At Essex Senior League level there’s inevitably a high turnover of players from one season to the next.
Several members of last season’s history-making runners-up squad have moved on from Clapton to pastures new ahead of the upcoming 2017/8 season,
Disappointing for fans, but few could complain about players moving up the football pyramid. We’re planning a feature on the destination of former Tons soon.
However, as players leave, others arrive and there have already announced 10 new additions.
Allow us to introduce the new Tons…
Ignas Budvytis (goalkeeper)
Former clubs: Winchmore Hill (2016/17), Waltham Abbey U18s (2016/17), West Thurrock (2016/17)
Mark Kavanagh (goalkeeper)
Former clubs: None.
Mark told CFC News: “I’m 22 and Clapton will be the first team I’ve ever played for. I was invited to come down for pre-season and after hearing many good things about the club, I would’ve been stupid not to sign!
“As of the season ahead, I’m very confident! The lads are pulling their weight in training & there’s a good spirit around the camp. After last season’s second place finish we’ve only got one thing in mind & that’s to go one better!”
Josh Flynn (right-back)
Former clubs: Ebbsfleet United Academy, Grays Athletic Reserves, Redbridge.
Josh told CFC News: “I’m 21 but I’ve had about a year out of the game. I play right back but I consider myself a wing back, always overlapping and supporting the play as an outlet and getting crosses into the box.
“I feel like I can develop here. Great fans and contenders for the league. I don’t see why we can’t go one better than last season and gain promotion.”
Mustafa Kahie (midfield/full-back)
Former clubs: Eton Manor, Sporting Bengal, London APSA and Braintree Town.
Mustafa is back for his second stint at the club, after briefly playing some friendlies in pre-season last year. The 22-year-old – a midfielder who can also operate at full back – went on to make 24 starts for Eton Manor.
Mustafa, who was born in Finland, told CFC News: “I joined Clapton because i have a good relationship with the players and staff.
“I also love the atmosphere at the club and i know I’ll enjoy my time at the club. I also have faith in our team to do really well this season. Good bunch of guys willing to cause many upsets.”
Jordan Meikle (centre-back)
Former clubs: Sporting Bengal, Enfield 1893, Wadham Lodge
A seasoned Essex Senior League centre-back who started his career at Sporting Bengal, playing under Anwar Uddin and Steven Clarke.
He then spent time at Enfield 1893 and was most recently at Wadham Lodge under James Falaise & Kevin Lucas before a foot ligament injury ruled him out of the final games of the season.
He told CFC News he had a few offers from other ESL teams for the upcoming season, but decided that “Clapton was the stand out. Personally I felt it is the right club for me to develop and improve.”
Jordan is eager to push on from where Clapton finished last season as runners up and is looking forward to getting started.He learned about the team from former Ton James Briggs and experienced Clapton supporters firsthand as captain of their Sunday league team Downs FC.
Manager Jonny Fowell has said: “So glad to get Jordan on board, experienced centre-back and will improve our squad this season. Fans will love him. Welcome J”.
Jesse McKenzie (centre-back)
Former clubs: Bromley FC.
Jesse told CFC News: “I’m 18 years old, last season I played for and captained Bromley FC academy side. I’m a ball playing centre half that enjoys a good challenge.
“I’ve signed for Clapton because I feel that I’ve got a lot to learn and Clapton to is the best place for me to improve physically and also enhance my game understanding.”
Manager Jonny Fowell said: “The staff are excited about this young 18-year-old centre-back. The former Bromley FC academy captain could be a real gem in the making”
Jeffrey Cobbiah (winger)
Former clubs: Bethnal Green United, Jolof Sports, East One
Jeffrey Was most recently with Jolof Sports in the Essex Alliance, where he scored 31 goals in 25 game last season.
Manager Jonny Fowell said: “Jeffrey is a silky skilful winger, quick direct and bags of skills. Came from Roy Fontaine who was at Enfield Town FC as 1st team coach.”
Craig Heskey (striker)
Former clubs: Clapton (2008/09), Sporting Bengal (2012/13), Harefield United (2015/16), Amersham Town (2016/17), Burnham Ramblers (2016/17).
Tons fans will be hoping that the goalscoring gene runs in the family as we welcome back Craig Heskey, cousin of former England international Emile.
Craig, 27, is an international striker in his own right. He played for Clapton 9 years ago and while at the club represented Antigua & Barbuda twice at under-20 level.
He was last seen at Burnham Ramblers in the ESL last season where he scored 4 goals in 10 appearances.
In a recent Dogcast interview, recently departed defender and last season’s Clapton player of the year Dylan Ebengo named Heskey as the best striker he had faced in the ESL in 2016/17.
Craig is also academy coach and a director of New Revolution Sports alongside Tons assistant Andre Thomas – the company that will be running Clapton’s U18s team this season.
Akin Obamakin (striker)
Former clubs: Barnet Youth, Tonbridge Angels Reserves.
Akin, 23, told CFC News: “Whilst studying in Birmingham I played for my university and had short spells at clubs in the Midlands area.
“Type of player: tricky, pace and hardworking and looking to score goals for Clapton FC!”
Manager Jonny Fowell said: “We are really excited about Akin, very quick, strong and direct. We believe he will do well this season. I really think once fit akin can cause defenders trouble with his pace. It’s frightening.”
Lee Flavin of Non League Chance said: “Delighted for our player Akin joining Clapton for the season. What a lovely lad. Hopefully he gifts you plenty of goals. He certainly has it in the locker.”
Caiden Imbert-Thomas (striker)
Former clubs: Euro Dagenham, Westhamians U21, Leatherhead U21, May & Baker
Caiden, 19, is the son of former Clapton manager Wilfred Thomas.
He told CFC News: “I signed to get first team experience with a good team that plays good football and with good management to guide me.
“I play as a false striker or a number ten I like to roam about and link up with my midfield. Also I’m creative and can score goals and assist too I’ve got good feet and a decent injection of pace but finding the net is a good strength too.
“I don’t see us doing anything but winning the league this year as the sides solid and good enough to do so.”
Breaking: Yusuf Bello
Eleventh signing announced today – more details to follow.