Cray Wanderers – In Memoriam – Wally Hill

All at Cray Wanderers are saddened to learn of the passing on Christmas Eve of Wally Hill, a dedicated follower of the Wands in recent years but renowned around local football as a coach and student of the game.

Wally grew up close to the Wands old Grassmeade ground in St Mary Cray and watched Cray play in many matches including floodlit games in the mid 50’s and 60’s.

Wally had a lowkey football playing experience in the Bromley League but his main passion was always coaching rather than playing and became Assistant Manager at Swanley Town and at the end of the 1972-72 season stepped up to the Manager role and led the Swans to the London League title.  

He went on to local rivals Alma Swanley leading them to the Metropolitan London League Cup in 1973-74 and came runners up to the Wands in the Metropolitan League in 1974-75 and led Alma to success in the Kent Senior Trophy beating Swanley Town in 1976

Wally moved on to Cray as a coach alongside Harry Richardson and John Stevens from the 1979-80 season and over the next two seasons set high standards as the Wands now back in the Kent League finished runners up in 1979-80 and reached the last 8 of the FA Vase. The following season Cray were not to be denied and perhaps the Wands greatest team won the league for the first time since 1901-02.

The management team left ahead of the 1981-82 season and Wally moved on to become manager at Crockenhill and achieved remarkable success guiding the Crocks to the Kent League title in 1982-83 and later managed AFC Egerton who played their home games on St Mary Cray Rec and guided them to a famous victory against Folkestone Invicta in the Kent Senior Trophy.  Wally also managed at Sunday league level at Thomas Wood FC guiding them to league and cup success.

As his coaching career came to an end, Wally became a dedicated follower of local football, and sport in general and was a minefield of information, stories and trivia across the sporting spectrum.  Wally was a regular at Cray Wanderers home games and occasionally away in the company of Wands fan Les Hain who drove him to matches and also clubs like Welling United, Ebbsfleet United, Dartford etc.

Wally was a great man, approachable, full of fun stories and truly loved watching the Wands whether in good times or bad and the Boxing Day victory at Margate was dedicated to the memory of Wally Hill, a coaching sensation from the Cray’s who achieved so much at local clubs and gave us many warm memories.

Details about the funeral/memorial service for Wally will be announced in due course.