History

Walton Casuals Football Club was formed in July 1948, owing its early origins to members of the Armed Forces who formed a Sunday side, having played only friendly fixtures throughout the 1946-47 season.

The club commenced its inaugural season in Division 1 of the Surrey Intermediate (Central) League, playing at Elm Grove Recreation Ground. Soon gaining promotion to the Premier Division during the 1952-53 season, Walton Casuals later finished as runners-up on three occasions: 1954-55, 1956-57 and 1964-65. With the disbandment of the Surrey Intermediate (Central) League in 1965, the club opted to move to the league’s Western Section for three seasons.

However, in 1969 Casuals joined the new Surrey Senior League, during which they moved into their recent home at Franklyn Road. Just two years later the Stags become founder members of the Suburban League, and after one season at Walton & Hersham’s Stompond Lane, moved into Liberty Lane at Addlestone for eight seasons. Nonetheless, they soon returned to Franklyn Road – which had remained host to the reserve squad – while playing in the Surrey Combination League.

Walton Casuals scooped their first major honour during the 1982-83 season, as manager Kim Harris guided the club to become champions of the Southern section of the Suburban League, while also setting a league record of an impressive 23 games unbeaten. Casuals could only manage a second-place finish the following year through, falling to Sutton United.

The 1986-87 season produced another impressive display as the Stags reached the Surrey Premier Cup Final, but lost to Croydon before falling into a steady decline in subsequent years – regularly finishing in the bottom two of the Suburban League.

After 21 years of competing in the Suburban League, the club decided to join the Surrey Premier League in June 1992 in order to compete in the pyramid system. Following a year of consolidation, major changes paved the future of the club at Franklyn Road – notably with the reappointment of Kim Harris as first-team manager, who had recently enjoyed a successful spell at Hersham RBL.

With the club expanding into both Sunday and youth football sides in the coming seasons, the club saw greater success in the following years. Lifting the Surrey Premier League Challenge Cup during the 1993-94 season, defeating Holmesdale after a replay, the club also finished as runners-up to Chobham in the league just one year later. Despite losing to Vandyke in the Surrey Premier League Challenge Cup at the second time of asking, the club was promoted to the Combined Counties League in the summer.

However, the progression proved to be a challenge for Casuals. The first four seasons produced treacherous results, and the 1996-97 season saw the side finish bottom of the table. Fortunately, relegation was avoided with the Combined Counties League exercising is prerogative to maintain a minimum number of clubs in the Premier Division. February 1999 produced colossal developments for the club, as with the help of local charities, the installation of floodlights at Franklyn Road was completed – a major step for ground requirements should they progress in the league system.

The appointment of Mick Sullivan and Garry Clark as joint managers in the summer of 1999 brought a dramatic improvement in terms of results. As well as a 5th place finish in the league, the club won the League Cup in 2000, beating Viking Greenford 4-2 in the final at Farnborough. The following season was also a relatively successful one, with a placing of 7th in the table and another appearance in the League Cup Final, beaten on this occasion by double-winners Cove 3-0 at Woking.

Although 2002-03 proved a disappointment with the club finishing in a lowly 18th spot, the seeds of success had been sown with Spencer Collins taking over as first-team manager in November 2002. As a team capable of much better things slowly begun to take shape, ex-West Ham United and Fulham great Tony Gale was installed as Director of Football.

After more team-building in 2003-04 and a big jump up the table to finish in 7th spot, the club took the Combined Counties by storm the ensuing season, finishing an impressive 26 points clear at the top of the table.

After initially failing an FA ground inspection, the club launched a successful appeal and achieved their dream of promotion to Ryman League Division One for 2005-06. Finishing the maiden season in 15th place, subsequent seasons saw the club regularly finish in the bottom half. In 2009-10 the club achieved its best run in the FA Cup reaching the 3rd Qualifying round, before losing to Staines Town.

The club appointed Neil Shipperley manager in the summer of 2010 and managed to finish in 12th place, at the time the Stags’ record league finish in history. During early 2011 the club opened a new clubhouse and new changing facilities. Mick Sullivan returned at the helm in October 2011 following the resignation of Neil Shipperley, but was sacked a year later with ex-Farnborough, Crawley Town and Stevenage manager Danny Carroll taking the reins.

Following a reprieval at the end of the 2012-13 season despite another imminent relegation, ex-Kingstonian assistant Mark Hams was instated as manager, with his brother Neil joining as assistant manager. Within their first season, the Hams brothers led the team to a club record league finish of 9th place.

However, after struggling in their second season, Hams and the club decided to part their ways after nine league defeats without a single point. Players Liam Collins and Simon Huckle took up temporary coaching roles at the club, before being handed the permanent opportunity in November 2014. Results improved considerably, and with Liam Collins opting to take the role permanently, soared up the table to avoid a likely relegation. Achieving a historic double over Walton & Hersham for the first time in the club’s history, an 18th placed finish defied expectations and saw much improvement in the latter half of the campaign.

Having ensured safety, Collins opted to step down as manager in order to prolong his playing career. Anthony Gale was then unveiled as first team manager prior to pre-season. Bringing in a mixture of former professionals – youthful and experienced – Gale saw a number of players to have featured under himself, Collins and Hams go to on sign professional deals elsewhere. Working alongside his number two, Jack Johnson, he also introduced Steve Sallis and Perry Gough as coaches in February 2016.