Club Update

Ahead of the imminent 23/24 season, the Board would like to take the opportunity to provide a comprehensive update on progress made this summer across the club.

First Team Squad
On 30th April, Walton & Hersham became only the 8th team in English pyramid history to achieve three straight promotions – a scarcely believable accomplishment given the dire outlook of the club just five years ago. Under the expert management of Scott Harris and Billy Rowley, the team has thrived on the pitch, and we are incredibly proud of the positive environment and winning culture Scott and Billy have inculcated over the past three seasons. The squad stability they have achieved is a rarity at Step 3 level, and we are excited to offer them increased backing to continue our on-field momentum this season. A full squad roster for the 23/24 season will be confirmed imminently, including all squad retentions, signings and departures.

Ticketing
Ahead of the new season, we have partnered with Kaizen Ticketing to offer supporters a robust online ticketing solution, which includes modern advancements such as scannable Apple and Google Wallet tickets. Season tickets have been sold on the new ticketing site in record numbers thus far, and we hope the uptake will continue ahead of next week’s opening home league match. Those who have ordered season tickets will have received a ‘digital’ ticket (PDF/Google or Apple Wallet) which can be scanned for entry at the gate, and will also receive a physical season ticket pass, which will be available for collection against Swindon Supermarine next week.

Advance tickets will also be available to purchase for all home games seven days before the fixture, available to purchase by following the link here.

Kit Supplier – 23/24 and beyond
We are delighted to announce that we have signed a three-year deal with Manchester-based kit suppliers Hope + Glory, replacing Joma as the club sportswear supplier. We are incredibly excited to work with Hope + Glory over the upcoming seasons, and as part of the deal the Club will receive bespoke match kits from 2023-2026, which will be available for purchase globally.

Due to circumstances outside of our control, the new kit will not be with us until the middle of August, and thus we will be using last season’s away kit for our opening away game(s), and a ‘limited edition’ Joma red kit for home game(s) until the new kits arrive. The ‘limited edition’ match-worn home shirts will be available to purchase in the club shop from the end of the month.

Details regarding merchandise sales are covered below.

In-stadium Club Shop
Those who have visited the Xcel Sports Hub over the last few weeks may have noticed our most recent stadium addition – a new walk-in club shop. Whilst works are still being completed on the shop’s interior, we are hopeful that such works will be complete in time for the opening home match against Swindon Supermarine. Once fully stocked, the shop will retail a full range of merchandise items, including replica kits, scarves, beanies, caps, pin badges, mugs, and more. Season ticket holders will also receive a 10% year-round discount in the club shop.

Online Store
We are also in the final stages of creating a brand new online store, which will be run and managed entirely by the club. The store will stock a core range of merchandise items which will be available to purchase worldwide, including replica kits, scarves, beanies and caps. We anticipate the online store will be operational towards the end of August.

Bar Improvements
As a result of the overwhelming demand over the 22/23 season, detailed plans were drawn up regarding improvements to the upstairs bar and matchday alcohol sales, which will culminate in the following, subject to final approval from relevant stakeholders:

  • Upgrades to the upstairs bar, which will include the installation of additional TV screens, as well as Sky Sports, so supporters will be able to watch the Premier League evening kick-off from 5:30pm each Saturday. The upstairs bar will also be installed with additional draught taps, to serve fans with greater efficiency on matchdays.
  • The installation of a new 30ft pitchside bar, which will be situated to the right hand side of the main stand. The new pitchside bar will serve a range of alcoholic beverages, including Birra Moretti, Amstel and Inch’s Cider, all on draught.

The aforementioned upgrades will be delivered by Places Leisure, the company responsible for the operation and oversight of the Xcel Sports Hub facility. The planned upgrades are expected to cost north of £100k, and will be subject to final approval from the Places Leisure board before being enacted.

We must stress that Walton & Hersham FC have no control over the implementation or installation of the aforementioned upgrades, and that the completion of the works is subject to factors entirely outside of the club’s influence. In spite of this, we are hopeful that with imminent approval from the relevant stakeholders, the proposed upgrades to the bar(s) will be completed by November. We will provide supporters with further updates and more accurate timelines as and when we have them.

Matchday Programmes
We are delighted to announce that we are doubling down on our matchday programme offering ahead of next season, with a revamped and modernised programme format. Programmes will cost £3 each, and will be available to purchase at the turnstile or in the new club shop on home matchdays.

Stadium Developments
The astonishing rise in attendances over the past two seasons has brought with it a host of benefits for the club, as well as a range of new operational challenges. The current licensed matchday capacity of the Xcel Sports Hub sits at 2097 people – 500 in the main stand and just shy of 1600 around the pitch perimeter.

With rapidly swelling attendances, we are conscious of the need for additional covered areas around the ground, as well as upgrades to stadium capacity necessary in meeting Step 2 ground grading requirements. Consequently, we have begun engaging in positive dialogue with the Elmbridge Borough Council with regard to stadium upgrades, under whom the jurisdiction of such developments lies.

We will keep supporters updated regarding any movement to planned stadium developments over the upcoming months.

Matchday Parking and Transport
As a result of increased attendances, we have explored ways in which to make matchdays more accessible and efficient from a transport perspective. This has included the potential introduction of a paid matchday ‘shuttle bus’ service from Walton-on-Thames station and the High Street, which will be explored in further detail with the Surrey County Council in upcoming months.

We are aware that parking at the Xcel Sports Hub is becoming increasingly limited on matchdays, and therefore encourage supporters to explore more efficient means of travelling to and from the ground, such as the existing 564 bus route from Hersham station, car-sharing with fellow match-going supporters, or parking in surrounding areas to the stadium and walking to the ground.

The club will continue to explore means of making matchday transport and parking more efficient, and will keep fans updated with any developments.

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For any further enquiries, please email info@waltonhershamfc.com