2017/8 – CLAPTON’S SEASON IN NUMBERS

vigo.jpg

1 – Lanre Vigo kickstarts our article by holding one finger up. Pic: https://www.piispanenossi.com/

 

Congratulations to the Tons playing staff, and thanks to the long-suffering fans, for another historic season in very trying circumstances.

2 – clubs, Southend Manor and Met Police, which banned Clapton’s away supporters due to fear of ‘pyro’ being used, despite a vote from the Ultras not to use them, which was rigidly adhered to.

3 – FA Cup rounds played, the first time we’ve won two FA Cup ties in a season since 1995/6.

4 – clubs who posted their highest ever attendance in their history when hosting the Tons this season – Hackney Wick, London Lions, Tower Hamlets and Wadham Lodge. 21 clubs recorded their season best crowd with the Tons in town.

5 – fifth season in a row the Tons finished in the top half of the table, for the first time since 1926/7.

6– articles on the official Clapton FC website relating to the team during the entire season, the most recent being on October 14th. The website went four months without any news update at all.

8 – Winning streak of games in the league from Enfield at home on October 3rd to Barkingside away on November 10th. The longest running streak since 1982/3.

10 – seasons of service that Jerry Jairette gave the club before being sacked, in his testimonial year, after criticising opponents who had banned fans. The club collected 36 in 17 games while Jerry was still there , at 2.12 points per game, and 27 points in 23 games afterwards, at 1.17 points per game,

11 – goalkeepers used , including outfield players Jerry Jairette and Nick Loblack, and including 6 keepers in 3 games.

18 – attendance at Clapton’s lowest gate of the season, the home game against Hackney Wick FC. The reverse fixture pulled in 785.

21 – goals scored by winger Jeffrey Cobblah in his first season at the club. Other top scorers were midfielder Steven Sardinha on 13, winger Aundre Spencer on 7 and defender Dylan Ebengo, striker Hassan Nalbant and midfielder Jay Morris all on 4,

53 – Average attendance at Clapton home league games this season, down from 388 for non-boycotted games the previous season.

63 – points gained this season, down from 92 in 2016/7 and 67 in 2015/6, but still the third best total since 1982/3.

64 – players used during the season as manager Jonny Fowell struggled to find a settled line-up.

186 – average attendance at Clapton away games.

273 – days the fans boycotted home games – the whole season. From the opening game on July 29th, through 20 league games and 7 cup games, to the final game on April 28th.

460 – the record amount, in pounds, that Clapton fans raised for the annual Newham Recorder Christmas Toy Appeal

785 – the attendance at Clapton’s away game at Hackney Wick, the largest in the Essex Senior League since Jimmy Greaves played for Brentwood at Billericay Town in 1976.

Advertisements

CLAPTON LEGEND JAIRETTE DEPARTS UNDER A CLOUD

Jerry

Club talisman, Jerry Jairette has today astonishingly been forced out of Clapton after over ten years’ service for refusing to delete a tweet.

Jerry, who was given a testimonial match by the Tons last summer, publicly criticised two recent opponents who had banned Tons supporters from their respective grounds earlier this month.

The outspoken support for fans by the Club captain seemingly sparked a row with manager Jonny Fowell and chief executive Vince McBean, who suggested Jerry would be fined by the FA and banned for five games if he did not delete the tweet.

Jerry, who is currently injured after again playing in goal when his team found themselves without a recognised ‘keeper, declined to delete the tweet saying it was opinion, but agreed not to repeat it and to cover any fine himself that came the club’s way.

It then emerged that the punishment was being implemented by the club itself, not the FA, and the in-house five-game ban was being delayed until Jerry returned to fitness in January.

This was a particular bitter pill considering the utility man’s lay-off came after he was injured playing out of position in goal, as a favour to manager Fowell. The third time he had agreed to do so this season.

Jerry went public with the row today, announcing that ‘his time at Clapton has come to the end’ after asking to be released due to the club banning him

 

Eager to get the facts out there, Jerry took to Twitter again to publish his recent Whatsapp conversation with Jonny Fowell regarding the tweet and his future at the club.

 

 

There was a huge surge of support within minutes of Jerry’s announcement.

Former Clapton assistant manager Andre Thomas, now at Barking, backed Jerry, saying: “He would’ve never got a ‘fine’ or ban for those tweets. His opinion is his opinion and he hasn’t even mentioned a club.”

While Lizzy Matthews, another former member of the Clapton bench, commented: “As much as it angers me to see this happening that’s one loyal person away from the poison inside that club”.

A Clapton Ultras statement said: “We are stunned that McBean’s Clapton have forced out club captain and loyal servant, Jerry Jairette, after he tweeted his dismay with the recent bans imposed on Clapton supporters. This is a new low for this regime.

“We believe these bans on us are hostile and utterly without basis. That McBean’s regime has now made players (and one of its most loyal ever) pay for their sorry approach to running our football club is beyond the pale.”

Clapton FC News contacted the club for comment. They have yet to reply in keeping with their policy not to speak to us. There has also been no social media response or post on their website at the loss of the loyal club captain.

Fowell said he was unable to comment and also declined an opportunity to pay tribute to the departing club hero.

BARKING SWOOP FOR TONS STARS REED AND OLAJIDE

IMG_0666.JPG

Ryan Reed with the runners-up shield and an award from the fans after last season’s performances

Barking have swooped for two of Clapton’s star players Ryan Reed and Eman Olajide just weeks after coach Andre Thomas switched to the Bostik North side.

Reed scored two, including a 25-yard wonder strike, last night to help the Tons win 3-2 at Barkingside and sign off in style.

Watch it from two angles here:

 

Reed later posted a farewell message to fans on Twitter, saying: “I’d just like too say thank you too every Clapton fan that has come to watch us boys last season and this season, Playing in front of a crowd has been a joy. Thanks guys #COYTons!!”

 

Winger Reed grabbed seven goals and 18 assists last season and was on course to do even better this season with nine goals and six assists already.

He is still registered with the Tons as well so it’s always possible that we could see him back at the Tons – as with Johnny Ashman’s surprise two-game return earlier this season.

However, it feels like he will go straight into the Barking team with the club official Twitter and first team coach Kiers Hughes-Mason both quick to welcome him to Mayesbrook Park.

 

 

Olajide meanwhile joined Barking on an emergency loan last week after an injury to their regular keeper Ollie Bowles and kept a clean sheet on his debut on Tuesday and again on Saturday.

Olajide is also still registered with the Tons although it’s understood it was agreed between the clubs he would not play on Friday night to keep him fresh for Barking.

It’s possible he will play for the Tons again when Bowles recovers from injury – though he may have become first choice by then.

Manager Jonny Fowell said of the departing players: “There two fantastic boys who really want to learn and play as high as they can.

“Just very surprised why other clubs didn’t take them but @barkingfc have them so well done and good luck.”

As well as Andre Thomas, Reed and Olajide join former Tons favourites, striker Jay Knight and defender Hussain Jaffa, at Barking.

FANS’ FAVOURITE KRISTIAN HAIGHTON REVEALS WHY HE’S LEFT CLAPTON

Fans’ favourite Kristian Haighton announced this week that he was leaving Clapton after two seasons.

The utility man posted a Twitter message about the ‘hard decision’ he’d made while praising some ‘great people’ and ‘incredible fans’ at the club.

He arrived at Clapton the beginning of 2015/6 from the Swedish third division and quickly formed a reputation with the Tons as a solid and classy operator across the defence or midfield

Having been one of the most consistent picks in the last two years, even captaining the side many times, Haighton had been in and out of the side this time round.

So we asked him if lack of playing time was the reason why he was leaving the Tons.

Haighton told CFC News: “No, I’m not moving on due to lack of appearances. The lack of playing recently was due to myself and my availability.

“I’ve been looking to move back home to Felixstowe and commute into London for work therefore journey times etc wouldn’t be ideal for Saturday fixtures.

“Also, last season we finished second which was amazing! Obviously all the boys want to push and play for promotion but unfortunately due to the standards of our facilities even if we were to finish top this season we wouldn’t be able to go up! Unless a lot of changes happen at the club.

“So of course I’m hoping to work hard and get my head down and join a club with the ambitions to push for promotions and that has the same drive as myself.

“I’m not saying Clapton didn’t have this but there are a lot of things currently in the way that are stopping that from happening.

“All I know is there is a quality squad at Clapton that deserve to play higher and deserve this for their efforts especially for last season. I think the fans deserve this too!”

One of Kristian Haighton’s modelling shots

As well as being one of the most physically fit players, Haighton was one of Clapton’s Spice Boys, one of several easy-on-the-eye faces who also worked as a model.

We can’t pass up the opportunity to remind you he also made a TV appearance as ‘handsome man eating scotch egg’ in a furniture ad.

We also asked about his highlights with the Tons and unsurprisingly the discussion went straight to the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy final win in 2015.

He said: “It was a pleasure to play for Clapton and I feel lucky to have captained such a great team especially under your support. And with such a talented squad.

“My favourite moment was winning the cup final in the first season with the club, That day was just perfect, fans, the squad, even to the celebrations afterwards,

“Another personal moment that I’ll always cherish is hearing my chant from you amazing fans for the first time!

“I’d never had that before and from then on I felt welcomed as if I was part of the family.”

The reaction from fans and players showed he will be much missed – and manager Jonny Fowell said he’s welcome back any time.

 

ELEVEN INS AND OUTS AS CLAPTON LOOK TO KICKSTART LEAGUE CAMPAIGN

Jonny Fowell has brought in Colin Reid as head coach

Manager Jon Fowell has added four new players and seen seven depart in recent weeks as Clapton look to get their Essex Senior League campaign back on track.

The Tons sit in seventeenth spot, just one place above relegation zone, after an iffy start to the league campaign, though enjoyed two great wins in the FA Cup, including against higher level Norwich United.

Fowell has also appointed former Macclesfield Town and Bishops Stortford coach Colin Reid as his new head coach, alongside assistant manager Andre Thomas and Ray Bartlett, the first team coach.

Having drawn a blank in front of goal in four of the nine matches this season, much of the player changes have been up front.

As the Tons look for their first home win of the season against Burnham Ramblers on Saturday, here we run through the changes since our last article on arrivals and departures.

 

Outs

Attacking midfielder Raphael Duyile, a near ever-present since returning to the club last season, has joined Essex Senior League rivals Barkingside. Rafa scored once this season and three times last but now reunites with former Clapton manager Mike Walther and has already played twice for the ‘Side.

Striker Craig Heskey has rejoined his former club Burnham Ramblers, for whom he scored 4 in 10 games at the end of last season. What are the odds on a goal on his return to the Old Spotted Dog on Saturday? Heskey started just one game in his second spell at Clapton plus two sub appearances.

Another striker Anton Stephenson also departs after taking the assistant manager’s job at Barking. He reunites with Justin Gardner, with whom he worked at Tower Hamlets. Stephenson started one game – the FA Cup tie at FC Clacton where he scored the only goal – and made two sub appearances. He appears to have also signed as a player for Redbridge.

Grafting midfielder Dean Bouho, pacy wideman Mustafa Kahie, composed centre-back Jordan Meikle and young striker Caiden Imbert-Thomas have also left the club after just 1 start and 2 sub appearances between them this season.

Ins

Greg Akpele made his Clapton debut in the 3-0 FA Cup defeat against Needham Market after signing from Non-League Chance. Announcing the signing, Fowell said attacker Akpele “will be a sensation at this level.”

Akpele caught the eye of higher level clubs after scoring 11 goals in the Essex Senior League for Basildon United four seasons ago. After trials with professional clubs, including Leyton Orient, Dagenham & Redbridge, he then went on to short spells at Braintree Town, Hampton & Richmond. Kingstonian, Cheshunt, VCD Athletic, Barkingside and Burnham Ramblers. Last season he was at Romford in the Isthmian North, where he bagged 6 goals.

Tall striker Ikem Odeh enjoyed a dream debut for the Tons, scoring on his debut against Norwich United. Starting as a youth at St Albans City, he’s since played for Cockfosters and Berkhamsted, in the Spartan South Midlands League, the same level as the ESL, scoring 2 in 30 appearances,

Also newly registered are Nick LoBlack, a former Haringey & Waltham Development defender, and former Ilford player Scott Hill.

JERRY JAIRETTE TESTIMONIAL – INTERVIEW AND PHOTO GALLERY

Jerry Jairette played 45 minutes for both sides

Last month, Clapton took on a former Tons XI to mark Jerry Jairette’s ten glorious years at the club.

A decent crowd turned up to pay tribute and enjoyed an end-to-end game that finished 2-2 and the chance to see some familiar faces on the Old Spotted Dog pitch once more.

We’ve finally put together a gallery of pictures from the day thanks to ace photographer Rich Bradley.

Clapton FC News also spoke to the Tons favourite about the day and his time at the club which you can read below the photos.

 

On the testimonial…

I loved it. It is something I will remember the rest of my life. The fans, the banners, the songs, my family being there. It was the first time for most of them. My nan has never watched me play until that day and she’s 85. So that means a lot.

Thank you so much to you and everyone for taking the time to help my day be so special the comments had me teary eyed.

On his decade at Clapton…

What can I say, 10 years a Ton and at least 1 more season to go. From the bottom of the league with no support to winning cups and finishing our highest place in the ESL to date.

On the best players he’s played against…

In my early days, Dwight Gayle: he was a very active striker and you couldn’t stop him scoring. When we played Stansted away I remember we got told about him and what he would play like but he was still getting through.

Recent seasons, Sipho Mtyanda. He is very hard to play against: strong, fast and technically good but I have enjoyed playing against him the last few seasons.

On his early days at Clapton…

I started as a goalkeeper for Clapton in the reserves. One game we turned up with 9 or 10 players and 2 of us were goalies. So I said to the manager at the time Benroy Spring “I can also play on the pitch,” and he put me at left back. We lost the game but he said to me “you’re not playing in goal again.” That was the end to goalkeeper being my preferred position.

On his biggest influences…

Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira and Paul Scholes. I support neither of the teams they played for but I liked the hunger and the passion they showed on the pitch and the way they lead their teams. Of course the tackles too.

My dad as well: I think if it wasn’t for him I would have stopped playing a long time ago.

On how football has changed…

It was more physical back in the day. I think now it’s a lot more technical than back then. I would like to see more loyalty in football as well, it seems like that’s hard to find.

On other teams he’d have played for…

I think if I didn’t play for Clapton I would have liked to have played for Tower Hamlets as I’m originally from Bow so they would have been my local team. But once I’ve finished with Clapton I’ll try my luck at Custom House FC.

On his best position…

Centre midfield: I like it there, you’re always involved in defending and attacking. I have played every position for Clapton.

On why he stayed at Clapton..,

I could see the potential of the club and I’ve played with a lot of good footballers away from Clapton. I believe one day Clapton will get hold of the local talent and put the club in the league it should be in. Also the managers and coaches I had at the time in Benroy, Wilf and Carl – for the type of player I was back then they snapped me into shape mentally as well as physically for the ESL.

On why he’s called Jerry…

My name is Abraham Jerry Jairette, like my dad, grandad and my son but we all dislike the name Abraham so we are all called Jerry apart from my son, he is called A.J.

CLAPTON’S BEST NEWCOMER LANRE VIGO’S ADVENTURES IN FOOTBALL SO FAR

Lanre Vigo

In our long awaited second instalment of player profiles we bring you Lanre (or Olanrewanju) Vigo. The British Nigerian full back has been impressing since his arrival last season.

Lanre began his football career during his time at University in Northampton where he was studying Business Computing Systems.

He spent a season with Northampton Spencer FC in 2011, then went on to play for Chelmsford Reserves the following season, then playing for Springfield FC who are situated in the same city. Then it gets a little interesting.

In his pursuit of a professional contract Lanre went to the United States to play for London United Academy Florida. That is a team of ex professionals all hoping to make football a full time job in the ‘land of the free’.

During his three-month stint there he played against an impressive array of teams. That includes Philadelphia Union, Columbus Crew and even Costa Rican under 23s!

You can see highlights of his time over there on YouTube:

When he returned to the UK he was able to obtain a trial at Livingston FC.

Getting a professional contract is still the main goal for Lanre. And he believes Clapton is a good platform.

He told us: “I felt that I could get fantastic exposure at Clapton and I did, I even got a trial with Gillingham FC but that fell through when the manager (Justin Edinburgh) got sacked”.

Lanre, who is originally from Nigeria, doesn’t see a career playing football there although there are opportunities and the quality is growing. He feels “right now it’s best for me to be here where I can get noticed easily”.

Last season’s winner of the Best Newcomer at Clapton was discovered playing against the Tons in a trial game for Soccer Shop Window.

Lanre Vigo receiving his Best Newcomer award at the Players’ End of Season Awards

The speedy right-back impressed with his mature head and formed a good partnership with Jonny Ashman ahead of him. Now Jonny has moved on and up, maybe we will see him getting forward more too this season.

At the moment Lanre is enjoying life at Clapton. “You know what I fell in love with Clapton, initially I meant to be at Clapton for a short period but I fell in love with the club and the fans, I had never experienced anything like this before.

“I had offers from other teams but I just couldn’t leave Clapton…… unless for a professional club.”

We at Clapton FC News wish you all the best. Follow our star full back Twitter on @LanreVigo