Past Legends - Andy Walker
Player Legends 20 of 24

20. Past Legends - Andy Walker

Stats: as at 5 Dec 2020
Cray Valley (PM) (2017 - 2020 )
Appearances 139
Penpix: Aug 2020
Experienced Club captain and Goalkeeper, “Walks” led the side in our historic first season at Step 4. Andy featured in the Football League for Colchester United and Exeter City early in his career, before enjoying successful spells at Bromley, Maidstone United, Cray Wanderers and Thurrock among other local non-league clubs. He recovered from an horrific knee injury to achieve a career highlight when leading out The Millers in the 2018/19 FA Vase Final at Wembley, along with skippering the side to the SCEFL title, and has made 139 appearances for the Club.
Andy and Cray Valley (PM) parted ways in April 2021 and is likely to be paying for Erith Town next season but Andy will always be a club legend.

Interview Nov 2020
As we take an enforced mid-season break following our exit from the FA Cup, we look at those at the Club who have made more than 100 first team appearances for the Millers.Interview with Richard J Green.

I first came across Andy, or ‘Walks’ at the start of the 2015/16 season.
Joining Thamesmead Town under new manager Terry Spillane, Walks replaced popular Rob Budd between the sticks at Bayliss Avenue, much to the chagrin of Mead followers.
In no time at all however, it became clear to all that here was a winner, a leader, and a thoroughly nice guy to boot.
With Football League experience at Colchester United and Exeter City, Andy soon became an integral part of a Thamesmead side looking destined for success before - following a change of manager - a horrendous knee injury while playing at Great Wakering Rovers interrupted his career and would have finished lesser men.
Within months, Walks was looking to get back to playing – joining Maldon & Tiptree in the Isthmian League North division at the start of the following season in a bid to revive his career. As opportunities became limited with The Jammers, Walks took a call from (then new) Millers manager Kevin Watson - offering the opportunity to join the revolution taking place in Eltham.
“Maldon were, and still are, a very progressive Club and couldn’t wait for my fitness to be where I needed it to be, so they brought in a young lad from Colchester who did well.
I’d had an offer from Kevin – he’d rung me up and asked I wanted to go to Cray, and I’d half turned it down ‘cos I thought I was playing at the level I should be at - Cray being in the SCEFL at the time. But after a few more games, the young lad was performing so well that Maldon advised me to look at any other options that might still be open.
I called Kev back and that was it – it was a done deal.
I knew Kev from playing with him – I also knew (Assistant Manager) Tommy Osborne and a few of the boys that the Gaffer had brought in to steady the ship, so it just made sense really to come in , sound it out and see if it fits for both of us”.
Playing at a level he’d never experienced before, Walks described the surroundings as he made his debut at Rochester United as “not a particularly nice pitch, set up, stadium etc. It wasn’t a standard I was used to playing at so I thought ‘I’m gonna come here, get some games, get fit, and see where that takes me.’ I was just happy to be back playing but I thought I wanted to push on and get back to where I wanted to be.
But from an early stage I was loving every minute of it – it fitted perfectly for me. It was helping my rehab and working with Kev was very easy because I knew him on a player level. He was very open and honest with me, as I could be with him - same with Ossie.
When I joined, I think we’d lost our first nine games or something. It became clear to Kev that he needed to bring his own people in – people that would give their all for him.
We were second or third from bottom in the league – by the end of the season we were in with a shout for it - we finished sixth in the end.
It was just very enjoyable, we had a great changing room – a credit to Kev. Time and time again he puts it together – it’s not just what you do with your feet with Kev, he also gets the right people in.”
Prior to the following season, Watson and Osborne asked Andy whether he wanted to get someone in to help him prepare for matches, so he called his previous coach at Thamesmead, Craig Gibson. “I wasn’t really sure if it would work for Craig, but then I found out that one of the youngsters who knew him from Thamesmead had asked him to come in and work with the lads. So I got back in touch with Craig, and I haven’t been able to get rid of him since!”
So we’re 3 years on you’re still here……”The way that the Club is run – it engulfs you. It’s more than a football Club.
At other Clubs, you’ll get fined if you leave the bar before 6 o’clock – at this Club, 9 times out of 10 on a Saturday, I’m still getting videos come through on our player’s group at 11 o’clock with a core of boys still at the Club – having a drink and a chat with the Committee, the supporters, everything.”
Looking forward, while he doesn’t specifically put on coaching sessions for the younger goalkeepers – his own playing needs remaining his priority – Andy enjoys getting involved with ‘Gibbo’ and passing on advice.
“This year we’ve had eight or nine goalkeepers at the Club, - in their teens or early twenties - that have probably not trained in the same way that we train, so anything I can give on the playing side - or Craig on the coaching side - as advice, really helps them out. That’s my input, rather than putting on sessions.”
Known for his amusing “banter” with opposing supporters, Andy has a unique way of turning a “hostile” crowd in his favour.
A ‘sprightly 39 year old’ with over 900 senior appearances behind him, Walks remains a commanding figure behind the Team and harbours no plans to move into management or coaching in the future.
“I’ve been doing this for a very long time – it’s been Saturdays, Tuesdays, Thursdays for a lot of years and your whole life is structured around it.
Not only my life, but my wife Kath and two children, Charlie and Mia.
Once the time comes to stop, that will be the time to start paying that back”.
After 138 games for the Millers and showing no sign of easing up, let’s hope that’s not to be for a while yet.