Non League Daily

BLOG: Waltham Forest in limbo as season draws to a close

It is very unusual for my club to only have five games left as we enter April writes NLD blogger Charlie Ward
Part of that is down to early exits in most of the cup competitions, but, in recent years, we have gone out of cups at equally early stages and still been tasked with two games a  week, up until the end of the season.
I suppose the reduced number of teams in the Essex Senior League, compared to those in the Isthmian League, obviously plays a part, but, we do not seem to have had many matches postponed either, so we have sailed through our games with hardly a match re-arranged.
Our latest game against London Bari was abandoned due to a very bad broken leg injury to an opponent and so that will have to be re-scheduled, but, it hardly represents a fixture backlog.
The season itself, is petering out with a mid table position, the best we can hope for.
After a very successful spell between October and December last year and a reasonable January, we have hit "the wall" and have not won a game since the end of January, although we have seen more draws than defeats.
The problem has been, that we struggled to score goals and our defence has been less than watertight at the back.
We have in the last few games, started to find our scoring touch again and our newest arrival Mekki Moussa has managed to score goals in his first three games for us, but, generally we seem to be going through an end of the season phase, where we are very much less than concentrated on the job in hand.
Our one salvation to rescue our season from the mundane, came and went, with a 3-0 defeat at Clapton in the Essex Senior League Cup.
However, as has been the case since our Chairman/Director of Football joined our club, things are going full steam ahead, off the pitch.
In a meeting in the middle of March, it was agreed that we would put in place, a three year plan to re-instate a reserve side that was disbanded about a decade ago, to save costs and the players will come from a link up with players from the Tottenham Hotspurs academy side and we are also going to increase the spread of age groups in our youth set up, which currently boasts side at under 15 & under 16 level.
The plan on the field,  is to keep the nucleus of the players we want to keep and add to the side with more experienced players in pivotal positions in the side - probably in midfield and certainly in defence.
If we can achieve that, then we should have the makings of a genuine title challenge.
There is little doubt that, for the future of the club, we need to get out of the Essex Senior League as soon as possible - crowds are already down from the appalling low levels they were at last season in the Isthmian League.
Unless, we can get additional outside sponsorship to inject more sustainability into the club, we definitely need to get back to the more main stream football of the Isthmian League.
But, of course, wanting and doing is not always the same.
We need to try and get assurances from those players we want to keep, they will return to play for us next season and without being able to sign them to contract, we will not know until, July/August, at the earliest.
Then if we can get those we want, we still have to try and get the right new people in and that needs to be in alignment with those players we have retained, so everything necessarily has to be very last minute.
The long term future of the club very much depends on the involvement of the football community, locally and the impetus for that has to be the success of the youth sides.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to run a club, even at our level, on money through the gate and raffles and other, low key fund raising ventures.
Without, attracting more supporters to the club, we cannot hope to build a thriving financial base on which to launch an upward turn in our footballing fortunes, so the youth section is paramount to building up a successful relationship with the people interested in football in the area and that would definitely raise our profile to supporters of non league football.
Next season, I believe could be a defining moment in the future of the club.

Get it right and we could be in for a good season, with promotion as the main aim and at least keeping the interest alive, if are anywhere near the top three places.
If we were successful on the field, I doubt there would be any problems achieving the necessary ground grading approval, to be allowed to return to the Isthmian League.
But, there does have to be an upturn in our performances in the League, as we need to make sure our ambitions do not fall at the first hurdle, due to the inability of those who's job it is to get results.
So at the moment we are in football limbo - just seeing out this season, waiting to lay our plans for the 2015/16 season and to try and re-establish ourselves, back on the first rung, of where we want to be - moving up the non league football pyramid.

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