London Seaward FC: Club Statement
London Seaward are proud to confirm that we have secured a long-term groundshare arrangement with Redbridge FC. From the 2023/2024 season onwards, Oakside Stadium in Barkingside will become our permanent home. This will keep our club in East London where we belong, and see Redbridge Borough host FA Women’s National League Football in Barkingside from next season onwards.
The struggle to secure a permanent home, with equality of access to pitch and facilities, will be familiar to those involved with women’s football at every level. This is particularly true in London, where lack of affordable pitch or stadium access is an active barrier to the progress of the women’s game. Tenancies are often short-term, fixture or facility priority lacking and costs are high. Those costs, for an independent women’s club, can also be more than financial. They can include pressure to surrender your identity.
From our first conversation with Redbridge FC, and their ownership, we have been treated as footballing equals. As London Seaward FC. We are excited to explore the future of football at Oakside alongside them. This includes our support for planning permission to secure a 3G pitch, which would allow both clubs to take our support for men and women’s football in the local community to the next level.
Our excitement, however, is tinged with sadness. Whilst we have always seen ourselves as an East London club in general, Waltham Forest, and Walthamstow in particular, have always been our home. We are proud of the community we have been part of in Walthamstow, and had no desire to leave the borough. Unfortunately, circumstances meant that securing a long-term licence to play London Seaward games at Wadham Lodge (Match Day Centres) looked increasingly unlikely to the club as the season progressed.
We had hoped to explore the option of playing some matches at Wadham Lodge to maintain our connection to our ‘home’ borough. Unfortunately Match Day Centres have informed us that this is not in the interest of the ground, and our licence to play at Wadham Lodge has been terminated with immediate effect. Despite this, we hope our fans and community in Walthamstow will continue to come watch us play. We’ll only be a few Tube stops away!
For women’s football fans in Redbridge, we can’t wait for you to get to know us. We certainly can’t wait to get to know you. For women’s football fans in Walthamstow, we are sorry that you are losing your most senior FA Women’s National League club. It was not our first choice to leave. But we want to stress that we remain a club for all of East London, and we hope to continue the community and mascot events we undertook in Walthamstow, with council support where appropriate, as well as expand those out now to include Redbridge as well.
We also wish Walthamstow FC the best of luck with their newly-announced women’s team.
We look forward to seeing old fans, and new, at Oakside Stadium next season, and we will provide more updates on our move ahead of the new season.
If you are a female player in the Redbridge area excited about the potential to play in the FANWL with us, then registration for squad trials ahead of next season is currently open: https://londonseawardfc.com/trials/