Hendon Football Club was saddened to learn of the recent death of former Hendon player Walter Koller. He was 70 years old.
If you had walked through Clitterhouse Playing Fields next to the club's Claremont Road ground on a Saturday afternoon, you might have watched a match involving a team wearing the official full Swiss national kit. It was the Swiss Bank’s team, who played in a low-level Saturday league, and in the days before shirt sponsorship, the Swiss FA provided the bank’s football team the red shirts and white shorts of the Switzerland team, with the national badge too.
The 21-year-old was a trainee banker working in London, and he approached the club for a trial. He was quickly signed on and made his first-team debut at the end of September 1972, playing on the left wing in a goalless draw against Bishop’s Stortford at Claremont Road.
For the next three months Walter was a regular, starting in 13 matches, and was never on the losing side. The most important of these games was the Barassi Cup first leg tie against Unione Calcistioa Valdinievole, a game the Greens won 2–0.
As well as the 13 starts, Walter was named as a substitute in a handful of matches – including the return leg of the Barassi Cup (a 1–1 draw). Unfortunately, our records from those days don’t show if any substitutes were used.
Walter’s days at Hendon came to an end in December 1972 when he took a job overseas but his association with the club did not end there. He was a founding member of the Hendon FC Supporters Trust and sponsored a number of players' kits and match balls in his time as a Trust member. In fact, his association with the club could be regarded as continuing beyond his death as we have recently been made aware that his will included a bequest to the club.
Rest in peace Walter Koller.