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John Walton (1956-2019)

19 Apr 2019

A tribute for our former striker who sadly passed away last week.

John Walton 1956-2019

Cheshunt 1973-1983
146 appearance, 44 goals

by Jim Tuite.

(John Walton, back row, 2nd from the right)

All at Cheshunt Football Club were saddened to hear that former striker John Walton had passed away on Wednesday 10th April, after being diagnosed with with pancreatic cancer last year.
A local lad from Goffs Oak, John played for Cheshunt Youth alongside Colin Hyde. The pair were spotted by Chelsea’s Scouts and spent a few months at Stamford Bridge before returning to Theobalds Lane where new Manager John Drabwell thrust them both into the first team just before Christmas in the 1972/73 season in a Premier midweek floodlit league game at Walthamstow Avenue where John scored Cheshunts only goal in a 2-1 defeat. Alongside Rowland Cray, George Berryman and John Cerasoli, all in their late teens/early twenties, they formed the core of Drabwells young new side that he imposed his ideas upon and would go onto give the Club its biggest haul of trophies since the 1940’s. Victories in the London Charity Cup (1974), Athenian league Cup and East Anglian Cup (1975) were crowned by an Athenian league Championship and league cup double in 1976 with John Waltons powerful performances up front being a key element of that sides success. The clubs top goalscorer in 1975, John was mature beyond his years and the target of several other non-league sides but told Drabwell he had little interest in leaving Cheshunt saying ‘bar Spurs or Arsenal want to sign me, don’t bother telling me about offers from other clubs as I’d rather stay here’.
In August 1977 he scored his final goal for Cheshunt in a 2-2 draw at home to Tring. Just before half time he took a bad knock and should have been substituted. However he reappeared in the second half but soon went down again. He had ruptured his cruciate ligament – a career ending injury. Remarkably he battled back to make a couple of appearances before the end of that campaign but was by his own admission was not the same player as his pace was no longer there. He remained at Cheshunt, spending the majority of his time in the reserves, before leaving at the end of the 1979-80 season to join Hoddesdon. During 1982-83 he returned for a handful of games, making his final appearance at Maidenhead in January 1983.
All who remember him as a player agree that his 44 goals in 146 appearances for the Ambers would have been at least doubled were it not for the knee injury he received aged only 23. Had he been playing today, with modern surgery methods, he may well have returned to full fitness yet John accepted his injury, showed no bitterness towards football, remaining upbeat and staying friends with team mates John Poole, Stuart Parker and particularly Jeff Burling for the rest of his life.
John Walton was a hugely popular figure with all his fellow players, spectators and club officials and was a familiar face at the many reunions that have taken place at Theobalds Lane in recent years. He will be deeply missed by all those who were lucky enough to have known him.

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