- Waltham Forest F.C.
Football club infobox
clubname = Waltham Forest
fullname = Waltham Forest Football Club
nickname = The Stags
Cricklefield Stadium, Ilford, Essex(groundshare with Ilford)
capacity = 3,500
chairman = flagicon|England Azumah Cofie
manager = flagicon|England Vacant
Isthmian League First Division North
Isthmian League First Division North, 19th
Waltham Forest F.C. are a football club from
Walthamstow, who play in the Isthmian League First Division North. They have played under a number of names and were known as Leyton Pennant up until the end of the 2002/03 season.
Pennant Football Club was formed as a junior side in 1964, initially joining the
South West Essex League. The league's Premier Division title was won by Pennant in 1972-73. 2 seasons later the club joined the Metropolitan League, winning the league at the first attempt.
Pennant joined the
London Spartan Leaguein 1983, becoming a senior club. They finished 4th in the Senior in their first season, which was sufficient to gain promotion to the Premier Division. In 1988 neighbours Walthamstow Avenue were swallowed up by Redbridge Forest, so Pennant changed their name to Walthamstow Pennant in order to keep the footballing name of Walthamstowalive. The 1988-89 season saw the renamed club win the Spartan League Cup and the installation of floodlights installed at Wadham Lodge.
1990-91 saw Walthamstow Pennant win the Spartan League title by a single point from Barkingside with a 4-0 defeat of Thamesmead in their final game. A double was achieved through the defeat of Haringey Borough in the League Cup. However, promotion to the
Isthmian Leaguewas denied due to inadequate ground facilities and the league's rejection of a proposed groundshare at Leyton-Wingate.
In 1995-96 neighbours
Leyton F.C.saw no future at their ground and moved to Wadham Lodge, incorporating Walthamstow Pennant. The club was renamed Leyton Pennant, and assumed Leyton's place in the Isthmian League. By 1999-2000 the club was struggling on and off the pitch, resulting in a very poor run of form and relegation to the Isthmian League Second Division. 2000-01 saw great inconsistency in results, accompanied by one of the poorest disciplinary records in the whole of English football and the club were called before the FA to explain themselves.
The Ramis Years
Following a few indifferent seasons hovering near the division's relegation zone, local businessman Harry Ramis took over as Chairman in February 2003, appointing his brother, ex professional footballer, Hakan Ramis-Heyrattin as manager and the team avoided relegation. An early decision by the new chairman and his board was to once again change the club's name to Waltham Forest, reflecting the club's location in the borough of
The team carried on their form at the beginning of the 2003-04 season winning their first three matches and sitting in the top 4 for much of the first three months of the season. However, the performance levels dipped soon after and the team could only manage to finish 16th.
The team were then moved across to the Southern League Eastern division for two seasons and finished 9th and 8th in consecutive seasons. 2005-06 also saw the club win the Essex Senior Cup, however, the biggest story of the season was an incredible run from the clubs Youth Team. They reached the last 16 of the FA Youth Cup, even managing to beat Premiership club West Bromwich Albion's Youth Team on route, under the guidance of Dave Muir and Martin Fitch.
Times of Struggle
Despite the progress at the club, Chairman Harry Ramis made the decision at the end of the 05-06 season to step down as chairman. The decision may have been prompted by the fact that his brother Hakan Ramis-Heyrattin had decided to move on to manage Thurrock.
This left the club on the brink of extinction or at the very least facing a drop down to play in the Essex Senior League. However, long serving club secretary Andy Perkins managed to entice Terry Back to the club as Chairman in order to provide some finance. Dave Muir and Martyn Fitch were promoted to manage the first team, and promoted a large chunk of the FA Youth Cup team with them. However, results were shambolic and after 4 heavy defeats in their first 4 games Terry Back acted and dismissed both Muir and Fitch.
They were replaced by Danny Honeyball as player-manager, a position that he'd held briefly at the club in 2003. Honeyball, along with assistant boss Victor Renner rebuilt the side quickly and after an outstanding run of form, finished 8th and just missed out on the end of season play-offs.
Despite the excellent performance the summer of 2007 was one of turmoil at the club. Victor Renner moved on to Potters Bar Town and took over half of the first team squad with him, and Reserve Team manager Dave Bricknell also departed. Darren Grieves joined as Danny's player-assistant manager, but left after just 6 games. Worse was to follow when Terry Back resigned as Chairman on 31st October 2007.
Despite the loss of their chairman Waltham Forest battled on whilst efforts were made off the pitch to find a successor. Those efforts came to fruition when Boxing Promoter Azumah Cofie agreed to take over on 23rd November 2007. The good news was dampened by the resignation of manager Danny Honeyball, who announced he was leaving to take over at Arlesey Town, under the chairmanship of former Forest supremo Terry Back.
Mr Cofie acted and appointed Louis Affor and
Mike Smallas his management team. However, results were not forthcoming and he has since seen Paul Norris, Kevin Durrant and Nick Clark through the revolving door at Wadham Lodge, before eventually settling on Ged Searson as his new manager at the end of February.
Whilst there was an upturn in fortunes on the field of play, off it things continued to be complicated for Forest. It was eventually announced on Friday 14th March 2008 that the club would leave their home of 12 years, Wadham Lodge, at the end of the season. However, an increase in the rent saw the club move out early, playing their final home game at the Lodge on 24th March 2008, a 1-0 home defeat to Ilford, which put the Stags back in the relegation mire. The club played their final two home games of the 2007-2008 season at Spa Fields, the home of Witham Town FC.
For the 2008-09 season, Waltham Forest F.C. have moved in as tenants of
Ilford F.C., and will play their home games at Cricklefield Stadium.
(as Waltham Forest F.C. only)
Essex Senior Cup 2005-06
* [http://www.walthamforest-fc.co.uk/ Website]
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