If a player signs more than once, it’s usually a good sign – and that’s the viewpoint we took when Josh Walker returned in 2011. The midfielder had already spent some time at the Lamex on loan in late 2010 after he joined Watford. The Hornets couldn’t offer him first team action in his initial few months at Vicarage Road – but Boro’ could. It’s fair to say that first loan was a success, with Walker scoring on debut against AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup. So, there was no sense of disappointment when he returned early in the 2011-2 season.
By the time he was back at the Lamex, Walker had sandwiched another loan in between his two spells with us; going back to Northampton Town, where he’d spent time while on the books at former club Middlesbrough. In coming back to us, however, things didn’t go as well as hoped. Graham Westley revealed: “He knew he wasn’t going to walk straight into the side. But I was hoping he was going to develop and evolve and give us another option down the right hand side. It hasn’t quite worked out and he’s gone back to his parent club.”
Josh Walker: Before Boro’
In addition to the Cobblers, Walker went out on loan to AFC Bournemouth and Rotherham United as a young Middlesbrough player. He even picked up some Scottish Premier League experience on loan at Aberdeen. He then made the move to Watford in summer 2010, which is the club he was at when joining us on loan (twice).
Josh Walker: After Boro’
In January 2012, Walker agreed a permanent move to Scunthorpe United. But he’d already featured for both ourselves and Watford so far that season. It meant he couldn’t join the Iron unless it was an emergency loan. Ultimately, a solution was found to keep Walker at Scunny until the end of that season – and that’s when the transfer was (finally) made permanent. All that faff felt a little in vain come the end of the 2012-3 season too; Scunny allowing the player to move on.
The next campaign saw Walker turn out for Gateshead – though we’re not sure if a year on Tyneside had any impact on his decision to quit English football for Indian champions Bengaluru FC in July 2014. His time there came to a premature end in January 2016 due to injury, with Walker coming back to the UK. He’d spend some time out of the game in the months that followed; eventually emerging in January 2017 by signing for Scottish League Two side Edinburgh City.
Walker’s injury problems would persist over the next couple of years and prompted his decision to call it quits; the curtain coming down on his pro career in January 2019. He did, however, go on to play semi-pro football in Scotland in the years that followed.