone Ground saw a stunning display from the Swans and a Clive Foskett hat-trick helped them to a 4-0 win.  This went some way to alleviating his disappointment for missing out on a place in the Wembley team the previous April.  The second round saw the Swans drawn against a non-league side once again with the same result as the previous season, a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Hereford.

In the league the Swans finished just 6th where, for the first time, 3 points were given for a win.  Incredibly the final match of the league campaign was not played until 22nd May.  The Surrey Senior Cup could not be retained as Dulwich Hamlet beat the Swans 2-0 in a replay.

The most disappointing news, however, was that of the resignation of Allen Batsford who had agreed to become the boss of Southern League Wimbledon who, a few season later, he led into the football league.

Treading Water

The team that had been one of the top non-league sides in the country disappeared overnight. For 1974-75 only two players remained from the previous campaigns.   Vince Craven was appointed with the unenviable task of stepping into the shoes of Allen Batsford.  His reign did not last long as he was sacked in November and replaced by John Martin.  At the end of the season the Swans found themselves in 21st place and were relegated to the Isthmian League 2nd division.  John Martin was also dismissed at the end of the season.

The following seasons were not ones of note and league positions varied from 16th to 4th.  The first round of the F.A. Cup was reached, rather surprisingly, in 1975-76 where a young Swans side lost 1-0 away at Crystal Palace.  On the playing side in 1980-81 the Swans signed former Chelsea and England international Peter Osgood.  He was only to play two competitive matches, scoring once, before the arrangement stopped.

That could have been the last season for the Swans as, in 1981-82, the official receivers were called in and announced that the club had racked up debts of £30,000.  The Isthmian League gave the club 14 days to resolve the position and fortunately a South London businessman, Bob Nourse, stepped in to buy the club. 

The following years were much of the same with a number of managers unable to take the club out of the division or provide notable success in cup competitions.  The 1986-87 season was the low point with the Swans finding themselves needing 4 points from their last 2 matches to avoid yet another relegation.  Fortunately they beat Lewes and drew with Oxford City. 

The situation improved slightly from there with league finishes in the top ten for the next 6 years.  Off the field the club was keen to get an A grade for Stompond Lane and eventually in 1989-90 the local council agreed to the improvements.  This was not before time as part of the main stand was crumbling away and had had to be closed to spectators.

Finally in 1993-94 the Swans experienced promotion success again when a 3rd place finish in the league earned promotion to the Isthmian Premier Division.

Ups and Downs

Their first season back in the top Isthmian league produced a respectable 14th place finish.  The highlight of the 1994-95 season, however was the F.A. Cup run to reach the first round proper and a home tie against Swansea City.  Walton put on a valiant display but were defeated 2-0 by their full time opponents.

1995-96 was the centenary year for the club but unfortunately it saw the end of the Swans brief stay in the Isthmian Premier Division.  The club finished one off the bottom and therefore suffered relegation back to Division 1.  The 1996-97 season saw a turn around as Laurie Craker guided the team to 3rd place and promotion back to the premier division.  Promotion was gained on the last day of the season away at Wokingham Town where the players and supporters waited anxiously on the pitch for the result of the Billericay match that had kicked off slightly late.

There was a period of relative stability when the club finished 9th and 18th in the Premier Division for the 1997-98 and 1998-99 campaigns before once again feeling the pains of relegation when they finished rock bottom at the end of the 1999-00 season.  Despite their dreadful league form the Swans reached the 4th round of the F.A. Trophy before going out 2-0 in a home replay to Kettering Town.

The Swans spent the next 4 seasons in Division 1 with best placed finishes of 7th in 2002-03 and 9th in 2003-04, under the eventual leadership of Ian Hazel.  His reign only lasted into early September of the 2004-05 season when he was sacked after defeat to Leatherhead in the Preliminary Round of the F.A. Cup.  He was replaced by Terry Back and a substantial increase in the playing budget which led to a mass exodus of players, an act that did not endear him to the supporters.  Terry Back lasted less than two months to be replaced by Swans player Alan Dowson and many of the players previously sent packing returned.  Swans lost their first game under Dowson's stewardship but then started a record run of 13 consecutive winning games in all competitions.  This turned out to be a magnificent season with the Swans again reaching the 4th round of the F.A. Trophy (losing on penalties to Stamford AFC in a home replay), the final of the Surrey Senior Cup (losing 2-1 to AFC Wimbledon in extra time at Woking's Kingfield ground) and securing promotion back to the Isthmian Premier Division.  The Easter Monday home league match against AFC Wimbledon was also a day to remember.  Had Walton lost or drawn then AFC Wimbledon would be Champions and, due to their history, Sky TV were in attendance.  The Swans put on a superb performance to win 4-0 and Sky ended up interviewing Swans hat-trick hero Paul Harkness rather than the expected champagne swilling AFC Wimbledon players!

Managerial Revolving Door

2005-06 was a season of consolidation with a better than expected 9th place league finish, but Alan Dowson resigned early on in the 2006-07 season claiming he had lost the confidence of the playing squad (although many followed him when he took over at Kingstonian some time later).  His replacement was Bobby Patterson, who held coaching roles at Gillingham, assisted by Les Cleevely, a non-league goalkeeper for many years.   Patterson was unable to turn his coaching prowess into management success on the field and disappeared from the club following a 7-1 drubbing for the Swans away at Chelmsford City in the February.  He was replaced by Les Cleevely but he was unable to stop the rot and the Swans once again found themselves relegated to Division 1 South.

Cleevely stayed on for the 2007-08 season, where the Swans finished 10th in the league but he resigned at the end of it.  He was replaced by Jimmy Bolton but he left halfway through the season with player Matt Elverson taking charge and leading the team to a 14th place finish in 2008-09.  Elverson wanted to concentrate on his playing career and the club appointed former professional John Crumplin as manager in the summer of 2009.  A respectable 8th place in the league followed for 2009-10 but a dreadful start to the 2010-11 season saw Crumplin step down for business reasons.  Both Matt Elverson and another former player Steve Moss took charge in caretaker roles before ex-goalkeeper Chuck Martini was appointed towards the end of September.  He had been in charge of Godalming Town and brought many of the players he had managed there to Stompond Lane.  They quickly proved they were capable of the task in hand and despite the dreadful early season results the Swans only missed out on a play off spot on on the final day when losing at home to Dulwich Hamlet (who very nearly secured promotion of their own through the play-offs).

Hopes were high for the 2011-12 season but once again the Swans endured a dreadful early campaign, finding themselves bottom of the table during October.  Fortunately the results slowly improved with the team losing just two of their last eleven league matches.  A final finishing position of 12th, whilst disappointing overall, was quite an achievement considering the early results.

Chuck Martini resigned (or was possibly sacked according to newspaper reports) in the November of the 2012-13 season to be replaced by the reserve team management of Paul Martyn-Jones and Adam Bessent who saw the season out.  Steve Baker was appointed manager in the close season taking charge for the first time in August 2013, however his brief reign ended before the end of October of that season.  Reserve team manager James Cameron was placed in interim charge before being given the role on a permanent basis although he resigned at the end of February after just 16 matches in charge which encompassed just one win and one draw in the league.  He was immediately replaced by former player Tony Reid who had started the 2013-14 season in charge at Eastbourne Town and ironically they were his first opponents as manager of the Swans (and he started with a convincing win).

2014-15 was an uninspiring season with the Swans finishing in 17th place and avoiding relegation by 8 points.  The only bright side was that there was no change of manager throughout but Tony Reid's reign came to an abrupt and, in the view of nearly all supporters, an unwelcome end in the November of the 2015-16 season.  Tony was replaced by Mark Hams, however he left in the middle of March 2016 due to personal reasons with only one win in all his matches in charge.  Gary MacDonald and Mark Corbett were put in charge (whilst remaining players) with the unenviable task of trying to retain the Swans 45 year Isthmian League status but, despite their valient efforts, relegation was confirmed with one match still to play.  Feint hopes of a reprive did not come to fruition and, for the first time since 2007, the club (in this instance the Swans) finishing in the last relegation position was not reprieved.

Combined Counties League

The Swans appointed a management team of Simon Haughney (Manager), Howard Newton (Assistant) and Paul Thomas (Coach) for their first campaign in the Combined Counties League in the 2016-17 season.

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