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).



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


The actions of Clapton FC chief exec Vince McBean, which have sparked the long-running home fans boycott, have had consequences for other clubs too.

To be clear there is no boycott called on Clapton FC league away games – feel free to go to any of the matches on the road.

You won’t put anyone’s nose out of joint and there are some really warm and welcoming clubs in the Essex Senior League, most notably West Essex, Stansted and Barkingside.

Realistically, though, this season most Tons have thrown their weight into supporting Clapton Community FC, run by members in line with what Clapton FC’s constitution says it should be operated. And it’s hard to juggle two teams.

So away attendances have also been affected… as the figures show.

2019 attendance vs 2018 attendances

13 clubs saw falls in attendances in their game vs Clapton FC this season compared to the same game last season.

Tower Hamlets 82 vs 468 (384 down)
Leyton Athletic 29 vs 248 (219 down)
Barkingside 135 vs 273 (138 down)
Sporting Bengal United 79 vs 210 (131 down)
Walthamstow 88 vs 208 (120 down)
Takeley 42 vs 145 (103 down)
Woodford Town 35 vs 133 (98 down)
Redbridge 63 vs 160 (97 down)
67 vs 146 (79 down)
Stansted 62 vs 122 (60 down)
Ilford 48 vs 101 (53 down)
West Essex 26 vs 70 (44 down)
Sawbridgeworth Town 37 vs 38 (1 down)

One club actually increased their attendance. Strugglers last year but title challengers this year, Hullbridge have seen home crowds soar, more than making up for the loss of Tons fans.

Hullbridge Sports 97 vs 81 (16 up)

We’ve omitted one club which banned away fans in both the league and cup last season. If there’s one club we’re not in a hurry to give cash to again, it’s these.

Southend Manor 44 vs 45 (1 down)

That leaves four clubs from last season who aren’t in the division this season. We’ve added up last season’s attendances at those clubs and compared it to the four new clubs for a rough comparison. However, there is the outlier of Hackney Wick away, which drew in 785 and skews the figures somewhat.

Hackney Wick, Basildon United, FC Romania & Burnham Ramblers vs Hoddesdon Town, Stanway Rovers, Saffron Walden, St Margaretsbury 1199 vs 377 (822 down)

Overall fall

When you add up the away attendances last season versus this season, there are now 2,336 fewer people attending.

With the Essex Senior League average ticket price at £6.28, that equates to up to £14,670 of income lost to its clubs due to the actions of Mr McBean.

And this is not just a one-off amount. That is the likely loss every season while Mr McBean clings on to power.

Perhaps something the Essex Senior League and its member clubs may wish to ponder.



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

£7 adults £4 conc Free under 14s

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

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

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

£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

£6 adults £3 conc Free under 16s

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

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

£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 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.


Clapton’s under 18s in action in the Ingilby Cup semi-final, losing on penalties to Buckhurst Hill

Clapton is without any  youth system after both its current teams decided to quit the Old Spotted Dog after just one year.

Clapton U16 and U18 teams were resurrected last season, having been axed by chief executive Vince McBean the year before.

However, this time it’s the youth teams who have decided to depart, and will now play under the Hackney Wick FC name with games at Mabley Green in Hackney.

A statement from the coaches, to confirm the news, said: “With great regret the youth section will not be at Clapton next year and all our teams and officers will be leaving to another club.”

The coaches’ new set-up at Hackney Wick is being expanded and will feature boys’ U11s, U15s, U16s and U18s teams and a girls’ U17s team.

The statement added: “Speaking to the parents and most importantly the boys, who play and train week in, week out during the season, we all believe we should continue growing away from Clapton.”

In Clapton U18s’ only season they won one cup, reached another cup semi-final, and finished runners-up in the league, the Eastern Junior Alliance.

Some of the youth players stepped up to make their debut in the Tons’ first team. One of them, highly-rated full-back Max Henry, is believed to have been given the chance to join the first team squad.

Several of the Clapton youth team games attracted substantial crowds and the coaches added: “We would like to say thank you to the fans who were wonderful to us during matches, the boys loved it!  I don’t think the EJA has ever had that much fans at a league game.”

The ‘Clapton FC Youth’ Twitter account is already no more, having been renamed Hackney Wick Youth Academy today, but still features some highlights of the past season.



Over recent years Clapton has axed its reserve team, U18s, U17s, U16s, U15s, U14s and U13s, as well as its women’s football section, before the U18s and U16s’ brief revival.

The move means Clapton currently fields only a first team.

Clapton FC News would like to thank all the players who served the Tons so well last season. All the best for the future. 

We have approached the club for comment but they have a policy of refusing to speak to us.