NON-LEAGUE DAY AT THE OLD SPOTTED DOG! HACKNEY WICK VS CLAPTON FC: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

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It’s Non-League Day this weekend, the annual celebration of football lower down the pyramid.

With no football in the Premier League or Championship due to the international break, it means the spotlight turns to non-league football.

This year everything has fallen perfectly into place. Fans have been boycotting home games, but Clapton have been handed an away game. Hurrah!

And as luck would have it, it’s ‘away’ at Hackney Wick FC, who play at the same ground as Clapton.

Confused? We’ll try to explain…

Where and when

The game takes place on Saturday, 7th October 2017 at 3pm.

The venue is the Old Spotted Dog, 212 Upton Lane, Forest Gate, London E7 9NP.

The nearest stations as ever are Plaistow, Forest Gate and Wanstead Park. However, there are some weekend engineering works so check the TFL website.  

If all else fails, it’s a 20-25 minute walk from Stratford station or jump on the 25/86 bus or a taxi at the rank outside.

How much does it cost?

Hackney Wick FC’s admission prices this season are as follows:

£5 adults
£3 students
Free over 60s
Free under 16s

Where does my money go?

For this game, Hackney Wick FC have pledged to donate half of the match takings to the charity Scope. Bravo!  

Hackney Wick are a merger of a club of that name who played in the Middlesex League, and long-time Old Spotted Dog tenants London Bari. They also have a women’s side and eight youth teams.

Do I need to buy a ticket?

No, there are no advance tickets, everyone pays at the turnstiles – in cash, no card! This is non-league football, not the Premier League.

Get there any time from about 2pm. The earlier the better as it should be a big crowd.

Where do I sit or stand?

There is a small seated main stand which fits 100 people only. So if you want a seat, get there early to bagsie one.

Otherwise you can stand anywhere around the ground including grass banks behind both goals.

There is also a covered terrace, recently extended, called the Scaffold. This is the traditional home of the infamous Clapton Ultras.

If you want to join in singing non-stop for 90 minutes, as well as before and after the game, these are the people to seek out and stand alongside.

However, space there is at an absolute premium, so if you are wanting a more chilled experience – a chat with your mates, check your phone, take photos, maybe a bit of a rest from singing, it really is best to stand elsewhere. You’ll get a better view too.

Isn’t there a boycott?

Yes, for Clapton home games.

At the start of the season, supporters group Real Clapton called for action in the wake of the club’s chief executive attempting to liquidate the leaseholding charity that runs the Old Spotted Dog.

With the club’s home for nearly 130 years in peril, RC called on fans to donate to a legal fund to try to stop this happening, That matter is currently awaiting a date in the high court. 

They also asked supporters to take the hard step not to go to home games, as their admission fee would essentially be helping to fund the high court attempt to liquidate the OSD.

This call for a home game boycott was supported by the Clapton Ultras and has meant attendances have fallen by 81%. And that’s not taking into account the club over-stating attendances massively this season.

In reality virtually no one is paying to go into home games now. So until there is an end to the boycott, this is a rare chance to see Clapton play in front of a packed Old Spotted Dog.

Why does the boycott not apply for this?

Because it’s an away game. It’s a simple as that.

Real Clapton have only called for a boycott of home games to avoid funding the legal action. Hackney Wick share the ground but are a different entity.

What about the insurance issue on the Old Spotted Dog?

Real Clapton are also concerned that the Old Spotted Dog may not have public liability insurance given it is currently in the hands of a liquidator.

Clapton FC itself insists that it had already automatically been renewed so there is no problem.

It’s hard for us to prove either way. We are not insurance experts. So we would just advise people to be careful and be aware of any hazards.

Anything else happening?

Image result for clapton ultras food bankYes, the Clapton Ultras will be holding on their regular food bank collections for RAMP, based in nearby Manor Park.

This used to take place inside the ground but the Clapton chief executive banned this a year or so ago.

So you will now find the collecting point outside the Old Spotted Dog pub next door to the ground.

The Ultras have requested tinned food ONLY for this one.

Meanwhile, Hackney Wick say there’ll be various activities, including a crossbar challenge, raffle, penalty shootout and correct score challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FORMER LONDON BARI MANAGER SWITCHES TO CLAPTON

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Chris Davis, back row far right, with his London Bari side before the club merged with Hackney Wick

Former London Bari and Hackney Wick manager Chris Davis is returning to the Old Spotted Dog, it is understood.

The Newham Recorder was first to report that Davis will become part of the coaching set-up at Clapton, a month after departing Hackney Wick.

He spent over three years in charge of London Bari before they merged with Wick, where he lasted just three games before departing by mutual consent.

The news comes in the wake of Tons’ first team coach Ray Bartlett quitting though it’s not clear what role Davis will take up.

One source confirmed to CFC News that Davis had joined but believes that he may be working with the academy set-up.

The Tons’ management and coaching team already includes manager Jonny Fowell, assistant manager Andre Thomas and head coach Colin Reid.

Fowell declined to confirm or deny Davis’ appointment but told Clapton FC News that an official announcement will be made on the club website next week.

The news about Davis, who has a UEFA B coaching licence, was revealed in this week’s Newham Recorder East London Football Podcast.

Sports editor Matt Withers said: “In non-league circles the only thing that caught my attention is Chris Davis, who left Hackney Wick, former manager at London Bari, is now back at the Old Spotted Dog. Is he coaching for Clapton?”

Football reporter George Sessions replied: “Apparently so. There seems a lot of comings and goings at Clapton at the moment…”

“There’s not many fans going!” quipped Withers.

Sessions added: “Yes, of course. Jon Fowell brought in another coach. He already had Andre Thomas and Ray Bartlett. Obviously Ray has left.

“You now have four coaches at Clapton. The thing is, only two people are allowed to stand in the technical area anyway. So you’ve got a lot of chefs at Clapton

“Chris is a lovely guy and good coach because of what he did at London Bari. He was doing a lot better at Hackney Wick than the current guy. So I’m pleased to see him back involved.”

Last week CFC News exclusively revealed Bartlett had quit after two years at Clapton, intending to take a break from football.

However, he was immediately tempted by the challenge of becoming Essex Senior League basement club Wadham Lodge’s assistant manager.

Watch our Facebook Live interview with Bartlett after the two clubs met in the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy on Wednesday night, the Tons running out 4-0 winners.

SERGE PIZZORNO FROM KASABIAN ‘STILL FLOORED’ BY CLAPTON ULTRAS SONG SIX MONTHS ON

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West Essex’s Dan Reading, left, and Serge from Kasabian at the Old Spotted Dog

Serge Pizzorno from Kasabian still talks about his visit to Clapton six months on – and one song from the terraces ‘absolutely floored him’.

The Leicester City-supporting singer was among the 356 at the Old Spotted Dog in March supporting visitors West Essex in a 1-1 draw.

However, perhaps surprisingly the rock star was most impressed by an Ultras’ song based on a dance track – an elongated, rhythmic version of Rui Silva’s Touch Me.

ADan Reading, general manager of West Essex, said: “Serge from Kasabian came down with us last year.

“Clapton in the morning’ absolutely floored him. Still talks about it now.”

He added: “If my memory serves me right, pretty certain he knocked back tickets to West Ham V Leicester to come along.”

And Serge has been invited to the game between the sides at Mayesbrook Park later this season.

West Essex have strong links with the music industry in general, sponsored by indie club night This Feeling and have also been plugged online by Radio X presenter Gordon Smart.

However, Serge is by no means the only musician to have seen the Tons play in the Ultras era either.

St Etienne’s Bob Stanley saw the Tons’ opening day 5-1 defeat at Haringey Borough three seasons ago.

The Tons had a mare, including forgetting their kit, and new manager Mike Walther missed the start of his first game in charge, but Bob was impressed with the Ultras nevertheless.

Infamously, acoustic singer-songwriter Frank Turner visited the Old Spotted Dog on a mate’s stag do last season, prompting a backlash blog. Best not rehash that…

It's my mate @seanedmund 's stag do. We're going to a football match. My first ever. Help.

A post shared by Frank Turner (@frankturner) on

Other music types we’ve seen at Tons game in the last few years include Radio 6 Music DJ Steve Lamacq, Hefner singer Darren Hayman and dance act Caribou, aka Daniel Snaith. However, we’ve been unable to provide photographic or social media evidence yet.

None of them can match DJ Locksmith of Rudimental for commitment to Step Five football. He’s played against the Tons several times in recent years for Ilford, under his real name Leon Rolle.

 

ESSEX SENIOR LEAGUE ADMISSION PRICES 2017/8 SEASON – THE FULL LIST

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The turnstiles at Waltham Forest / Wadham Lodge. Prices at WF have been cut since their relegation to ESL. (Picture courtesy Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game)

How much does it cost to get into Essex Senior League games this season? You’d think it’d be simple to find out but many clubs seem to guard this information as if it were a state secret.

After a huge amount of chasing, however, we can finally bring you the full table, ranked by adult price ticket from highest (boo!) to lowest (yay!)…

Great Wakering Rovers

£9 adults
£5 concessions
Includes a programme

Wadham Lodge

£8 adults
£4 concessions

Southend Manor

£7 adults
£5 concessions
Free under 16s

Sawbridgeworth Town

£7 adults
£4 concessions

Waltham Forest

£7 adults
£4 concessions (students, unemployed, armed forces, pensioners, NHS staff)
Free under 16s

Takeley

£7 adults – includes a programme
£3 OAPs
Free under 16s

Clapton

£6.50 adults
£3 concessions (pensioners, students, unemployed, refugees)
£1 under 18s
Free under 10s
Free disabled

Clapton’s turnstiles. The ticket prices, at £6.50, are above average for the division

Basildon United

£6 adults
£5 seniors
Free under 16s

Burnham Ramblers

£6 adults
£4 concessions

Tower Hamlets

£6 adults
£3 concessions
Free under 16s

Everyone gains admission for £5 on Friday night games

Sporting Bengal United

£6 adults
£3 concessions

Enfield 1893

£6 adults
£3 concessions

Woodford Town

£6 adults
£3 concessions
£1 under 16s

Ilford

£6 adults
£3 concessions
Free under 16s

The home of two Essex Senior League clubs who charge decent prices (picture courtesy Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game)

 

Hullbridge Sports

£6 adults
£3 concessions
Free under 16s

Redbridge

£5 adults
£4 concessions
£2 under 16s
Free under 11s when accompanied

West Essex

£5 adults
£3 concessions
Free under 16s
Including programme

FC Romania

£5 adults
£1 under 16s

Hackney Wick

£5 adults

£3 students
Free over 60s
Free under 16s

Barkingside

£5 adults including programme
Free for kids

Stansted

£5 adults including programme
£3 concessions including programme
Free under 14s

 

Some observations

  • It was extraordinarily difficult to find the prices for many, perhaps most, clubs. If your prices aren’t on your website, Facebook or Twitter, and you don’t respond to emails or tweets, you can’t complain if you’re not attracting new or casual supporters.
  • The average price for an adult in the Essex Senior League is £6.11. However, take out the Great Wakering Rovers outlier of £9, and it’s comfortably under £6. Clapton has the seventh most expensive prices for adults though it does at least have a decent range of concessions.
  • A massive congratulations to Stansted, West Essex and Barkingside, who charge the minimum price possible set by the Essex Senior League of £5 AND throw in a free programme to boot.
  • Redbridge too should be singled out for cutting their prices to £5. Last season, their first back in the ESL following relegation, they kept prices at Isthmian levels. Happily they’ve adjusted that now.
  • The same predicament appears to have affected Great Wakering Rovers, who are charging an astonishing £9 in despite relegation. It’s a decision that’s seen active fan group Rovers Rebels first boycott their home games and now switch to following Southend Sports of the Essex Olympian League instead. A big loss to the ESL.
  • Four East London clubs are charging the minimum price of £5 – Redbridge, West Essex, Hackney Wick and Barkingside – of the six clubs in total. And nearly half of the clubs offer free entry to children, of varying age groups. So plenty of cheap football on our doorstep. Bravo.
  • One of those clubs (Hackney Wick) has publicly said it wants to charge less while another (Barkingside) offer a membership scheme as a way to knock £1 off. So hopefully the Essex Senior League will reconsider its £5 minimum charge. What purpose does it serve? We have contacted them to ask.
  • Former ESL club Haringey Borough, after promotion, now offer free season tickets to local residents and have grown a fan base accordingly. But they would presumably have to stop that if they were relegated back to the ESL.
  • The whole issue of concessions is a minefield. Most offer reduced prices to ‘senior citizens’ and ‘kids’, but unclear at what age that applies, and many others don’t specify who is covered by the word ‘concessions’. Why not just list who qualifies for concessions (Children? Disabled? Students? Unemployed? Pensioners?) to avoid embarrassment at the turnstile?
  • Please note we can’t take any responsibility for these prices being correct at the time of your visit. Clubs do change their prices during the season – such as Clapton infamously did last season.
  • Finally, just to emphasise that this list has taken HOURS of research over several weeks. If we have got something wrong, drop us an email claptonfcnews@gmail.com or tweet us and we’ll correct it. If you want to use our research in your own articles, feel free to do so but please give us a credit.

CLAPTON 2 NORWICH UNITED 0: FA CUP JOY AFTER STYLISH WIN OVER HIGHER OPPONENTS

Clapton fans viewing the game through the fence due to the boycott called by members of Real Clapton FC.

In the build-up to Saturday’s FA Cup preliminary round game at the Old Spotted Dog, manager Jonny Fowell was in the papers talking about his scouting mission to East Anglia to check out Saturday’s opponents, Norwich United, the week before.

One of the key differences between his team and Isthmian North opponents, he told the Newham Recorder, was on-field leadership.

By the end of the game, the manager will have been delighted with the return on his daytrip to Soham. Clapton won with an assurance that made you wonder if Fowell’s remarks were aimed precisely at getting a reaction from his side.

Till the weekend, Clapton’s standout performance this season had been the classy 4-1 win at Ilford. Like then, Saturday saw them go into the game as the outside bet. And like then, Clapton saw Jerry Jairette available again to run things in midfield.

The outcome of both games were uncannily similar, with the Tons absorbing long spells of first-half dominance from technically solid opponents before first stealing the lead and then shutting the game down.

And while captain’s shifts from Jairette were crucial in both matches, it is the energy and confidence that courses through the rest of the team in his presence that won both so stylishly.

This time Jerry was aided and abetted by Nathan Cook, making his first start of the season after some frustrating preseason niggles.

This and the speed and industry of fullbacks Lanre Vigo and Tayo Awoderu freed up Steven Sardinha and the livewire Ryan Reed to play their probing games.

But perhaps the biggest revelations were the huge performances by young centrebacks Zach Miller and man of the match, Quincy Egbejale.

Thanks to Fowell’s reconnaissance, Clapton knew to expect a physical game from Norwich focussing on their powerful attack pairing.

But Egbejale was equal to the lot with a commanding, competitive showing – probably his best in the red and white yet.

He might even have given the Tons the lead, hitting the side netting after a corner, but that honour went to Raphael Duyile, slamming home after a cheekily improvised free-kick routine on 42 minutes.

Clapton might have expected an onslaught from the visitors after the break. It never came. Rather the team continued to grow in stature.

And while it took a goalkeeping horrorshow to set up debutant Ikem Odeh for the clincher on 69 minutes, the second goal just confirmed the inevitable and notched another notable record in the club’s recent revival.

At the final whistle the players made straight for the gates to celebrate with supporters, who once again had amassed outside to provide vocal support from over the fences.

The joy was palpable, and the celebration a reminder of why the effort it worth it.

Fans, players and staff alike can agree that it was a reward made all the sweeter by the and sacrifices made.

Further reading

As you’d expect for an FA Cup tie, there was more interest in the game than usual. So there was a match report in the Non-League Paper…

The two respective local papers, Newham Recorder, and Eastern Daily Press, both reported on the game.

The Clapton FC website also carried a match report, while there was a gallery of photos on its Facebook page.

Posted by Clapton FC on Saturday, August 19, 2017

Meanwhile the game was mentioned in round-ups by the Unofficial ESL website, the Your Thurrock and Pitchero,

Finally, professional photographer Gavin Ellis published a great gallery of pictures.

Attendance: Declared at 122, counted at maximum 78.

CFC News man-of-the-match: Quincy Egbejale

PUTTING THE OLD DOG DOWN – A TIMELINE FOR LIQUIDATION

It’s been a rough 2017 so far for Clapton Football Club off the pitch.

Reports of gross mismanagement from club hierarchy have overshadowed the Tons’ best league finish in nearly three decades and dogged the team’s early-season preparations.

With the players and coaching staff doing their best to keep things ticking over on the pitch, supporter calls for clarity and accountability continue to go unanswered over what many regard as a crisis at 212 Upton Lane.

Clapton Chief Executive, Vince McBean, has yet to publicly comment over his attempt to liquidate the charitable trust* that administers The Old Spotted Dog ground.

The historic site, home to Clapton for over 129 years, is now registered with ST Bennett & Co, insolvency practitioners based in Buckhurst Hill.

However, Mr McBean has continued to trade from the venue he is now legally estranged from, starting the new season with the blessing from the Essex Senior League and apparent tacit approval of the FA.

This legal contradiction has left supporters and some local residents deeply concerned about what is really happening down at the historic football ground.

With what information is available in the public domain, we’ve put together a timeline to try to help explain events leading up to Clapton’s famous home being placed into liquidation, and what has happened since at the beleaguered Old Dog.

 

22 Dec 2016​ – Trustees of Newham Community Leisure Ltd*, including Vincent McBean, directed to attend offices of the Charity Commission for interview. No trustees in attendance. Meeting rearranged for 19 Jan 2017.

19 Jan 2017 – Rescheduled meeting with the Charity Commission & Newham Community Leisure trustees again postponed due to non-availability of trustees. New date for interviews set for 2nd March 2017.

26 Jan 2017 – A new company, ​Veercourt CIC London, is incorporated at ‘Clapton Football Ground’, listing its Industry as ‘Operation of Sports Ground’. Veercourt’s only director is Vincent McBean.

1 Mar 2017 – Newham Community Leisure Ltd enters Members Voluntary Liquidation, appointing ST Bennett & Co as liquidator.

2 Mar 2017​ – Charity Commission interview, that had been postponed twice due to non-attendance of trustees, cancelled due to the insolvency entered the day before.

10 Apr 2017​ – Injunction obtained at High Court by a trustee of Newham Community Leisure Ltd and Clapton FC life member, placing a stay on liquidation.

15 Apr 2017​ – Essex Senior League Secretary Michelle Dorling writes a letter to the liquidator outlining the ‘continued harrassment’ Mr McBean is said to have endured and the league’s ‘integral’ role in attempting to help ‘defuse allegations’ made against him.

24 May 2017 – The Old Spotted Dog is awarded Asset of Community Value status by Newham Council following a supporter-led campaign.

22 Jun 2017 – Clapton FC given the ESL AGM as deadline to provide evidence it has the right to play home fixtures at the Old Spotted Dog. Mr McBean provides a document dated 19th November 2016 (prior to liquidation) as proof. This was accepted by the ESL.

19 Jul 2017 – Mr McBean is a respondent in a hearing at the High Court regarding the liquidation attempt. The judge directs the Charity Commission should be included in proceedings.

12 Aug 2017 – Clapton host their first home fixture on the 2017/18 Essex Senior League season.

 

*Newham Community Leisure Ltd is a registered charity, incorporated in February 1992. Previously named the ‘Clapton Trust Limited’ it was set up to independently administer The Old Spotted Dog ground. Vincent McBean became chairman of NCL in January 2000, shortly after taking over at Clapton Football Club.

werder

Werder Bremen fans join calls to safeguard the future of Clapton FC

ILFORD 1 CLAPTON 4: TONS BOUNCE BACK WITH DERBY DAY THRASHING – MATCH REPORT AND WATCH ALL THE GOALS

 

Clapton taking on Ilford under the floodlights at the Cricklefield Stadium

Hats off to Jeffrey Cobblah. That’s one way to start your story.

It’s not unusual for players to arrive at Clapton without much more than a coach’s hunch and a chain of tweets to give you any idea what kind of player they might be. There’s no shame in this. Step 5 football is off the radar. That’s part of the charm.

Take Johnny Ashman. Last season was his first in senior football. Google his name 12 months ago and you get nothing, or thereabouts. Now he’s scoring for Isthmian North club Cheshunt and has left behind a lot of fans, some half-decent songs and a pretty big hole in the Clapton line-up.

Into that gap – the same No11 shirt, in fact – has stepped Jeffrey Cobblah. “Skillful & pacey winger,” said the club’s official Twitter.

Google his name, though, and there’s not much to go on. In fact, already it’s dominated by links to local reports about this very performance. Maybe he’s already writing his story himself.

An emphatic hat-trick against local rivals who are, reportedly, spending big to clinch the title is a statement and a half.

And while the 4-1 result perhaps slightly flatters Clapton, Cobblah’s performance deserves all the plaudits.

As Dre Thomas (still deputising for the holidaying Jonny Fowell) told the Newham Recorder, there was a hint of Arjen Robben in the way the left-footed winger cut in off the right wing.

He had already clipped the bar with one from outside the box before his next pop, via a slight deflection, gave the Tons the lead at the break.

Cobblah’s first goal:

By that point the ex-Clapton striker (and Downs FC star) Khadean Campbell had struck the post when it was still 0-0, and Ilford would have taken the first half on points easily were it not for Cobblah’s effort.

However Clapton’s new winger put the hosts on the canvass with his other two.

First he capitalised on an airkick by a Foxes centre-back to dink it past the on-rushing ‘keeper.

Cobblah’s second goal

And then he wrapped up a lovely passing move, slamming home following Rafa Duyile’s backheel.

Game over.

Cobblah’s third goal

The ground for the win was laid by a Clapton performance completely unrecognisable from Saturday. Once again Jerry Jairette was pivotal, restored to midfield and dictating the tempo for the visitors alongside the industrious Kristian Haighton.

Eman Olajide was, if anything, busier in goal than against shot-shy Basildon, but was equal to everything, making one outrageous save at 2-0, going full length to deny James Peagram, making his home debut after switching from ESL champions Barking.

Olajide was denied the clean sheet his heroics deserved when Peagram converted a late penalty, before Ryan Reed got the Tons’ fourth from another spotkick – arguably just desserts for carrying the team on Saturday.

James Peagram’s penalty

Ryan Reed’s penalty

But Cobblah’s hattrick rightly got the attention – and in front of a watching Johnny Ashman, as it happens.

In fact, Ashman revealed to fans he is still available to play for Clapton thanks to his dual registration with Cheshunt.

For now, his shirt looks like it’s being well taken care of.

Cobblah got a nasty-looking cut to the side of his face for his troubles, but he is now joint top scorer in the ESL.

Essex football expert Dan Wilson was there and caught all the goals on camera, which you can see above.

The Newham Recorder’s Jacob Ranson was also there, noting in his match report that “electric winger Jeffrey Cobblah proved too much for the Ilford defence”.

And after the game he also grabbed an interview with assistant manager Andre Thomas, who compared Cobblah to wingers Robben or Duff while also picking out keeper Emmanuel Olajide for praise.

Jacob also interviewed opposition manager Allan Fenn, who was disappointed at a ‘lack of fight’ from his players as he looks for 2 or 3 more signings. But he also praised Tons keeper Olajide too for saving a couple of worldies.

Finally he also uploaded this YouTube video of the players celebrating with the visiting fans on the open terrace at Cricklefield.

Something that Dan Wilson also filmed and tweeted.

Football blogger Richard Brock was also at the game and posted a gallery of 62 pictures.

Meanwhile over on the Unofficial ESL website, Pete Dudley wrote of Clapton’s “thumping win” in his round-up of midweek action.

Many of the players also had their say afterwards.

 

ATTENDANCE: Unknown

CFC NEWS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jeffrey Cobblah