We wrote this piece for Sawbridgeworth Town’s match day programme on March 17th 2018, which was postponed but then played on March 20th. The home side won 4-0 as Clapton played a team full of trialists.
Good afternoon all and a big thanks to Sawbridgeworth Town for the invitation to contribute to today’s programme.
I think all Clapton supporters would agree that the spirit of friendship and cooperation extended by the majority of Essex Senior League clubs has really helped put a positive shine on what has otherwise been a gruelling season.
As an awayday, Sawbridgeworth has always been a stand out fixture for us. It’s an easy train ride up from Stratford and must be unique in its pubs to per head of the population ratio.
It’s also the sort of place that if it wasn’t for following non-league (or for those with an interest in antiques), many of us East Londoners may never have discovered.
Our hosts today might not thank us for saying this, but even with its leafy location, Crofters End definitely has a feel reminiscent of our much missed Old Spotted Dog.
That’s not to say, however, that Clapton have found this to be a home away from home, with just one league victory here in the last 5 years.
Although we’ve often struggled on trips to Hertfordshire, there hasn’t been much to choose between Clapton & Sawbo in terms of league position in recent seasons.
Both clubs have been mainstays in the top half of the table, with 34 goals traded between us since 2012 – 17 apiece!
From a supporters’ point of view, it’s the guarantee of goals in a hard fought fixture that gets the blood pumping on a Saturday.
With our boycott of home matches now in its seventh month, we’ve missed our usual weekends, which makes fixtures like these all the more special.
Clapton Ultras started in 2012 and joined with existing fan group at the time, the Friends of Clapton, in trying to raise the profile of the club.
We have had some fantastic highs over this period, as our attendances went from single figures to the high hundreds, although we find ourselves now at a difficult point.
Clapton aren’t alone in going through a tough time off the field, with a number of non-league clubs from London and the South East struggling through this season.
It’s the community around non-league, however, that has shone through and has demonstrated to everyone how important it is to support each other.
We all wish Sawbridgeworth Town a good game this afternoon and the best of luck for the rest of the season. Expecting another close one.