VINCE MCBEAN’S CLAPTON FC PETITION IS PULLED BY 38 DEGREES DUE TO ‘INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT’

A petition started by Vince McBean’s Clapton to try to get back into the Old Spotted Dog was today pulled by hosts 38 Degrees.

A short statement is now displayed instead, saying that it had been ‘disabled due to inappropriate content”.

The strongly worded petition, started under the name Clapton Football Club, targeted landowners Heineken and blamed the Charity Commission for causing the gates to be locked.

However, Heineken gave a completely different reason, telling charity news website Civil Society it had not been able to contact the leaseholders Newham Community Leisure, operated by Mr McBean, for two years.

Meanwhile a Charity Commission spokesperson added: “We have seen the recent petition. We refute the suggestion that the repossession is the responsibility of the Commission.”

38 Degrees have confirmed to us the petition could be resurrected if the petition starter removes some of the allegations it contained.

An Essex Senior League tweet – now deleted – complained that the petition had been taken down due to ‘underhand and unsportsmanlike’ behaviour from a complainant.

A CCTV camera has been installed on the pitch

Mr McBean or Clapton FC have yet to make any comment on its situation, aside from the now rejected petition.

The club and fellow ground-sharers Hackney Wick are due to play home games at alternative venues now the gates are locked.

The petition had been promoted many times by the ESL to all its members via email and social media.

The ESL today issued a statement to the Newham Recorder, saying: “The club has maintained contact with the League since Heineken UK sought to re-possess the ground from the leaseholders, Newham Community Leisure Limited.

“It is also finding alternative venues for its home fixtures, with a number of these being played at Aveley Football Club.

“It is understood Heineken UK have been accepting proposals from interested parties to take on the lease and are aware the Clapton FC have and understand Clapton Community FC may have also put forward proposals.”

A statement from Clapton Community FC, the members-owned club formed in response to Mr McBean’s mistreatment of Clapton FC and the Old Spotted Dog, said: “We can confirm we are in contact with the freeholder. We will comment further after consulting with our members.”

The Save the Old Spotted Dog group has been campaigning to return London’s oldest senior football ground to the people of Newham.

A Save the Old Spotted Dog statement today said: “Clapton FC’s chief exec liquidated the charity that ran the Old Spotted Dog in 2017, the freeholder says they have been unable to make contact since, and the Charity Commission has refuted allegations in his club’s petition.

“The move by the freeholder to take back control of the Old Spotted Dog is the best thing to have happened to the ground in decades. The Old Spotted Dog is a community asset and we have high hopes it will be run as such in future.”

Security fencing now surrounds the Old Spotted Dog and a video camera has been erected on the edge of the penalty area (see second photo above).

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CLAPTON FC MOVE TO GROUND-SHARE AT AVELEY BUT STILL NO HOME FIXTURES

The Essex Senior League has announced that Vince McBean’s Clapton FC will be playing games at Aveley’s Parkside Stadium for the foreseeable future.

The league had given Mr McBean seven days to find a new ground after being locked out of the Old Spotted Dog.

As the deadline elapsed last Monday, the ESL tweeted that he had agreed a deal to become the fourth ground-sharers of the 3G surface at Parkside, alongside Aveley, Grays Athletic and May & Bakers.

However, Saturday’s game versus St Margaretsbury was postponed and, nearly a week on, not one home fixture has been set yet,

Fixtures on both sites lists all games as either taking place at the Old Spotted Dog (which can’t happen) or as ;TBC; at Aveley.

Neither Mr McBean’s nor the ESL website has yet noted the change of home venue.

Last Saturday’s 6-0 defeat in the FA Cup to Stowmarket Town took place at Aveley, An official crowd of 31 puzzled many as Stow brought two coaches of fans. Gate receipts in FA cup competitions are split between both sides.

LONG-OVERDUE OLD SPOTTED DOG CLEAN-UP BEGINS

A much-needed clean-up of the Old Spotted Dog is taking place after the apparent lock-out of tenants Clapton FC and Hackney Wick.

It’s still unclear what is going on at the historic ground, but Vince McBean’s Clapton have been given till Monday by the Essex Senior League to find an alternative venue.

They played and won after switching the game to Redbridge last night, and will play at Aveley on Saturday in a ‘home’ FA Cup game, but it’s unclear if either will be the semi-permanent home venue.

Meanwhile co-tenants Hackney Wick have moved to share at Haringey Borough.

Photos sent to us, taken today by a local resident and Clapton CFC member, shows a refuse container has been delivered.

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In recent days sprinklers and balls were seen on the pitch, while the Old Spotted Dog was also used for a private hire. However the pitch now appears completely out of bounds with a new perimeter fence erected.

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Who has arranged the clean-up is a mystery, but it’s a much-needed development. The state of the Old Spotted Dog has deteriorated markedly during the last few years.

Spectators have been confronted with piles of rubble, broken and rusting equipment, abandoned shopping trolleys and even a heap of broken urinals.

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Despite these hazards, and the FA rules about ground appearance, Clapton FC and Hackney Wick (formerly known as London Bari) were allowed to carry on playing until recently.

Whatever is in store for the Old Spotted Dog, hopefully it will at least be safer after this clean-up.

CLAPTON FC WITHOUT A CHAIRMAN FOR EIGHT MONTHS

Clapton FC still don’t have a new chairman, eight months after the resignation of the last one.

Mark North joined last summer to replace John Murray-Smith but lasted just a few months before quitting in November.

Mr North was still listed as chairman on both the club and league websites until a few months ago. The role is now listed as TBC online instead.

The club had advertised for a new chairman in a matchday programme that was uploaded online in March.

In the same programme, chief executive Vince McBean also appealed for a groundsman, kitman and match day secretary.

None of those vacancies appear to have been filled.

In fact, the Clapton committee is listed as just two people on the club and league websites, namely Vince McBean, chief executive and emergency contact, and Shirley Doyle, secretary and fixtures secretary.

In the Sporting Bengal matchday programme, a third name, Sandra Powlette, is listed as treasurer.

We understand that Mr McBean turned up for the last 10 minutes of the Essex Senior League AGM in June and was a no-show at the July pre-season meeting.

There has been a gradual hollowing out of the club over the years.

All youth teams have quit the club in recent seasons – with the final team, under 18s, switching to Hackney Wick FC.

Two chairmen, two managers and three coaches have departed the club in the last year or so too.

Every player from last season’s squad has moved on, except for winger Valentine Iheanyogu.

Mr McBean’s club is also locked out of the Old Spotted Dog as it stands; and have been given seven days to find a home ground for at least 12 weeks.

Hr is also trying to liquidate the charity that holds the Old Spotted Dog lease, action which has been dragging on in the high courts for over two years.

His reckless mismanagement of the club and our historic ground led all fan groups to agree on a rock solid boycott of home games two seasons ago.

With no resolution to this crisis in sight, a members-owned club Clapton CFC was also set up last year.

Clapton FC had always been a members club since its foundation, but Mr McBean closed it to new membership many years ago.

With attendance over 400, 1,300 paid-up members and dozens of volunteers pitching in every match for no personal reward, Clapton CFC shows the potential that Mr McBean had within his grasp.

If only he had opened up the club to this surge in interest, rather than driving it away by trying to liquidate the Old Spotted Dog and closing the membership.

 

CLAPTON GIVEN SEVEN DAYS TO FIND A GROUND IN OLD SPOTTED DOG CRISIS

Vince McBean’s Clapton FC was plunged into another crisis on Monday after the Essex Senior League gave him a week to confirm where the club will play.

Mr McBean postponed his club’s first league game of the season at very short notice at the weekend due to unexplained issues at the Old Spotted Dog.

There were indications earlier on Monday that the issue may have been resolved, with next Saturday’s visitors Stowmarket Town tweeting they’d been assured the game was going ahead.

They have also paid for a supporters’ coach down from Suffolk.

However, the Essex Senior League broke its silence on the saga on Monday night, giving Clapton FC seven days to find an alternative regular venue while they presumably attempt to resolve the issue with the OSD.

 

No reason has yet been given by the club, the ESL or the FA for the current crisis. It’s unclear if there is an issue with the ground itself or with Clapton FC’s tenancy.

Mr McBean and associates have been attempting to liquidate the lease-holding charity over the last two years, a battle that has been making its way through the High Court.

The present crisis has been bubbling on for at least a month, after four pre-season friendlies were moved or cancelled, but no-one has provided any answers.

Sporting Bengal, who were due to visit the Old Spotted Dogon Tuesday night, also  thought the game was going ahead judging by a now deleted tweet on Monday.

However,  Sporting Bengal announced the game will now take place at Oakside, the home of Redbridge and Newbury Forest, instead.

Finally, Mr McBean confirmed the switch late on Monday night with a short statement on his club’s websitE, adding “the inconvenience.. is beyond our control.”

Stowmarket Town have also tweeted to confirm that Saturday’s game will not take place at the Old Spotted Dog, with a venue still to be arranged.

We understand the game will now take place at Aveley’s Parkside at 3pm on Saturday, although this has yet to be confirmed.

It’s unclear if Mr McBean is taking his team to Oakside or Parkside for just one game, or more permanently.

He tried to switch last Saturday’s game to a lunch-time kick off at Aveley’s 3G pitch, where they also played three ‘home’ games last season.

However, Aveley already have two ground sharers in Grays Athletic and May & Bakers, so a fourth would perhaps be too much to fit in.

Barking FC also have two ground sharers in Leyton Athletic and West Essex, so it’s likely Mr McBean will be looking to move into an East London ground with ‘just’ two clubs sharing.

Perhaps the Terence McMillan Stadium in Plaistow or the Mile End Stadium would be other avenues alongside Oakside.

The Old Spotted Dog yesterday. On the pitch, just above the bins, you can just see a sprinkler in action. The ground is in dire need of a clean-up.

Step 6 side Hackney Wick have also been ground-sharing at the Old Spotted Dog while they attempt to move back to their home borough.

On Monday night they announced they will be moving to Haringey Borough in the meantime.

https://twitter.com/HackneyWickFC/status/1158460341359173632.

Concerned fans who have been past the Old Spotted Dog in the last few days have reported that the sprinkler is in use and a ball on the pitch.

And today we have been sent a photo of the sprinkler on in a different area of the pitch today. So it’s clear someone has access to the ground still.

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The sprinkler back in use on Tuesday morning

The ground was also privately hired out for a game last Sunday (July 28th), the latest in a long line of events, photo shoots, festivals and parties held at the club.

However, gate income has dried up since all fan groups and bodies – including this website – joined forces in a boycott of all home games due to Mr McBean’s flagrant mismanagement of the club and its historic home.

A fan-owned club, Clapton Community FC, was set up with 1400 members. It averaged 447 at home games in Walthamstow last season. This season a women’s team has been added.

CLAPTON’S FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON POSTPONED AS OLD SPOTTED DOG WOES CONTINUE

Clapton FC’s opening game of the league season against Hoddesdon Town has been postponed.

The visitors said on Friday night that the Old Spotted Dog is unavailable and no alternatives for a 3pm kick-off could be found at short notice.

The statement on the Hoddesdon website said:

Latest News on 2nd August. The League game against Clapton on Saturday 3rd August has been called off. With Clapton’s ground apparently not available, a last-minute alternative venue was sought, but apart from a 12 noon kick-off at Aveley, a suitable ground for a 3pm kick-off could not be found. Logistically, it would not have been possible to change the arrangements for the Lilywhites players and management at such short notice. The game has therefore been postponed.

Clapton FC confirmed the news on the morning of the game with a note on their website blaming ‘circumstances beyond our control’:

Unfortunately, the home match against Hoddesdon Town FC has been postponed, due to circumstances beyond our control. We apologise to everyone involved for the inconvenience.

The Essex Senior League has confirmed that the game will be rescheduled rather than awarded to the opponents. They said:

With regards to the postponed fixture between Clapton FC and Hoddeson Town – that will be rearranged at a later date.

We also asked the ESL if the Clapton vs Sporting Bengal game would take place as scheduled on Tuesday, August 6th but they did not answer.

The postponement comes after four Clapton pre-season friendlies scheduled for the OSD were cancelled or moved over the past few weeks.

However, no explanation for the Old Spotted Dog’s unavailability has been given by any party.

There is nothing visibly wrong with the pitch isn’t in bad shape at the moment.

The OSD has often been a dustbowl in deep summer, but that hasn’t prevented friendlies being played.

Other than that, there is nothing massively different to last season. The welcome sign on Upton Lane has had all of its stickers peeled off or painted over.

And the ‘CLAPTO’ sign has finally been replaced, almost three years since a wayward clearance took a chunk out of it.

Elsewhere, as you can see from the photo at the top, it still looks scrappy with the usual junk piled up.

However, there is nothing obvious to suggest why games have been postponed or moved elsewhere.

At the end of 2018, the Old Spotted Dog was out of action for around six weeks, after Vodafone dug up the pitch mid-season.

We have asked the club what’s going on, but they have not replied, in line with their policy to not answer our questions. We will continue to try to find out the reason.

Elsewhere, the court case involving the attempted liquidation of the charity that runs the Old Spotted Dog is still to be heard in the High Court.

Readers will no doubt aware by now that club chief executive Vince McBean is trying to shut down the charity claiming it owes him nearly £200,000.

Our understanding is that the case may take place in or around November.

Of course the boycott of home games by all fan groups still stands while Mr McBean continues to mismanage the club so disastrously.

ONE MANAGER AND ONE COACH LEAVE CLAPTON FC BEFORE SEASON BEGINS

At the end of the season, Clapton FC announced a management team of three co-managers and three coaches to replace the departed Jonny Fowell.

However, before pre-season had even started that was down to two joint managers and two coaches after a couple of departures.

Co-manager Halil Hassan and coach Paul Gissing both left the club before a ball had been kicked in a friendly.

Halil tweeted his reasons for quitting, saying that the management trio wasn’t working. He has since joined Southend Manor as assistant.

Clapton chief executive Vince McBean told his club website: “Although no formal notification was given about his decision to leave, other than what has been communicated indirectly via social media, in the short time with the club, Halil made a valuable contribution. We wish him all the best”.

Meanwhile one of the coaches, Paul Gissing, is also understood to have departed the club.

No public announcement has been made from either Paul or the club, but his page has been deleted from the claptonfc.com website.

That leaves Wilf Thomas and Glen Kendall as joint managers, Bulent Caliskan as football and fitness coach, and Jonathan Klug as sports psychologist.