CLAPTON GIVEN EXTRA TIME TO SORT WHERE TEAM WILL PLAY NEXT SEASON

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The Old Spotted Dog pitch pictured last week

Clapton appear to have been given extra time to confirm where they will play their home games next season.

 

The Essex Senior League and the FA had given the Tons a deadline of last night’s league AGM to prove they could continue as tenants of the Old Spotted Dog.

If not, they would need to arrange a groundshare somewhere else or even sit out the season as ‘non-playing members’ of the league.

However, sources at the AGM say the issue of where the Tons and fellow OSD tenants Hackney Wick FC will play was not discussed.

It’s understood both clubs paid their fees and will be included in the fixtures for the coming season on the assumption the ground issue will be sorted.

No one from Clapton has commented since but Hackney Wick this morning tweeted in response to a question about where they will play: “Will see when the season starts.”

All clubs usually have to confirm where they will play next season by the end of March.

However, a complication arose when Vince McBean, who is in charge of both the charitable company that holds the lease and separately Clapton FC, put the leaseholding company into voluntary liquidation.

That liquidation, which claimed the company had debts of £203,000 in the form of loans, is currently on hold. A High Court hearing will determine whether it can proceed, but no date has been fixed for this yet.

In the meantime, the liquidator controls the leaseholding company and only they can decide who can play at the Old Spotted Dog.

The ground issue will need to be sorted soon as the first of five friendlies – all at home – begin with captain Jerry Jariette’s testimonial on July 8th.

The draws for the FA Cup and FA Vase take place the day before, 11am on July 7th, and it’s unclear if the Tons and Hackney Wick will be included if the ground issue is not resolved by then.

The Essex Senior League season itself begins on July 29th though it is possible for clubs to be given away fixtures only for the first few weeks.

Last season Haringey & Waltham did not secure their ground, the Terence McMillan Stadium in Plaistow, until late September and hopped around playing one-off home games at several locations before then.

Clapton has played at London’s oldest senior football ground, the Old Spotted Dog in Forest Gate, since 1888.

Yesterday it was revealed that supporters had succeeded in getting it listed on Newham Council’s list of Assets of Community Value.

Under the Localism Act, the ACV gives The Dog an additional layer of protection in law and also means that the community would get first rights to buy, should the ground ever come up for sale.

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