As part of our support for non-league football we recently launched our Club Renovation Programme for the second year. Here we go behind the scenes of Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase clubs with non-league football champion and talkSPORT and Sky TV presenter Tony Incenzo.
Walton & Hersham 2 Hanworth Villa 1
The Buildbase FA Vase – Second Round Proper
Where: Elmbridge Xcel Sports Hub, Waterside Drive, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey KT12 2JP.
Kick-off: 7.45pm, Friday 10 November 2017
Overview: A Friday evening Buildbase FA Vase match at a newly opened stadium amidst a multi-sport complex. Both teams are members of the Combined Counties League Premier Division, which sits at Step 5 of the Non-League pyramid. It mainly comprises of teams from Surrey and the south-western area of Greater London.
History: Originally formed as Walton FC in 1895, a merger with Hersham FC in 1945 created Walton & Hersham FC. The club have a rich history, having won the penultimate FA Amateur Cup Final by defeating Slough Town 1-0 at Wembley Stadium in 1972/73 before a crowd of 41,000. The following season, Walton beat a Brighton & Hove Albion side managed by the great Brian Clough 4-0 in an FA Cup First Round Replay down in Sussex. Walton’s much-loved traditional home ground at Stompond Lane sadly closed in September 2017 and is now being redeveloped for housing.
Ground description: The Elmbridge Xcel Sports Hub is a council-owned facility. It features a new stadium, which is shared by Walton & Hersham and their local rivals Walton Casuals FC. The main feature is an elevated grandstand with 316 seats. There is covered standing on a balcony along the back of the stand and the bar is located behind this. The pitch is a 3G artificial surface, which is ideal for two football clubs sharing. There are other football pitches outside the stadium where a football academy was taking place for youngsters on the night. The rest of the complex includes a gym and swimming pool, an athletics stadium and a large car park. The stadium bar wasn’t open for the Buildbase FA Vase match as it had been hired out by Walton Casuals for a fund-raising Race Night. However, refreshments were available from a burger van at the end of the stand.
Programme details: This consisted of 20 pages and sold at £1. The interesting front cover featured a photo of Walton & Hersham’s celebrated team from the 1973 Wembley Final.
The match: A very competitive affair as you would expect in the Buildbase FA Vase. Hanworth Villa opened the scoring after four minutes courtesy of a curling free-kick by Jack Mills. But the equaliser came on 31 minutes when Jamie Thoroughgood pummelled a header into the roof of the net. Malachi Thomas scored the winner for Walton from close range with 13 minutes to go.
The people: Walton club official Merv Rees afforded a friendly welcome to all visitors and told me how he had been supporting the club since the late 1950’s. It was also good to chat to Hanworth Villa boss Rufus Brevett – the former QPR, Fulham and West Ham star – who is carving out a reputation for himself as a bright, young manager.
You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo
The Buildbase Club Renovation Programme will provide two product bursaries of £50,000 each in building, electrical products and hire equipment to two clubs by the end of the 2017-18 season. Applying for the Buildbase Club Renovation programme could also help to improve your ground to comply with ground grading and promotion possibilities. To apply visit our website