The Insolvency Service has seized control of the warehouse next to the Old Spotted Dog Ground, in a dramatic and positive breakthrough.

The warehouse site, which is next to the turnstiles and contains a yard and a building including the dressing rooms, is separate to the ground itself.

The warehouse – bought with a grant from Sport England – has been in use for many years for car breakers, repairs, sales and long term parking despite planning permission being refused.

According to the Newham Council website, an ‘enforcement order’ was issued in May 2020, then a ‘compliance with enforcement order’ in December 2020, but without success.

The charity, Newham Community Leisure, which owns the freehold to the warehouse, was placed in liquidation in 2017 by Clapton FC chief executive Vince McBean, who was a charity trustee.

With no sign of the insolvency case being resolved, Mr McBean’s liquidator ST Bennett & Co has now relinquished its role and the Insolvency Service has taken direct control.

Witnesses saw representatives of the IS visit on Monday to secure the property and change the locks to prevent further unauthorised use.

It is understood the home dressing room had been acting as a speakeasy bar with other rooms being used for storage.

One neighbour said they saw a group let themselves into the changing rooms bar each night, even throughout lockdown.

A person who was using the yard to store cars said they paid rent in cash to someone who visited weekly and gave the name (understood to be a pseudonym) and description of the man in question.

It is not known if the liquidator ST Bennett & Co and the Charity Commission knew or approved any of the commercial activity taking place.

The members-owned football club Clapton CFC was founded in 2018 in the aftermath of the liquidation of the charity that leased the Old Spotted Dog Ground and owned the warehouse. 

Mr McBean liquidated that charity in 2017, appointing ST Bennett & Co, claiming he was personally owed £164,123 for unspecified spending and wanted his money back.  

That is disputed and is still due to be heard in the high courts at an unspecified time. 

The liquidation sparked a chain of events that also saw Mr McBean’s Clapton losing the lease on the OSDG after it failed to pay the rent via the liquidated charity.

After a three-way bidding process, members-owned Clapton CFC bought the rest of the Old Spotted Dog Ground from Heineken.

However, the warehouse was not owned by Heineken but by the liquidated charity Newham Community Leisure outright.

The warehouse had been purchased by NCL before Mr McBean’s tenure at the ground using a grant from Sport England.

It is understood ST Bennett & Co declined to discuss renting the dressing rooms to Clapton CFC since it took over.

Without access to the changing rooms, Clapton CFC has been forced to start building its own, next to the main stand, which is set to cost a six-figure sum.

Seven years ago the Charity Commission launched an investigation, and have since upgraded it to a ‘statutory inquiry’, a higher level. However, it has still not acted.

It is unclear what action the Insolvency Service will take next, but any attempts to sell the building will be complicated by the high court legal action, and the fact that it is covered by an Asset of Community Value order.

The ACV means that the property would need to be offered for purchase to a community group first, who would have six months to raise the money.

This is a massive blow to Mr McBean.

After liquidating the charity, he ought to have had no access or connection with the Old Spotted Dog site at all. Instead he’s been able to carry on collecting rent, cash in hand, on the warehouse and yard, even in spite of a council enforcement order.

Mr McBean – banned by the FA from all football activity (appeal pending) and subject of a Charity Commission inquiry, don’t forget – has also been able to use the changing rooms as a makeshift bar, even during lockdown.

We are delighted that the Insolvency Service have stepped in to change the locks and we hope this may hasten his departure from Clapton FC and indeed football and the charity sector.

We also remind all football fans that a boycott is in place of all Clapton FC home games in order to deprive Mr McBean of funds. Spend your cash on fan-owned Clapton CFC or any other local football team instead.


In a new statement by Vince McBean’s Clapton, in response to our article on their opaque crowdfunding campaign, his club vowed to be open, transparent and fair from now on.

Long-term readers will know that lack of transparency was a big part in the split between Clapton fans and McBean’s club. Amid the murkiness of court cases, investigations, huge crowds but claimed debts, fans asked many questions but answers came there none. In fact an article on McBean’s website reiterates that they wouldn’t be answering our questions.

Eventually, when the Old Spotted Dog Ground charity was liquidated and at risk of being lost forever, the life members and all fans groups took the painful but necessary decision to break away.

This new vow of transparency didn’t get off to a great start with the vague Clapton clubhouse crowdfunding appeal, which declined to name the venue, photograph the facility or give details about how the funds would be used.

However, let’s take them at their word, they have pledged transparency and openness from here on in, so here are some basic questions which would be a good starting point to answer…

1. Who owns Clapton FC?

2. Who are the members of Clapton FC?

3. How does someone become a member?

4. Is membership still closed for restructuring?

5. How many members are there?

6. Do the life members remain members?

7. What is Mr McBean’s role at the club and how much of it does he own?

8. What is the latest with Mr McBean’s FA ban, has his appeal against his ban from all footballing activity been heard yet?

9. The 200k debts claimed by Mr McBean and his associates, what was that money spent on?

10. Will you repay the rent Hackney Wick paid you for the OSD that they weren’t able to use?

11. Will you settle the historic debts left unpaid from the Old Spotted Dog (utilities etc)?

12. If so, what postal address can be used? Newham Leisure Centre are declining to accept postage for Clapton FC/Mr McBean.

13. How does your crowdfunder work, will you hand over the cash to landlords Newham Council, or have they given you rights to refurbish the cabin?

14. Any reason the crowdfunder is in a personal name, rather than in the club’s name, and not on the club website?

15. How will donors know the money is going to this specific purpose and not a general club pot?


The latest person to risk trashing their reputation by associating with Vince McBean, his new chairman Chris Ottaway, caused a stir online this week… although not the positive reaction he hoped.

Ottaway, a former Epping Town FC and Harlow Town FC chairman, launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for the renovation of a clubhouse for McBean’s Clapton.

Crowdfunders are common in football and elsewhere, of course, but Ottaway’s page raised many eyebrows more for what it didn’t say rather than what it did.

In short, the GoFundMe appeal gives very few details away. Not even the location of the clubhouse, never mind photos of it, nor specifics of what precisely any donations would be spent on.

So where exactly is this clubhouse?

Anyone intrigued by the lack of details in the fundraising page may decide to visit the website for McBean’s Clapton.

Here you’ll see a photo of the Old Spotted Dog Ground, references to E7 and Upton Lane, and a claim they have played there since their inception (not true, there were ten years before they moved there, and two since they left),

But of course, the fundraiser isn’t going to the Old Spotted Dog Ground, as McBean stopped paying the rent on it and lost the lease in 2019.

So to clear up the confusion, because McBean’s Clapton clearly don’t want to, we have dug into the project for more details.

McBean’s Clapton now hire the pitch at the council-owned athletics track, the Terence McMillan Stadium, adjoining Newham Leisure Centre.

Anyone who has visited this rather basic venue will know that there is no clubhouse as such at the moment, though this is a requirement for Step 5 football. 

In fact there is a whole list of features that the Terry Mac should have, in order to host football at this level or even one level below, but doesn’t. We imagine a sympathetic ground assessor, county FA and league have given McBean’s Clapton and fellow tenants Athletic Newham FC a grace period to sort.

Anyway, we believe the clubhouse in question is a communal area in a portable cabin inside the Terence McMillan Stadium grounds.

You can see a photo of it at the top of this page… it’s the square grey cabin in the middle, just above the corner flag.

This cabin isn’t owned by McBean’s Clapton, but they and other stadium tenants such as East End Road Runners and Athletic Newham all have rights to use it.

The cabin houses some toilets, showers, a cupboard, and a communal area with a sink and a fridge. 

It’s this communal area – which you can see in this photo below – that we expect is the subject of the mystery fundraising plan. They must have secured permission from the council, or be planning to ask for it, to modify it.

We reckon it could house 25 at a squeeze, and doesn’t have a licence, and there’s clearly no room for a bar beyond possibly drinks in a fridge. 

You could imagine it being used for post-match meals for players, and half-time Bovril for officials, but there’s very little space to accommodate anyone else.

Ottaway could have just been honest – ‘our club plays at the Terry Mac, it needs a clubhouse, we can convert a communal area into something passable’.

However, he instead has kept the fundraising page vague, and despite suggestions via Twitter has declined to even list the name of the venue, while blocking critics and muting questions. The McBean way.

Why the vagueness?

So many on Twitter have wondered the same thing – is the vagueness, the refusal not to reveal anything at all about the clubhouse, deliberate rather than forgetfulness?

No one who knows any of the shenanigans of McBean – a man banned from all footballing activity by the FA (appeal pending), who ripped off charities, and left the Old Spotted Dog Ground in an appalling state – would dream of donating cash to him.

But there are many casual observers who won’t know the difference between McBean’s Clapton and the fans-owned, fans-run breakaway Clapton CFC.

Many may see a ‘Clapton clubhouse fundraiser’ and assume it’s the one at London’s oldest football ground, the Old Spotted Dog, the former home of McBean’s Clapton, now owned outright by CCFC.

One CCFC supporter we know mistakenly donated £30 (he has since been able to retract it). You’d have to wonder whether one of the five other donors to the page, ‘St Pauli Alte Meister’, is a confused CCFC well-wisher too.

Whenever Clapton CFC has gone viral, for every 10 people who have followed the club’s social media pages as a result, generally 1 confused supporter has also followed Vince’s Clapton too. That’s why Vince’s Clapton added several thousand Spanish language followers on Twitter in a short period.

Perhaps those followers will dip into their pockets in the belief they are helping the fan-owned custodians of the Old Spotted Dog Ground, not the vehicle of a man who failed to pay the rent and who drove his entire fanbase away.

It’s a strange irony that McBean’s Clapton already has more to gain in being mistaken for Clapton CFC, than the other way round.

Witness the ‘About Us’ page screenshot above – packed with search terms relevant to Clapton CFC (E7, Old Spotted Dog) – rather than McBean’s Clapton.

And the first line – ‘Clapton FC is a community based club’ – is particularly interesting, since a search of archive.org shows it wasn’t there a few months before Clapton Community FC was founded.

In short, it seems the online model of McBean’s Clapton is to actively target people looking for the fan owned club.

So should you donate?

Erm, no.

  • If McBean’s Clapton are so secretive they won’t even tell you the venue of his clubhouse, how confident are you that your donation will be used as claimed? No mention is made of any transparency or ring-fencing of your donation.
  • McBean is still involved in various legal battles – which we hope to be in a position to update readers about soon – so you could be helping him fund those instead.
  • All Clapton fans groups, whether active, dormant or defunct, are united in maintaining a home boycott of McBean’s Clapton games to not give him a penny to fund such legal battles.


A strange error regarding Vince McBean’s Clapton FC made by the London FA has recently surfaced.

Its handbook – distributed to clubs and also available online – listed Essex Senior League official Michelle Dorling as the Clapton FC club secretary and main contact. 

However, the league and club website both list long-standing Shirley Doyle as holding the role.

Intrigued, we asked both Mrs Dorling and the club who assured us that this was a mistake.

Mrs Dorling said: “Unfortunately that is a London FA error. I can confirm that I have never been Clapton FC Secretary and that Shirley Doyle has been the Secretary in all the time that I have been dealing with Clapton FC.”

An email from secretary@claptonfc.com quickly followed, assumed to be from Shirley: “I have been the club secretary for the past decade, if you need to contact the official Clapton Football Club.”

This is the first communication we have had from the club despite many emails, since they announced in May 2018 that they would no longer reply to any queries.

Many league committee members combine their role with working with a club, so there is nothing to stop Mrs Dorling from doing the same.

Mrs Dorling did attend Vince McBean’s FA hearing on October 28th, 2019 as his representative when he was banned from all footballing activity.

The latest we heard was that he been allowed to continue in football until an appeal is heard.


Vince McBean has been allowed back to work in football again while he appeals his total ban, the Essex Senior League tells us.

The Clapton FC chief executive was banned from all football activity by the FA, effective October 30th 2019, for repeatedly declining to answer questions about how he came to take over the club.

The suspension bans him from performing any function or even attending games.

However, we reported that he had been pictured at a game on November 26th 2019, collecting gate money and mingling with attendees.

Since then we’ve been contacted by many people to say he had been seen at other Clapton FC games, and also at the Essex Senior League’s club meeting on January 16th, 2020.

But the ESL tell us that was all above board, and he has been allowed back pending an appeal.

An ESL spokesperson told us: “You are correct, he has been attending football, at grounds and at the league meeting.

“He has appealed so until that is heard he is able to continue in his role at Clapton FC.

“We do not have a date for any appeal hearing, that is a matter for the FA and Mr McBean to sort.”

It’s unclear when the appeal was lodged, but it must have been after December 28th 2019, since an article on Mr McBean’s website on that date confirms that his ban is active.

That puts a question mark over his attendance at the game on November 26th, and any other other activity he carried out after his ban was imposed but before his appeal was lodged.

In case of any doubt, the metadata of our photo above shows it was taken at the club’s new home ground of Southchurch Arena in Southend, at a game.

If further witnesses were required as to his presence among a crowd of 36, five Twitter accounts were also providing minute by minute updates on the game, including the ESL’s own @essexsenior account.


Vince McBean attended Clapton FC’s game against Saffron Walden Town on Wednesday night despite his ban from all football, we can reveal.

Our correspondent travelled to Southend Manor’s Southchurch Park Arena ground, the club’s new home, to see who was running the club in Mr McBean’s absence

However, they were shocked to find Mr McBean himself there mingling with attendees and sent us photos, including the one above.

Other spectators tell us that he collected the gate money during the game – no one was on the turnstile – and that he brought food for the players afterwards.

Mr McBean was banned from all footballing activity – a so-called sine die suspension – last month due to his failure to attend FA hearings.

The FA would like to question him over unspecified allegations relating to his conduct when first becoming involved with Clapton FC in 1999.

We have alerted the Essex Senior League – who had several representatives at the game, including one live tweeting goal updates – of a banned individual’s presence among the crowd of 36.

Mr McBean is also still listed as the main club contact on both the club and the ESL websites. There has been no mention from either club or league that he is now banned from football.

The game was delayed for eight minutes while the opposition players and fans erected the goal nets. It eventually finished in a narrow 1-0 win for the visitors.


The FA tried to interview Vince McBean five times over the space of six months without success before eventually banning him, we can reveal.

They wanted to question him over unspecified allegations relating to his conduct when first becoming involved with Clapton FC in 1999.

On three of the five occasions, Mr McBean told the FA that he was unable to attend an interview because of bereavements .

Two deaths meant he himself had to go to funerals abroad, while the other death affected his legal representative, Gabriel Awosika of Astute Legal Solicitors.

Mr McBean had also asked for details of the allegations to be submitted in advance before he would agree to attend any an interview.

In the end, Mr McBean did turn up on October 28th, an hour late, to be asked why he had not attended the hearings despite being compelled to do so.

He was questioned only on why he had not complied with the FA’s request to attend an interview, rather than any specific allegations relating to 1999.

He was supported by Essex Senior League secretary Michelle Dorling but was without legal representation..Mr McBean’s request for Lord Ouseley, former Kick it Out chair, to also accompany him was rejected.

The three-man panel – award-winning lawyer Ifeanyi Odogwu and former top footballers Tony Agana and Bradley Pritchard – unanimously upheld the charge.

Mr McBean was suspended from all footballing activity and was asked to pay £1000 in costs towards the hearing.

He was also told that, if he does wish to submit himself to the FA disciplinary process, a hearing could be arranged within a week. Depending on the result of that, his suspension could be removed.

Four weeks on, there has still been no hearing.

The full minutes of the meeting, from the FA website, are below.


Regulatory Commission: Ifeanyi Odogwu – Independent Legal Panel Member
Tony Agana – Independent Football Panel Member
Bradley Pritchard – Independent Football Panel Member
Secretary: Michael O’Connor – Regulatory Commissions & Appeals Officer
Date: 28 October 2019
Attending: Vincent McBean, Participant.
Rebecca Turner (Advocate, representing the FA)
Leon Goldman, Integrity Investigator
Michelle Dorling, Participant’s witness.

1. By Charge letter dated 1 August 2019 it was alleged that Vincent McBean
(“VMcB”) was charged with misconduct under FA rule F3 in respect of failing
to comply with requirements under FA Rule F2. It is alleged that he did not
comply with requirements pursuant to FA Rule F2, by failing to answer
questions and provide information at a time and place determined by The
Football Association (“the FA”).
2. This is the decision and Written Reasons of the Commission, following personal
hearing. By necessity it is a summary document, and it is not intended to be a
record of all submissions and evidence adduced. For the avoidance of doubt, the
Commission carefully considered all the evidence and submissions made in this
Background facts
3. There is an extensive factual background to the charges. The FA Senior Integrity
Investigator Leon Goldman (“LG”) produced two statement, dated 18 June 2019
(later corrected to be 18 July 2019), and 30 July 2019 as part of the investigation
which very helpfully sets out the background chronology.
4. VMcB is the Chief Executive of Clapton Football Club.. The FA are investigating
VMcB’s involvement with Clapton Football Club. The Commission understands
some allegations have been made against VMcB, but the details of those
allegations were not shared with us, and neither did they impact on the Charge
that this Commission was considering.
5. LG is employed by the FA as an Integrity Investigator. His duties include the
investigation of alleged breaches of The FA Rules and Regulations. As part of his investigation into VMcB and the circumstances of him taking up a senior role
within Clapton FC, he intended to conduct a formal FA interview with him at
Wembley Stadium.
6. On 30th April 2019, LG e-mailed VMcB requesting that he attend an interview at
Wembley Stadium. LG also included a deadline of 8th May 2019 to respond to
this request.
7. On 20th May 2019 LG sent a further e-mail to VMcB as he had not received any
response from him.
8. On 21st May 2019 VMcB responded to LG via e-mail stating that he was abroad
‘burying a friend’, that he would be back in ten days and that he wanted a copy
of the information the FA has around the allegation.
9. On 19th June 2019, LG sent another letter to VMcB with new dates for the
interview as he had missed the previous ones. He also provided some brief
background information around the allegation made against VMcB:
“[…] The allegation relates to the circumstances of you taking up a position at Clapton
FC a number of years ago and the governance of the club since that time. At this stage
the purpose of the meeting is to obtain your account of these events.”
10. On 20th June 2019 VMcB replied to LG via e-mail stating that he would attend
an interview when he had been provided with the same information that had
been given to The FA. He said:
[…] I are more than happy to attend a meeting once I am provided with the same
information that you are using to carry out your investigation. I previously requested
the information but this has not been forthcoming. I do not expect to be provided with
names but so that there is equity and transparency I feel very strongly that I should not
be in the dark over the allegations being made. […]
11. On 25th June 2019 LG sent VMcB another letter requesting that he attend an
interview with The FA, again providing new dates for the interview to take
place. An accompanying e-mail to this letter also provided further background
information around the allegation.
[…] I have previously indicated to you that the allegations made against you relate to a
time when you took up a role at Clapton, which I believe was in 1999. The purpose of any
FA interview would be to discuss this period of time and the subsequent years covering
some of your involvement in the club. In particular I will be asking some questions
around the AGM in November 1999 and your involvement in said meeting. At this time
I will not be forwarding any further information on which I will be relying upon in any
interview and welcome you to choose a suitable date to attend Wembley so this enquiry
can be progressed […]
12. LG gave VMcB a deadline of 1st July to respond to this letter around providing
a date for the interview.
13. On 8th July 2019, LG sent a fourth letter, via email to VMcB as he had not
responded by the above deadline. LG provided more dates for an interview and
he also included The FA’s powers of enquiries under FA Rule F1. He outlined
VMcB’s obligations as a Participant under this rule. The letter gave a deadline of
15th July 2019 for VMcB to respond by.
14. On 15th July 2019 VMcBsent LG an e-mail stating that he had handed this matter
to his solicitors and that they would contact The FA. He did not provide any
dates to attend the interview.
15. LG then received an e-mail from Gabriel Awosika of Astute Legal Solicitors who
stated that they would not be able to attend an interview until the end of August
as their diary was “full up”.
16. On 18th July 2019 LG sent what was now the fifth letter to VMcB and included
Mr. Awosika. This e-mail provided more dates for the interview to be conducted,
and again reminded both parties of VMcB’s obligations under FA rules.
17. Mr. Awosika replied requesting that The FA do not contact VMcB directly and
that they are only available to attend the interview on 24th, 25th or 26th
September 2019.
18. On 29 July 2019, in an email directed to Mr. Awosika and copying in the FA,
VMcB stated.
“[…] Please inform Mr. Goldman that I will not be attending any meeting about a
subject matter of 20 years ago, without information being provided about the same to me
first. It is totally, not acceptable that I’m being asked to attend a meeting which will be
taped and could be used against me at a later date, without me being furnish with the
information. […]”
19. LG subsequently collated copies of the e-mail correspondence between Mr.
McBean, Mr. Awosika and himself which is included in our bundle of papers as
exhibit LPG/1. He retained a copy of the five letters sent to Mr. McBean
requesting that he attend an interview with The FA which is at exhibit LPG/2 in
our papers.
20. As mentioned above, the issue before this Commission relate solely to the
Charge under FA Rule F2. It is alleged that VMcB did not comply with
requirements pursuant to FA Rule F2, by failing to answer questions and provide
information at a time and place determined by the FA.
21. By Reply document dated 9 August 2019, VMcBdenied the charge and requested
a personal hearing.

Relevant Rules
22. Under the FA’s powers of inquiry under Rule F:
1 The Association shall have the power to monitor the compliance by each
Participant with the Rules, the Laws of the Game, the statutes and regulations of
FIFA and UEFA and the rules and regulations of each Affiliated Association and
Competition to which a Participant is subject and/or inquire into any incident,
facts or matters which may constitute misconduct under these Rules. It is for The
Association to determine in its absolute discretion the manner in which it
conducts an inquiry.
2 In carrying out its functions under Rule F1, The Association shall have the
power to require of any Participant upon reasonable notice:
(a) his or her attendance to answer questions and provide information at a time
and place determined by The Association; and
(b) the provision to The Association of documents, information or any other
material of any nature held by the Participant; and
(c) the procurement and provision to The Association of documents, information
or any other material of any nature not held by the Participant but which the
Participant has the power to obtain. It is for The Association to determine the
nature and extent of any material required for disclosure in accordance with (b)
or (c).

Where a Participant is interviewed by The Association pursuant to subparagraph (a) above, such interview may be recorded by any method
determined by The Association in its absolute discretion to be appropriate,
including tape-recording.
A copy of any such recording shall be provided to the Participant as soon as
practicable after the interview.
Any failure by a Participant to comply with any requirement under Rule F2 may
constitute Misconduct under the Rules and The Association may bring a charge
or such charges as it sees fit.
23. Prior to the personal hearing, a number of matters were raised in
24. In a written statement dated 9 August 2019, VMcB claimed that he had been
subject to numerous investigations in previous years as a result of allegations
made by organised groups and individuals which he named. He commented
that his belief was that he will never be treated fairly by some within the FA. He
denied that he refused to attend a meeting, rather what he has requested is more
information about the reason for attending.
25. VMcB went on to request disclosure of a number of documents before the
hearing. Those materials are particularised in paragraph 13 of his witness
statement dated 9 August. In a particularised response, the FA refused to
disclose the material. The issue went for determination by the independent
Judicial Panel Chairman, Mr Christopher Quinlan QC, who refused VMcB’s
request for disclosure for the reasons set out in his decision.

26. On 26 September 2019, in order to set a date for the personal hearing requested
by VMcB, our Secretary Mr. O’Connor invited the parties to inform him whether
they would be unable to attend any one of three proposed dates in around midOctober.
27. The FA were available for two of those dates however on 1 October, Mr. Awosika
stated that none of the dates were appropriate, as “a funeral is being held abroad
and therefore it needs to be attended to”. He requested that dates after the 17th
October should be arranged.
28. Following receipt of the email from Mr McBean’s representative, I as
Chairperson to the Commission requested all parties provide the dates they are
not available between 17th October – 1st November. Regulatory Legal stated
they were available throughout the suggested date range, and VMcB nor his
representatives provided any further observations. The personal hearing was
initially listed for 22 October 2019, however due to an oversight by the FA, LG
was due to be on holiday on this date. VMcB requested the attendance of LG.
The initial hearing date was therefore vacated and a new date of 28 October 2019
was set following VMcB’s confirmation that he was available for this date.
29. In the same correspondence, VMcB requested the attendance of Essex Senior
League Secretary Michelle Dorlings, and in addition “Kickitout and Lord
Ouseley”. Upon request by my directions, VMcB made submission as to why he
considered Ms. Dorlings should attend as a witness, and a representative from
the charity KickItOut and Lord Ouseley attend as observers. VMcB served a
statement of Ms. Dorling. The FA objected to this application. The matter came
before me as a preliminary issue in my capacity as Chairperson. Upon
considering the submissions, I directed that VMcB was permitted to call Ms
Dorling as a witness and be accompanied by his legal representatives, however
having failed to provide the identity of an officer of KickItOut pursuant to my
directions, and in any event failed to persuade me as to their relevance to these proceedings, such persons will not be permitted to observe the hearing. Further,
I was not persuaded as to the relevance of Lord Ouseley to these proceedings
and he was not permitted to observe the hearing.
30. On Friday 25 October 2019, at 16:25, VMcB wrote by email to the FA that “My
solicitor is away on his family bereavement. It is my intention to attend although I will
over the weekend attempt to get legal representative to accompany me for this hearing.”
31. On the same date, at 17:14, VMcB communicated again through email to set out
his formal objection to not being permitted to invite Lord Ouseley and KickItOut.
Personal Hearing
32. The start of the hearing was delayed for 1 hour due to VMcB’s late arrival. He
arrived alone without representation. VMcB wished to raise two preliminary
matters. The first was an application to adjourn the hearing due to the absence
of legal representation. Secondly, VMcB raised an abuse of process argument.
Ms. Turner resisted both applications.
33. Upon considering the submissions raised, we refused the application to adjourn.
Whilst we acknowledge it is far from ideal for VMcB to be unrepresented at the
hearing when he wishes to be. However, this must be balanced against several
competing factors. There has been a protracted history to this case, as set out
above. The Charge letter was issued on 1 August, and relates to events back in
April. Further, in the correspondence from VMcB’s solicitors on 1 October
regarding availability, it was indicated that a funeral was being held abroad, and
therefore to “please arrange dates after the 17th.” We were concerned that despite
listing the hearing date on 16 October 2019 there was no subsequent
correspondence from his solicitors on record that 28 October 2019 was now no
longer available. VMcB was not able to give any specific information about when
or how he came to be informed of the bereavement, and why it was only until
late in the day on Friday afternoon that he raised the issue. He could not demonstrate that he had made attempts to obtain alternative representation. He
also could not give any assurances as to when his solicitor would be available
for a reconvened hearing.
34. In relation to the second application, we addressed our mind to the general legal
principles of abuse of process as they apply in law. The courts have an overriding
duty to promote justice and prevent injustice. From this duty there arises an
inherent power to ‘stay’ an indictment (or stop a prosecution in the criminal
context) if the court is of the opinion that to allow the ‘prosecution’ to continue
would amount to an abuse of the process of the court. Abuse of process is to be
exercised only in exceptional circumstances: Attorney General’s Reference (No 1
of 1990) [1992] Q.B. 630, CA; Attorney General’s Reference (No 2 of 2001) [2004]
2 A.C. 72, HL. The essential focus of the doctrine is on preventing unfairness at
trial, through which the defendant is prejudiced in the presentation of his or her
case. The burden of establishing that the bringing or continuation of proceedings
amounts to an abuse of the court’s process is on the person charged. The
standard of proof is the balance of probabilities: R v Telford Justices ex parte
Badhan [1991] 2 Q.B. 78; R v Great Yarmouth Magistrates ex parte Thomas [1992]
Crim. L.R. 116.
35. We rejected VMcB’s abuse of process application as we did not agree that the
proceedings had been unfair.
36. Once those matters were dealt with, Ms Turner outlined the factual background
and the FA’s case that VMcB had essentially failed to comply with a request to
attend an interview to answer questions and provide information at a time and
place determined by the FA.
37. LG gave evidence and answered questions from both parties and some
clarification points from the Commission. The focus of the questions concerned
the FA’s obligations to disclose material to Participants who may be the subject
of an investigation. LG confirmed that practice differed from case to case and there was no written guidance or policy. When asked why he would not give disclosure in an investigation of this nature, he stated
“Certainly in the nature of this one that stretches over a number of years there’s a lot of
information that I didn’t have and wouldn’t have certainly knowledge of until after the
interview. So there’s always a risk of potential evidence that could go missing or be lost
or other ways to hinder any kind of investigation.”
38. Later in his evidence, he added:
[…] Again, going back to what is under F2, it’s very much just down to the investigator
what, if any, disclosure is given. So it’s a sliding scale. It’s a case of you want to give
enough disclosure for the interview to take place and for a conversation to actually
happen, but you also don’t want to give away every single bit of information you have
because that could hinder the process. So it’s different for every case. There’s no set in
stone kind of guidance or process you would have.
39. LG confirmed that his intention for the interview was gathering information
from VMcB and allowing him to give his version of events. He described that
information can be disclosed during the interview, and if necessary, it can be
paused to allow the Participant to consider disclosure.
40. VMcB gave evidence about the background to the investigation, and his
concerns about malicious third parties who he believed were the source of unfair
allegations against him. He said he had provided the FA with information in
previous investigations, and wanted to have access to the information he had
previously provided. He also felt strongly that it was fair that he receive
disclosure of what allegations were being made against him, before he is asked
questions in a recorded interview.
41. Under questioning, VMcB did not accept the suggestion that the language in
LG’s emails and letters was not accusing him of anything. He said he knew who was behind the allegations. He was asked specifically about his request for disclosure:
Ms. Turner: So is it your case then that you weren’t ever going to that interview
until you had been provided with all the evidence we had in respect of you and your involvement at the club?
VMcB. It would be unfair for The FA to be you can say ambushing me in a meeting with questions about matters from 1995 when I first became involved to when Clapton was rescued in 1999 to 2019. It would be totally unfair and that’s what I’m alluding to.
THE CHAIR: That’s not an answer to the question. The question was: was it your
stance that you would not attend an interview until all that information
that the FA had was given to you?
VMcB: In relation to that matter, yes.
42. In response to questions from the Commission, VMcB said the following:
THE CHAIR: […]. Do you accept that for the reasons you have given, summarising,
you don’t feel you were given adequate disclosure about this
VMcB. Yes.
THE CHAIR: About what you were going to be asked. For those reasons you didn’t
feel it was fair for you to attend an interview?
VMcB Absolutely, but I am here.
THE CHAIR: You are here at the hearing, yes, but this in relation to the F2 charge.
But is it fair to say for those reasons you refused to attend the interview with Mr Goldman?
VMcB I have not refused to attend an interview. What I have said is that I will not go to an interview until the information with regards to this matter has been given to me because it’s going to be unfair.
43. Ms. Dorling was called as a witness by VMcB, and provided some background
information about the circumstances involving allegations against Clapton FC.
However, with the utmost respect to her, her evidence was ultimately not
relevant to the issue this Commission was there to determine.
44. In closing, Ms. Turner referred the Commission to the written correspondence
which suggested VMcB refused to attend an interview. She submitted that due
to the FA’s powers of enquiry, there is no requirement to disclose anything
before an interview. Under the Rules, it is also in their absolute discretion to
decide the manner in which it conducts an enquiry.
45. VMcB in closing reiterated that he has never refused to be interviewed by the
FA. Rather, he has simply requested disclosure. When pressed on this by the
Commission, he responded as follows:
THE CHAIR: But it’s not for you to pre-empt that process though, is it? You can only
do your best by attending and answering questions which you are able
MR MCBEAN: I’ve done that before though, sir. I’ve done that twice before. I’ve
done that before and I have always adhered to everything The FA has said, you know, and there comes a time then when you have to say no, no, enough is enough, this is wrong, you know, and I am asking for information and I am not getting it and then I am
being charged and then I know the reason […]

Decision on liability
46. In our assessment, the relevant issue in the case was relatively simple; whether
the FA proved that VMcB did not comply with requirements pursuant to FA
Rule F2, by failing to agree to attend an interview to answer questions and
provide information in relation to the investigation conducted by LG, at a time
and place determined by the FA.
47. The applicable standard of proof for this case is the balance of probability. The
balance of probability standard means that the Commission is satisfied an event
occurred if the Commission considers that, on the evidence, the occurrence of
the event was more likely than not. Notwithstanding the standard of proof, the
burden remained on The FA to prove the charges against VMcB.
48. There is no dispute in the papers before the Commission, and indeed at the
hearing, that the FA made multiple attempts to arrange a suitable time and date
to conduct an interview with VMcB around allegations they have received.
Indeed, VMcB was formally requested by letters to attend interviews on
potential dates at Wembley Stadium on five occasions between 30 April 2019 and
18 July 2019. On two of those letters at LPG/2 on 8th and 18th July 2019, LG
specifically reminded VMcB of the FA’s powers of inquiry, and indeed VMcB’s
responsibilities as a Participant, under Rule F of the Handbook (Page 119).
49. Strictly speaking, although this was not a point argued by VMcB, it may be
suggested in VMcB’s defence that the FA had not actually ‘determined a time…’
pursuant to Rule F.2(a) for the interview. In our view, this approach to Rule F
would be purely artificial. The letters each contained reference to the meeting
that ‘will be taking place at Wembley’ on a selection of potential dates, with the onus
on VMcB to communicate which one of those dates was most convenient. On each occasion, those were the times and place that the FA required VMcB to attend interview. We find that this satisfied Rule F.2(a).
50. We find the FA provided reasonable notice upon each request.
51. We did not accept VMcB’s submission that he did not refuse to attend the
interview. It is clear from VMcB’s responses, and his conduct, that his attendance
was conditional on receiving disclosure of the allegation. This was explicitly
admitted at the personal hearing.
52. We acknowledge that on 18 July Mr. Awosika proffered three dates in September
2019 to attend an interview. This was not considered reasonable by LG, who
requested that the interview should take place no later than 15 August 2019. Due
to the protracted nature of these proceedings, we also considered this to be
53. On 29 July 2019, in an email directed to his solicitor and copying in the FA, VMcB
stated. “[…] Please inform Mr. Goldman that I will not be attending any meeting about a
subject matter of 20 years ago, without information being provided about the same to me
first. It is totally, not acceptable that I’m being asked to attend a meeting which will be
taped and could be used against me at a later date, without me being furnish with the
information. […]
54. VMcB submitted at the hearing that the FA were copied into this email in error.
We note that there was no subsequent email from VMcB or his representatives
to clarify this. Neither was this included in his statement. In any event, it is clear
that VMcB’s instruction to his solicitor was that the FA should be informed that
he would not be attending an interview unless he was provided the information
that he requested.
55. Whilst we certainly understood VMc’s concern about the potential for being
ambushed with questions about historic matters that he would be unprepared
to answer, the Rules clearly do not require the FA to disclose any material prior
to interview. Also, it cannot be right, or the intention of the Rules, for
Participant’s to frustrate the investigative process by dictating the terms upon
which they will attend an interview. We accepted LG’s evidence and Ms.
Turner’s submissions that the decision of advance disclosure is case and fact
specific. It is correct that disclosure in some cases could prejudice the
56. As mentioned earlier, we are unaware of the specific allegations against VMcB
under investigation, however, VMcB was provided with sufficient outline detail
by LG so as to be prepared to answer questions on those topics. He was therefore
on notice and was not completely in the dark about the nature of the proposed
interview. Indeed, on several occasions during the hearing, VMcB averred that
he already knew the identities of those that made allegations and what those
allegations were about. Of course, if new matters were raised at the interview,
VMcB could have requested further time to address them at that stage.
57. We considered that his response on 29 July 2019, together with VMcB’s conduct
over the course of the correspondence between the parties, was a clear refusal to
attend the proposed interview which therefore amounted to a failure to answer
questions and provide information at a time and place determined by the FA
Football Association.
58. In a unanimous decision, the Charge was therefore proved.
Decision on sanction
59. We were not familiar with previous sanctions for breaches of Rule F2 for ongoing
investigations, and none was brought to our attention by the Parties. In that
sense, this was a unique case.
60. It was agreed by Ms. Turner that the intention of Rule F2 is not strictly punitive,
rather a sanction under Rule F3 could be to ensure future compliance. We agreed
that this was the logical and proportionate approach.
61. Ms. Turner submitted that an interview could be arranged within a week.
62. Having carefully considered all the relevant factors, the Commission ordered
that VMcB is indefinitely suspended from all football and football related
activity until such a time as he attends an interview(s) to answer questions and
provide information to the satisfaction of the FA. This suspension will become
effective from 5pm 30th October 2019.
63. Once The FA confirm VMcB has successfully completed the interview(s), it is a
matter for the Regulatory Commission to lift his suspension.
64. In addition, the Commission ordered VMcB to pay a contribution of £1,000
towards the costs of the hearing.
65. This decision may be appealed in accordance with the relevant regulations
within The FA Handbook.
Ifeanyi Odogwu (Chairman),
Tony Agana
Bradley Pritchard
13 November 2019


Crisis club Clapton FC have appointed a new Head of Football Operations and a new joint manager.

Former Walthamstow FC boss Qayum Shakoor, who is also Head of Under 23s at Crawley Town and has been dubbed ‘non-league’s Harry Redknapp’, is the new Head of Football Operations.

His colleague at Crawley, Julian Charles, is the new joint manager alongside Wilf Thomas, who is staying on after returning to the club in the summer.

Former Glen Kendall and his backroom staff quit to take the reins at Basildon United but lasted just one game there before being sacked.

Shakoor was in the dugout last Tuesday for the club’s 3-0 ‘home’ defeat vs Takeley, which was switched to the opponent’s ground.

Thomas is the only one of three joint managers appointed this summer, along with Kendall and Halil Hassan, still at the club. Four coaches have also since departed during this period.

Thomas is listed as manager/coach but it’s understood he’s not involved on matchdays, which will presumably fall to Shakoor and Charles..

The club are now based at Southend Manor for the rest of the season, 40 miles from East London, although no home games are scheduled until January.

Thomas, Shakoor, Charles and any other backroom staff who may come in, will therefore have 13 home games out of 17 to move Clapton FC clear of the relegation zone.

The club’s former chief executive Vince McBean has been banned from all football activity – including spectating and performing any admin duties.

It is unclear who is running the club now and therefore who appointed Shakoor.

Neither the club nor the league website have removed his name as the main contact or added any new names.


Clapton FC will play their home games at Southend Manor’s Southchurch Arena, it has been announced.

The club lost the lease on the Old Spotted Dog Ground in the summer due to non-payment of rent.

They had since played two home league games at Aveley’s Parkside and had wanted to groundshare there alongside Aveley, Grays Athletic and May & Bakers.

However, the footballing authorities put a stop to a long-term four-way groundshare, and the club then asked for permission to move to Southend instead.

The FA needed to give special dispensation for the move, given the 40 mile distance from its traditional East London home, and they have now given the green light.

Before the news broke, we contact the Essex Senior League, who confirmed: “The FA have been advised of the proposals under consideration for a couple of weeks; the FA and others have discounted some of those and there is currently a groundshare agreement proposal that has been submitted to the FA which is currently being reviewed involving Southend Manor FC.”

The two teams met last week, with Southend Manor triumphing 1-0 in front of a crowd 12.

Ironically in 2016/7, Manor banned Clapton fans from attending games there after discussions with then chief executive Vince McBean, citing perceived concern about possible use of pyro.

However, being in a public park that proved tricky to enforce and the games saw dozens of Clapton supporters watch anyway without incident (see pic above).

A lot has happened in the years since, with Clapton losing not only its ground but also its life members and fan groups due to concerns over Mr McBean’s mismanagement.

He has since been banned from all footballing activity.



The Football Association has suspended Clapton FC chief executive Vince McBean from all football activity, we can reveal.

A statement on the FA website, dated October 28th 2019, alleges Mr McBean had not been complying with an investigation into alleged misconduct.

The suspension began on October 30th and runs “until such a time as he attends an interview(s) to answer questions and provide information to the satisfaction of the FA.”

It’s unknown what charges the FA wishes to question him about, but the statement adds that Mr McBean denies the charges.

The club have played two matches during this suspension – a ‘home’ game vs Redbridge and an away game at Southend Manor – and have appointed a caretaker manager, Wilf Thomas.

It’s unclear if a hearing has been arranged, or who has been running the club during this period. The only other person listed on the club’s committee is secretary Shirley Doyle.

Mr McBean is still listed as chief executive on the club’s website contact page – though former manager Glen Kendall has been removed in recent days.

The club is without a home ground since losing its historic Old Spotted Dog home due to non-payment of rent.

The Charity Commission is undertaking a statutory inquiry – its more serious kind of investigation – into the liqudated charity Newham Community Leisure, of which Mr McBean is a trustee.

The club’s life members and supporters groups left to form a new team, Clapton Community FC, in 2018 due to mounting concerns over Mr McBean’s management of the club.

An Essex Senior League spokesperson told us: “The Essex Senior League is supporting its member club to resolve the issues they are currently facing.”

The club itself has not yet commented. Mr McBean is still listed as the main contact on the club and league websites.

The FA statement in full

Misconduct, related to the Football Association Investigation into Mr Vincent McBean
Vincent McBean
Clapton FC

Breach of FA Rule F2 – It is alleged that you have not complied with requirements pursuant to FA Rule F2, by failing to answer questions and provide information at a time and place determined by The Football Association.

Charge Denied –Personal hearing requested.

Suspended indefinitely as of 5pm 30/10/2019 from all football and football related activity until such a time as he attends an interview(s) to answer questions and provide information to the satisfaction of the FA.