The last time Walthamstow stepped out onto a football pitch was their 2-1 defeat away to Hashtag United. The horrible conditions of wind and rain made the game difficult for both sides although Hashtag had found the formula despite Dwade James concerting a penalty and hitting the post (in the exact same spot) twice in the second half. The defeat left the Tags in pole position for the title, unless they had slipped up during the run-in.
A lot has changed since then in East London. The likes of Dwade James, Lewis Francis and others have moved on, looking to play at a higher level, leaving Max Mitchell to build a quality team that he can make his own. In doing so, a number of players had come in. George Lutaaya, Brett O’Connor, David Cowley and Tom Jewers became a number of players who joined the club ahead of the 2020/21 season whilst fan-favourites Reece Conway, Connor Scully, Emiel Aiken and Vinny Murphy were just a few who continued their stay with the club.
The first test back for Max Mitchell and Walthamstow is the visit of Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division side Harpenden Town. The Harps will visit Wadham Lodge for the first pre-season friendly ahead of the new season. The game, scheduled for Saturday (1st August), will be the first ball kicked in an 11v11 match for these players since the country went into lockdown and although it won’t be as competitive as the league matches next season, there will certainly be a more competitive feel to the game.
Harpenden have also brought in a number of players ahead of their season. The club have brought in the likes of Owen Tizard, Josh Dooley, Raphael Duyile and Henry Snee as they look to strenghten their squad ahead of a tough season against the likes of Colney Heath, Tring Athletic and Biggleswade United, all of which competed for the title last year.
Harpenden manager Martin Standen has previous spoke of how his team is capable of winning the league whilst Walthamstow will be on of the favourites going into the new season. Both sides will look for the best possible start to their pre-season to install a winning mentality and there is no doubt the competitiveness will help produce a great game.