CLAPTON FC LOSE THEIR CHAIRMAN AFTER JUST FOUR MONTHS

Clapton FC chairman Mark North has quit the club after little more than 100 days into the role.

We exclusively revealed North had joined on July 8th with the club announcing it themselves five days later.

On November 20th, however, North tweeted he had left the club and in fact was “officially retiring from football with immediate effect.”

On taking over from a very hands-off predecessor John Murray-Smith, North had told disaffected supporters that he would address the issue of the club’s closed membership issue as ‘one of his first tasks.

Clapton FC is supposed to be a members club, by its official, legal constitution, but it has long been closed for new members. That had caused friction between fans and club owner Vince McBean for years, a rift that came to a head when he tried liquidating the charity that runs the Old Spotted Dog ground, claiming he was owed a six-figure sum.

Unfortunately, we are not aware of any progress being made in regards to reopening the membership of the club.

North had indicated that social media would also be a priority, having previously built up 40,000 followers across all channels for United London, a now defunct club he had previously run where fans could choose the team.

Indeed there was a little flurry of online activity, with 8 articles published on the club website in July, an ‘official supporters website’ established and a new Instagram page. Some clips were uploaded to YouTube followed by a vow that games would be filmed.

However, things ground to a halt with the last article on the ‘supporters club’ website appearing on July 19th, the latest YouTube clip on October 2nd and Instagram on October 16th.

Nearly two months on from North’s tweet announcing his departure and there has been no mention of his departure nor word of any replacement on the club website. Curiously, he is still listed as chairman.

We offered North the chance to give a longer statement marking his departure, and he replied…

“I would officially like to thank Vincent, Shirley, Jonny and the players for their welcome and support during my brief spell with the club.

“I can only be impressed with the level of effort and commitment that goes on behind the scenes but sadly, my new job is taking up much more time that I envisaged.

“The club has a long proud history and I believe that it deserves someone who can devote more time to help the club move forward for the local community.

“As a committed family man, any spare time I have will now be spent enjoying watching my young son begin his journey in the sport we all love. I wish the team and the club all the very best for the future”.

We also contacted the club with a similar offer, though readers will be aware that Mr McBean has a policy of not giving any comment or even replying to us.

However, it doesn’t mean they don’t read our emails. Within 23 minutes of us hitting the ‘send’ button, the club tweeted this:

The Essex Senior League website still lists North as chairman and a spokesperson said they were “unaware of any internal changes at the club.”

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WHY CLAPTON FC ARE PLAYING ITS NEXT ‘HOME’ GAME AWAY FROM THE OLD SPOTTED DOG

The new patch of grass can be viewed on the right of the picture

Essex Senior League side Clapton FC are set to play their first competitive home game away from the Old Spotted Dog in 15 years this weekend.

The Errington Challenge Cup game vs Enfield FC has been switched from the OSD to Aveley’s 3G pitch with a 11.30am kick off time.

The reason why is because the pitch needs time to recover after a new strip of turf was laid on one flank, in front of the famous Scaffold stand.

According to Peter Dudley on the Grassroots Football Show, the pitch was dug up by Vodafone. The company presumably carried out some work concerning the phone mast they have to the side of the Scaffold.

So is it a one-off? Dudley said on his radio show he felt it was “touch and go” whether the pitch would be ready for the next home game, on Tuesday.

Jason Maher, manager of Essex Senior League side Saffron Walden Town, felt it would take up to three weeks for the new turf to bed in. By that time, Clapton are scheduled to have played another five home games.

The action must have been carried out under the direction of the liquidator, ST Bennett & Co, which has been tasked with overseeing the Old Spotted Dog since March 2017.

The charity Newham Community Leisure, which used to run the facility, was placed into voluntary liquidation by Clapton FC chief exec Vince McBean and associates, because they wish to sell part of the ground. This process is being disputed in the High Court.

A spokesman for the Save The Old Spotted Dog community campaign said: “Any work at the Old Spotted Dog Ground must be carried out under the direction of the liquidator, using contractors appointed by him.

“Anything else strongly indicates that former trustee of the liquidated charity and now tenant Vince McBean remains in effective control of the ground.”

Fan groups connected to Clapton FC called a boycott of home games when Mr McBean, the club chief executive and former charity trustee, placed the charity in liquidation in March 2017, putting the future of London’s oldest senior football ground in grave peril.

The boycott has proved so watertight since that it’s understood there was just one paying customer at a recent home league game.

Campaigners argue that every penny handed over will help fund Mr McBean’s legal case as he attempts to seize control of the Old Spotted Dog lease in order sell off a portion of it,

A long-running High Court case rumbles on over this issue with a full trial not expected to take place until 2019.

Tons fans, life members and former committee members set up a team this summer under the name Clapton Community Football Club, and run entirely by members, as Clapton FC used to be.

Clapton CFC currently has just short of 1,000 members, playing its ‘home’ games at the newly-named Stray Dog in Walthamstow, with former Tons captain Geoff Ocran as player-manager.

Clapton FC spent much of 2002 and 2003 playing ‘home’ games at neutral venues, mostly at Aveley’s former ground but also Purfleet and Barking & East Ham United among others.

This was a few years into Mr McBean’s time at the club – he took over in 1999 – after the Isthmian League ordered ground repairs were needed that took a long time to be completed.

Clapton FC have a public policy of not answering our questions and have yet to respond to our last 20 requests for comment.

 

EASTERN SENIOR LEAGUE DIVISION 1 SOUTH ADMISSION PRICES 2018/9 SEASON – THE LIST

Hashtag United in action at Haringey Borough’s Coles Park

Last year thousands of non-league football fans read our guide to the admission prices across the Essex Senior League – so we did it again for the 2018/9 season.

Not only that, but we’ve also dropped down one level to the new Step 6 league in the Essex area, the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Senior League Division 1.

The new league features the likes of YouTube famous Hashtag United, who play at Haringey Borough’s Coles Park, and Hackney Wick, who play at the Old Spotted Dog.

The Wickers are one of six clubs to charge £6, alongside Essex clubs Burnham Ramblers, Coggeshall United, Halstead Town, Wivenhoe Town and Holland FC.

Hats off to the five clubs who only charge £4 – London clubs Hashtag United and Fire United Christian, and Essex clubs Harwich & Parkeston, May & Bakers and Frenford.

Plenty of clubs offer free admission to under 16s while the average adult price across the 19 clubs is £5.05. That compares to the £6.28 average in the Essex Senior League, one step above.

Here’s the list of admission prices…

Burnham Ramblers
£6 adults £4 conc

Hackney Wick
£6 adults £4 conc Free under 16s

Coggeshall United
£6 adults £3 conc £3 under 16s

Halstead Town
£6 adults £3 conc £1 under 16s

Wivenhoe Town
£6 adults £3 conc Free under 14s

Holland FC
£6 adults
Free programme

Brightlingsea Regent Reserves
£5 adults £3 conc £1 under 16s

Little Oakley
£5 adults £3 conc £1 under 16s

Braintree Town Reserves
£5 adults £3 conc Free under 16s

Lopes Tavares
£5 adults £3 conc Free under 16s

Wormley Rovers
£5 adults £2 conc

Benfleet
£5 adults £2 conc £1 under 16s

Newbury Forest
£5 adults £2 conc Free under 16s

White Ensign
£5 adults £2 conc

Harwich & Parkeston
£4 adults £2 conc

May & Bakers
£4 adults £2 conc

Hashtag United
£4 adults £2 conc Free under 12s

Frenford
£4 adults £2 conc Free under 16s

Fire United Christian
£4 adults £2 conc Free under 16s

UPDATE – OLD SPOTTED DOG CASE RESPONDENTS WILL BE CROSS-EXAMINED IN THE HIGH COURT AFTER WITNESS STATEMENTS FILED

The latest stage in the battle over the attempted liquidation of the charity that used to run Clapton’s historic home, the Old Spotted Dog, took place in the High Court on Friday, 14 August.

Chief Registrar Nicholas Briggs, sitting at the Rolls Building, presided over a costs hearing involving Vince McBean, who is attempting to liquidate the Newham Community Leisure charity, and those petitioners who oppose it.

Chief Registrar Briggs set down a strict timetable leading up to the trial, beginning with Mr McBean and his fellow respondents Trevor Gordon and Ransford Taylor, being asked to refile their witness statement, this time with signed statements of truth, by Friday, 21 August‬.

We can now reveal that three statements of truth WERE submitted on deadline day on behalf of, we assume, all three of Mr McBean, Mr Gordon and Mr Taylor,

All three will now face cross-examination before the court, as Chief Registrar Briggs decreed, otherwise their evidence will still not be accepted.

Mr McBean had no legal representation in the High Court and instead represented himself, and Mr Taylor and Mr Gordon too, in court.

Further deadlines were laid down by Chief Registrar Briggs, including for submission of skeleton arguments and for submission of bundles of documents.

If the process adheres to those deadlines, the case would next be due in court after ‪9 November 2018.‬

A full trial would take place over at least four days and likely not till next summer, Chief Registrar Briggs said.

Mr McBean declined to come to an agreement over costs, which were estimated by the petitioners as £64,000 for just a two-day trial alone.

In the meantime, the liquidator is nominally in charge of the Old Spotted Dog, which currently has Mr McBean’s team and Step 6 side Hackney Wick as joint tenants.

in recent months, life members and fans have re-established a members’ run club, Clapton CFC in the Middlesex League, while the entire youth team set-up separately decided to quit too.

Chairman John Murray-Smith, assistant manager Wayne Seal, and first team coach Marc Nurse have also departed this summer, for a variety of reasons.

ESSEX SENIOR LEAGUE ADMISSION PRICES 2018/9 SEASON – THE FULL LIST

tower

Tower Hamlets is the cheapest place to watch ESL football

One of our most read features last season was our guide to the admission prices in the Essex Senior League so as a service to non-league footie fans we’ve done it again for 2018/9.
We’re pleased to report that of the 16 clubs that were in the ESL last season and are still in now, just 1 has put up their prices, by £1.
Indeed one club – Tower Hamlets – has cut their admission costs. The average adult price was £6.28. A majority of clubs offer free entry for children, too.
It was just as difficult to track down admission prices as it was last season. Most clubs don’t list theirs on their website and social media, and many don’t reply to emails, tweets and Facebook messages.
And the issue of concessions is still a minefield. Most clubs don’t list who qualifies as a concession, so perhaps best to try to contact them direct with any queries.

Leyton Athletic
£8 adults £4 conc

Southend Manor
£7 adults £5 conc Free under 16s

St Margaretsbury 
£7 adults £5 conc

Hoddesdon Town
£7 adults £4 conc

Saffron Walden Town
£7 adults £4 conc

Walthamstow
£7 adults £4 conc Free under 14s

Sawbridgeworth Town
£7 adults £4 conc Free under 16s

Takeley 
£7 adults £3 conc Free under 16s
Free programme

Clapton FC
£6.50 adults £3 conc £1 under 18s Free under 10s

Redbridge
£6 adults £4 conc Free under 16s

Enfield FC
£6 adults £3 conc £3 under 16s

Sporting Bengal 
£6 adults £3 conc £3 under 16s

Woodford Town
£6 adults £3 conc £1 under 16s

Stanway Rovers
£6 adults £3 conc Free under 12s

Hullbridge Sports
£6 adults £3 conc Free under 16s

Ilford
£6 adults £3 conc Free under 16s

West Essex
£5 adults £3 conc Free under 16s

Stansted 
£5 adults £3 conc Free under 14s
Free programme

Barkingside
£5 adults £3 conc Free under 16s
Free programme

Tower Hamlets
£5 adults £2 conc Free under 16s

If we have got something wrong, drop us an email claptonfcnews@gmail.com or tweet us and we’ll correct it.

We can’t take any responsibility for these prices being correct at the time of your visit.

If you want to use our research in your own articles, feel free to do so but please give us a credit.

Finally, we probably don’t need to remind East London and Essex football fans that we, along with all other Tons fan groups. are still urging a boycott of Clapton FC home games due to the actions being taken by its chief executive.

PICTURES SHOW HOW THE OLD SPOTTED DOG LOOKS DAYS BEFORE FOOTBALL NEW SEASON

A reader took a trip down to the Old Spotted Dog on Monday and sent us these photos of how it looks, just days before the new football season kicks off.

To recap, it’s been over a year since Clapton fans last graced the ground due to a tightly-observed boycott.

This was sparked by the club chief exec Vince McBean putting the OSD’s future in doubt by placing it in liquidation claiming the ground charity personally owes him £164.123.

This case is proceeding – very, very slowly – in the High Court.

Most Tons fans won’t have seen inside the Old Spotted Dog since spring 2017, aside perhaps from two occasions: a testimonial match for long-serving player Jerry Jairette (he was kicked out of the club after 10 years soon after for criticising clubs who had banned fans); and a couple of free entry youth team games (the entire youth set-up has since decided to quit the club),

So how is the Old Spotted Dog looking while we’ve been away? Well, the roof of the extended Scaffold stand has partially disappeared.

On the Scaffold stand itself, one of the Ultras’ forgotten banners lies forlorn in a ball at the back.

Considerable staying power given it has survived winds and winter.

In front of the dugout, it looks like some of the away team’s dugout had collapsed. though that may slot back in.

It’s fair to say the dugout area probably hasn’t had a spring clean in a while, judging by the leaves, litter and weeds.

photo5985836865091120711 (1)

 

For unknown reasons, the men’s toilets has become the women’s, and vice versa. It’s unclear what’s happened inside. Have the urinals been moved?.

Incidentally, it has now been revealed that these toilets were provided to the Old Spotted Dog for free by the building firm who worked on St Bon’s school across the road,

The Old Spotted Dog pitch, like most non-league football and other sports grounds, has been hammered in the heatwave.

There’s certainly nothing unusual in the yellow colour of the grass – lots of pitches and indeed lawns look similar after being parched of rain – though the multi-coloured patches are a bit strange.

photo5985836865091120712 (1).jpg

 

However, the pitch could do with a clean-up and a rake, with quite a bit of rubbish visible at the Disraeli Road end of the ground, and autumn leaves already covering the Margery Park Road end.

Litter strewn across the pitch

 

That could all be cleaned up relatively easily.

What is a little worrying that after the recent downpour of rain, there already appears to be a muddy goalmouth at the Margery Park Road end, as this picture taken ahead of the friendly with rebooted club Upton Park FC shows.

The spectator areas around the ground in general are in need of some attention, particularly weeding and mowing.  

The Old Spotted Dog is certainly not in quite the horrendous state that we saw it last season, when a photo gallery posted on the Clapton Ultras Twitter account finally got some major hazards cordoned off.

But it’s clear there’s not a lot of love and care being applied either. The entrance sign to the ground, for instance, still proclaims a welcome to ‘Clapto’, nearly two years on from being damaged by an errant ball.

We understand the liquidator currently in charge of the Old Spotted Dog has been allowing the previous committee, led by Clapton chief exec Vince McBean, to remain in charge of the ground and responsible for its upkeep.

A Save The Old Spotted Dog spokesman said: “It’s clear that nobody is currently thinking about protecting the future of the OSD as a valued community asset.

“The sooner it is returned to the people of Newham, the sooner it can be looked after by those who genuinely care about it.

“The woeful lack of care means it will need considerable investment when it is returned to local community control.”

The next stage in the legal tussle over the Old Spotted Dog will be a cost management hearing at the High Court, currently slated for August 17th, with a full trial perhaps as far away as early 2019.

Meanwhile Clapton fans, life members and former committee members announced plans to field a team in the Middlesex League next season under the name Clapton Community Football Club, and run entirely by members.

Clapton CFC will be playing home games at Wadham Lodge in Walthamstow although it has pledged to bring “members-run community football back to E7 as soon as possible.”

SAVE THE OLD SPOTTED DOG SUMMER UPDATE

The season may have taken a three-month break, but the fight to save London’s oldest senior football ground has continued over the summer.

Last month, Save the Old Spotted Dog protesters turned up outside the Charity Commission’s headquarters to deliver a 1.750-signature petition calling upon them to release their report.

The Charity Commission first investigated the charity that runs Clapton’s home in 2002 and concluded that “little or no charitable activity was undertaken at the Old Spotted Dog Ground”.

As the news report in trade journal Civic Society states, concerns were reported again in April 2013. Over five years later, the Charity Commission has yet to deliver its report.

However, the Charity Commission did confirm to Civil Society it has opened a statutory inquiry – its more serious kind of investigation.

A spokeswoman told them: “The Commission has an ongoing statutory inquiry looking into the governance and financial management of the charity, Newham Community Leisure Trust.

“We have not yet drafted a report, however it is our intention to publish a report setting out our findings and conclusions on completion of the inquiry.

“We recognise the interest that the local community and supporters of the football club have in this matter, and are fully aware of their concerns.”

Then in July, the Save the Old Spotted Dog campaign held a stall at Forest Gate Festival to find out what a proper. community-run football ground could be used for.

One of the dozens of Forest Gate Festival visitors to drop by was Newham mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, who particularly liked the idea for outdoor cinema in the summer.

Other ideas suggested by Forest Gate residents included outdoor yoga, keep fit for the elderly and football games for local schools and clubs.

A Save the OSD spokesman said:”We are grateful for the enthusiastic support from the Mayor and for so many great ideas from local people at our consultation – from greater access to the Old Spotted Dog Ground’s club house to community events and healthy living activities.

“We believe this valuable resource will have a more sustainable future if it is genuinely open to Newham residents and run for the benefit of the local area.”

“Keep the ideas coming for a genuinely accessible community venue, to savetheOSD@gmail.com”

 

In other news, Newham mayor Rokhsana Fiaz has officially responded to the petition, and pledged she is happy to meet with campaigners.

She said: “The Council’s ‘Local Plan: Detailed Sites and Policies Development Plan Document’ identifies the Old Spotted Dog football ground as protected green infrastructure, and our current planning policy seeks to improve the quality and accessibility of existing open spaces.

“I would be happy to arrange a meeting with the campaign to look into this case and discuss further”.

In the meantime, the Old Spotted Dog has been in the hands of a liquidator for over a year while a High Court case rumbles on over whether the charity can be wound up.

The next stage in the legal tussle will be another case management hearing at the High Court, currently slated for August 17th, with a full trial perhaps as far away as early 2019.

Clapton fans, life members and former committee members announced plans to field a team in the Middlesex League next season under the name Clapton Community Football Club, and run entirely by members.

CCFC will be playing home games at Wadham Lodge in Walthamstow although it has pledged to bring “members-run community football back to E7 as soon as possible.”