Over the next term, HSC will be attempting to discover the identity of Hampton’s Greatest Sporting Moment, with your help. This article details Max Kretzschmar’s EFL debut, and will compete against three other moments in Group One. Vote in our Twitter poll on Friday to decide your favourite moments – the winner will progress to the quarter-final stage!
Hampton’s Greatest Sporting Moments Group One: Max Kretzschmar makes EFL debut
Max Kretzschmar joined Hampton in the Third Year. He arrived with something of a reputation as a footballing prodigy at the outstanding academy run by Southampton. The likes of Theo Walcott and Adam Lallana had already emerged from the South Coast club, but at 14, Max moved on to Brentford and then to Wycombe Wanderers as he sought an opening in the professional game.
Leaving Hampton with ten GCSEs, Max got his chance in the Wycombe first team in the autumn of 2013 while still just 19 years old. He made an immediate impact. Coming on at half time in a league match away to Hartlepool with the scores tied at 0 – 0, Max scored twice to win the game for Wycombe: his first a fine strike from 25 yards, his second a clip past the home keeper after a Wycombe breakaway move.
“I put Max on at half time,” explained Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth after the match. “Max gives us something else going forward. It paid off because of two goals from him. He is a great kid and I’m really pleased for him.” Max made 41 appearances for Wycombe in that debut season, scoring six times in all to end the season as Wycombe’s third-top goal-scorer just behind the two strikers. By the time his career at Wycombe came to an end in the summer of 2016, Max had played 85 times, scoring nine top-level goals
There followed four seasons in the National League and the National League South as Max consolidated his reputation as a goal-scoring midfielder: in what might be called Divisions Four, Five and Six, Max has appeared 189 times and scored 41 goals.
Highlights of Max’s time at Wycombe include the dramatic final day of the 2013 – 4 season, when Wycombe needed to win away to Torquay to secure their league status – they collected a 3 – 0 victory and saw relegation rivals Bristol Rovers lose at home – and the play-off final the following season, when Wycombe, having finished fourth in the table, lost on penalties to fifth-placed Southend. Contrasting emotions reflecting those two impostors: triumph and disaster.
Since then there have been further highlights: the final day of the 2016 – 7 season, when Max, now playing for Woking in the National League, scored the goal that guaranteed a 1 – 1 draw against Dagenham and Redbridge to secure safety; and the victory over Welling United in the National League South play-off final in 2019 that won promotion back to the National League for Woking at the first time of asking.
Max, now studying sports journalism at university, still aims to return to the Football League at some stage in the future – he is still only 26 – where his many fans will hope he can repeat the impact he made when he first stepped onto the pitch as a raw 19 year-old to change the course of the match.
Mr Peter Smith, Teacher i/c, Hampton Sports Chronicle
This moment will be judged in Group One, alongside the First XV’s victory at the St. Joseph’s National Festival in 2015, the First XI’s National T20 final in 2005, and the First VIII’s Triple in 1988.