CAPTAIN OCRAN TO PLAY LAST GAME FOR THE TONS

Geoff Ocran lifts the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy last season (photo: Clapton Ultras)

The Tons’ captain and fans’ favourite Geoff Ocran has revealed that tomorrow’s season finale against Burnham Ramblers will be his last game for the club.

Ocran, an almost ever-present in the team for the last few seasons, has only played seven games this term – the last being the 3-0 loss away to Barking in September – as he has struggled to recover from injury.

As revealed in an interview with Clapton FC News in November, what started as a knee injury spread to his achilles – however at that point he was hopeful of a return in the new year.

Andre Thomas, Miles Hunter and Geoff helping fans collect for the Newham Recorder Toy Appeal in December 2015 (photo: Newham Recorder)

It was not to be though and yesterday Geoff, who at 32 years old is an Essex Senior League veteran, took to Twitter to announce that he will be leaving the club, although Clapton fans may be pleased to hear it’s not to join a rival:

With what should be another historic day on Sat for , this Saturday will unfortunately be my last game for !

This is mainly due to not being able to commit full time to football at this level next season (to clarify before the conspiracy theories starts) 😂😂

He then went on to thank the managers and coaching staff he has played under, thanking former Tons boss Mike Walther for making him captain and praising current manager Jonny Fowell’s decision to give the captain’s armband to his good friend Jerry Jairette.

In and , Clapton will definitely push on with the obvious choice as new club captain!

Thanking for what has been a great 3 seasons not to mention for making me Captain

Fans will mainly remember Geoff for his reliable performances in midfield, however an undoubted highlight for most will be him guiding The Tons to success in the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy last season and lifting the trophy as captain.

Those wishing to show their appreciation should make sure they head to the Dog tomorrow for our last game of the season, kick-off at 3pm.

Geoff playing against Clapton for London APSA in the 2012/13 season (photo: London APSA)

CLAPTON SIGN FORMER REDBRIDGE HOTSHOT – WHILE TWO EX-TONS RETURN

Jay Knight in action for Redbridge (pic: Mick Kearns/TGSPHOTO)

Jay Knight in action for Redbridge (pic: Mick Kearns/TGSPHOTO)

Former Chelmsford City, Redbridge and Welling United striker Jay Knight has registered for Clapton, according to the FA Full-Time site.

Knight scored 15 goals in 36 appearances for The Motormen last season in Ryman Division 1 North, before netting 7 times in 10 games at the beginning of this season in the ESL.

Obviously impressed by this return, National League South outfit Welling United signed him on dual-registration at the end of October, however it seems he failed to make an appearance for either club since.

He scored for Redbridge in their 2-1 win over the Tons in the London Senior Cup last season.

Two other signings have also been added to manager Jonny Fowell’s squad, and they should be familiar to Clapton fans.

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Ike Nzuruba in his previous spell with the Tons

Well-travelled striker Ike Nzuruba has returned to the club, making his second debut against Takeley on Saturday.

Among his former clubs are Leyton, Hayes & Yeading, Hoddesdon Town, North Greenford United, Hatfield Town, Reading Town, Redbridge, Hertford Town- and most recently ESL rivals Stansted. He also had trials with Cardiff City and Cowdenbeath.

Also making a comeback is midfielder Dean Bouho, a popular member of Chris Wood’s Clapton squad who spent the last few seasons at Eton Manor.

CLAPTON FC TOP SCORER AND WINGER RETURN – WHILE FOUR PLAYERS DEPART

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Fahad Nyanja playing for Clapton in 2012

Hotshot Fahad Nyanja is back home for his fourth spell with Clapton – and scored the winner as a sub in his comeback game.

‘Ninja’, 26, left the Tons in September for a spell with Ryman North side Bowers & Pitsea but remained our top scorer even while away.

His injury time winner yesterday at Enfield 1893, tapped in on the rebound, took his tally this season to six goals from five starts and four sub appearances.

He couldn’t quite force a regular place while at Bowers, with 2 starts and 10 sub appearances adding up to only 340 minutes, scoring 1 goal.

Ninja isn’t the only returnee this week, however, as exciting winger Abdeen Abdul is now registered with the Tons again.

The 22-year-old, who grew up in Ireland and won a nationwide search for young talent called The Dream, departed for Ryman Premier side Billericay Town last season.

Although he didn’t enjoy a long-term stint he gained valuable higher-level experience, playing alongside fellow ex-Ton Quinton Monville.

Since then Abdeen has spent time with former Clapton manager Mike Walther’s Stansted in the Essex Senior League.

Four players have exited the Old Spotted Dog meanwhile, most notably midfielder Oti Ikomi, a first-team regular at the start of the season, playing 14 times.

Striker Sam Coe joined the Tons on loan from Romford, but has now moved on to Eton Manor after just two sub appearances.

Also leaving the club are Jerry Puemo and Kenny Aileru, who both arrived from Aldershot Town’s youth team in the summer but did not make an appearance.

CLAPTON CAPTAIN GEOFF OCRAN ON HIS RETURN FROM INJURY, CUP DREAMS – AND RETIREMENT

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The moment Geoff Ocran made history lifting the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy for Clapton

Geoff Ocran ended last season lifting Clapton’s first silverware in decades – so could he repeat the trick this season?

Geoff and the rest of the Gordon Brasted winning squad wrote themselves into the Tons’ roll of honour on that sunny day in April against Stansted.

Our captain fantastic has made just seven appearances this season due to injury, though, and it’s left fans wondering when he’ll return to action.

We spoke to Geoff for an update.

How is your injury?

Well, it started off as my knee then went to my Achilles which is nearly fully healed so now it’s a case of getting fit. I didn’t have a pre-season so I need play catch up with the rest of the squad.

That’s good news. How long do you think it will be before you are back on the pitch, maybe start of 2017?

Yes that would be a good target.. just have to keep the festive food to a minimum.

That is coincidental as we’ve been asked to ask you what you are doing for Christmas. Apparently you were asked in an interview with the Dogcast last year.

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Geoff Ocran interviewed by the Dogcast about his Christmas plans last season

Yes, I remember. I’ll be at home as usual with the family. Staying local. Nothing too expensive, so I’m ready for the January blues.

How do you keep fit when you’re not playing and training?

I try go for runs locally around Wanstead and after this interview I’m going to do a run around Drapers Field not too far from where I live.

What is your favourite chant at Clapton?

i would have to say

– My original chant ‘score a goal for Clapton’

– Peter Moore chant

– A win away (lion sleeps tonight)

– Vince money chant for its pure humour. lol

How do you feel about the cup final win looking back?

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Geoff Ocran with a handcrafted cup filled with pyro after the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy final 

Having played in this league for around 8 seasons it has to be my biggest achievement along with winning the league with Enfield 1893.

The cup win would actually edge it after losing the two finals previously and what it meant for so many people. I can retire a happy man now.

Retire? No! How old are you and how long do you think you will play for?

I’ll be 32 next month. I used to teach in a college which suited me perfectly as i would finish around 4.30/5. Now I’m in educational recruitment I’m finishing much later which makes midweek games and training more difficult. Even in the cup run last year I was getting to away games around 7.15 due to work. So I’ll have to assess it come end of the season and make a decision.

Shock news! What do you make of the season so far?

Yeah I think Mike got to a point where he thought.. he couldn’t take the team any further which is fair enough as he did a lot of stuff in his own time with his own money regarding Clapton.

Jon has come in with a philosophy which will take time to fully come to fruition but I think he has the right ideas and wants to take the club in the right direction. So patience is the key!

Where will we finish this season? And will you be lifting another cup?

I think, barring an Arsenal-type collapse, Barking will run away with the league. Then really it’s going to be a scrap for the places underneath. I think we can finish top 5 once we get a forward firing consistently.

As long as the cup draw is kind to us (no ridiculous Tuesday night away) then I don’t see why we can’t have a repeat of last year’s final.

Who’s your best mate at Clapton and who’s the best player you’ve played with at Clapton?

Good question…

Best mate was Paul Oshin till he left for greener pastures but it would probably be Jerry as I’ve known him the longest.

Actually I’m also quite close with Nyanja too to be fair.

Best player.. I will have to cheat and name two.. Paul Oshin and Quinton Monville.

Thanks Geoff…

Bit off topic. I like the concept of the Footy Ultras.. getting kids involved and just raising awareness of what the ultras stand for. Critical thinking is becoming more and more absent in today’s society as we’ve seen recently, so it’s good to start them young.

THE ‘WHERE ARE THEY NOW?’ XI

GK – Cain Davis: Cain arrived on loan at the Spotted Dog in March 2014 from Wingate & Finchley. As one of the stand outs in a long list of Pape Diagne stand-ins, the former Dagenham & Redbridge and Maidenhead stopper is now keeping goals for Edgware Town in the Spartan South Midlands.

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Quentin is now a regular in the Billericay midfield

RB – Quentin Monville: One in a series of star full backs during Mike Walther’s time at Clapton, Quentin started out with The Tons in summer 2015. He soon made his move to Billericay Town in the Ryman Premier, recently signing a contract extension with The Ricay.

LB – Abdeen Abdul: Another fullback to move directly from Clapton to Billercay, Abdeen made his Blues debut in a 4 – 1 win over Dulwich Hamlet last March. Unlike Quentin, though, he struggled to make an instant impact at Ryman level and has since linked up again with Mike Walther at Stansted.

CB – Eamon Payne: Eamon has made quite a few switches since leaving Clapton in 2015. The former Chelmsford City player registered with Heybridge Swifts, Bowers and Witham Town last season, but was last seen turning out for Southend Manor. He has just signed for Great Wakering Rovers as a free agent.

CB – Fahad Nyanja – Originally a defender at Clapton, Nyanja remains The Tons’ top scorer this season, despite leaving for Ryman North, Bowers & Pitsea in September. Rumours are the Clapton management are very keen to bring the player back on dual registration, although this has yet to materialise.

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Aggio at Clapton in 2012/13

CM – Danny Aggio: The diminutive midfield general initially signed for a struggling Clapton back in 2012 and returned for a second spell in a much improved Tons side in 2014. He has since taken a break from senior football and is now a researcher in Physical Activity at UCL.

CM – George Whitelock: Hopes were high for George when he left Clapton at 16 for Ryman South, Margate in 2013, with former QPR and Wolves midfielder, Simon Osbourne fating the teenager for big things. After a short run in the first team, Whitelock was transfer listed and has since turned out for Thamesmead Town and Ilford. Currently unattached.

AM – Raphael Duyile: In short, he’s back at Clapton, although Raff went the long way round. As reported here, Duyile left In 2014 for Enfield, going on to Heybridge Swifts, then Concord Rangers in the Conference South. Following stints playing in America and New Zealand, Rafa has returned for a second spell at The Dog.

RF – Jerome Martelli: Signed directly by Leyton Orient after surging into Clapton’s first team, Jerome even featured for The O’s in FIFA 14. Despite being reported on by The Metro while in the development side, Martelli struggled with personal issues in E10, signed briefly at Luton Town, but is now currently training at Wadham Lodge.

CF – Shomari Barnwell: Considered, by Mike Walter, too raw at the time for Ryman football in 2015, Shomari singed a professional contract and has made his debut for Dagenham & Redbridge in the National League, just a year after leaving Clapton for Basildon United.

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Shomari Barnwell made his Daggers debut against Macclesfield Town in October

LF – David Fallah: Personally marched up to Lincolnshire by former Tons manager, Chris Wood, Fallah signed for Conference North, Boston United in 2014, following an eventful stint with Clapton. He has since moved back down South and signed for Grays Athletic at the start of this season.

MEET THE CLAPTON FC SIGNINGS: WHO’S WHO OF THE NEW TONS

16 new players have now joined Clapton FC since new manager Jonny Fowell was appointed.

We’ve done some digging into their backgrounds and also given our first impressions of the new crop of Tons recruits.

GOALKEEPERS

Richard Robins

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The former Colchester United youth player played 23 times for Wivenhoe Town in the Thurlow Nunn League between August 2012 and December 2013.

But Richie’s spell there ended in horrific circumstances when he was attacked by a gang of six men while protecting a female friend on a night out.

He suffered a broken nose, eye socket and cheek bones and needed facial reconstruction surgery after the assault outside Subway in Colchester.

Understandably the injuries and ordeal kept him out of the game for a long time but he has since returned to action for his uni, University of East London, helping them to promotion to the top level of student football.

He’s now at Aveley, high flying in the Ryman North league, and has played three times so far this season. However, he is on loan for the season with the Tons and has become the reliable pick in the absence of the injured Pape Diagne.

Alex Henderson

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Goalkeeper Alex Henderson has returned to the Tons after making two starts last season. The former Wells City keeper made his comeback in the 3-1 defeat at Sporting Bengal but looks like he’s set to be back-up to Richie Robins.

Robert Dogaru

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Everyone will remember his match-winning late penalty save on his debut at Southend Manor.

The 17-year-old, who plays for Spurs Development, was comfortable otherwise in his first ever senior game. However, he has yet to play again due to commitments to a Sunday team.

DEFENDERS

Tayo Awoderu

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The young left-back started out at Slough Town’s youth team, earning the most improved player award and breaking into the reserves. He moved on to Enfield Town Under 21s and was on the bench for the first team last season.

While possessing lightning pace – he has competed as a sprinter -he is more than just a bleep test. An overlapping full-back with pace and tricks, but discipline too.

Olanrewanju Vigo

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Full-back Lanre grew up in Lagos and was invited to train with the Nigerian national side under 17s. He joined Northampton Spencer, at Step 5, while studying at the town’s university and also had a spell at National South side Chelmsford City.

Along with Tayo, Lanre has helped fill the problematic full-back slots confidently, both at right- and left-back. Making an effort on Twitter too.

Dylan Ebengo

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The 20-year-old centre-back has joined from Enfield FC, where he had played 10 games this season.

He started out at Borehamwood, before moving to AFC Hayes where he was named reserve team player of the year in 2014.

Sturdy and decisive in his first games at Takeley and Ilford, where he helped the team keep consecutive clean sheets with different centre-back partners.

Andrew Lastic

Made his debut at centre-back at Tower Hamlets, having been signed following a good performance in the trial game with Non-League Chance.

Quincy Egbejale

The 21-year-old university student is a local lad, having been to school at St Bons in Forest Gate while playing the Leyton Orient centre of excellence.

Since then he’s been at Barking reserves, making his debut at 16, played first team football for Grays Athletic in the Ryman North, and more recently Enfield FC.

He’s yet to make his Tons debut but at 6ft 3in he’s expected to be a physical presence at centre-back.

MIDFIELDERS

Louis Rene

A former pupil of St Bons across the road from the Old Spotted Dog, Louis was on the books of Barking FC a few seasons ago, making four appearances.

After that he went to New York on a scholarship at Monroe Community College. He also finished 28th out of 5000 entrants in a global Nike football competition.

Rene left the field in the his first half of his debut at Takeley with concussion and so missed the Ilford game four days later.

Siao Blackwood

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New signing Siao Blackwood pictured signing for Grays this summer

Well-travelled midfielder Siao Blackwood joins the Tons having been released by Ryman Premier side Grays Athletic.

The 26-year-old made two appearances in his brief spell there having previously been on the books of Crystal Palace, Aldershot Town, AFC Wimbledon, Three Bridges, Aveley, Chatham and Peacehaven.

The fact he went straight on corners after coming off the bench at Takeley suggests Fowell rates his deadball delivery highly.

Raphael Duyile

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Bolton Wanderers academy graduate Rafa, 24, is back for his second spell with the Tons after starring in the Chris Wood/Neil Day era.

Since leaving Clapton for Enfield FC, the winger has been at Concord Rangers and Heybridge Swifts, as well as America with South Florida Adrenaline and New Zealand second division side Bay Olympic.

STRIKERS

Stefan Nielsen

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The 24-year-old striker got off the mark with the winner at Takeley, where he was in the right place to score from close range.

He played once for Ilford earlier this season and has been in the successful University of East London first team for the last few years.

Ajani Domingo-Carrington

Known as AJ, this fast and sharp striker is only 17 but has impressed in his first four games, netting two goals.

Not big but not intimidated by the burly centre-back he’s faced in the Essex Senior League either.

Nowhere near the finished article but has shown glimpses of serious ability and his positioning for Ilford goal was like Lineker or Owen.

Samuel Coe

The striker has made sub appearances for the last two games after signing on loan from Ryman North side Romford.

He has scored once in four appearances for Romford having previously been with Witham Town in the same division.

Christian Adu Gyamfi

Tall, raw striker who netted the winner making his debut as a sub at Eton Manor and kept his place for the next few games. The teenager previously played for Collliers Row Juniors in Romford.

*James Steer

Newly added to the squad but unfortunately we’ve drawn a blank on who  he is and what position. More information coming soon.

THREE MORE NEW SIGNINGS ADDED TO CLAPTON SQUAD

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New signing Siao Blackwood pictured signing for Grays this summer

Clapton FC manager Jonny Fowell has registered three new signings ahead of today’s visit to second-placed Hullbridge Sports.

Well-travelled midfielder Siao Blackwood joins the Tons having been released by Ryman Premier side Grays Athletic last month.

The 26-year-old made two appearances in his brief spell there having previously been on the books of Crystal Palace, Aldershot Town, AFC Wimbledon, Three Bridges, Aveley, Chatham and Peacehaven.

Goalkeeper Alex Henderson has returned to the Tons after making two starts last season.

It means Clapton now has six registered ‘keepers – not including utility player Jerry Jariette, who has been forced to go in goals twice this season.

Fowell has brought in loanee signings Richie Robins and Robert Dogaru, fans’ favourite Pape Diagne is out injured while Yakup Seyer and Conor Wheatley have made one appearance each – and both kept a clean sheet.

Meanwhile we’ve drawn a blank on finding out anything at all on third new signing Ajani Domingo-Carrington.

None of the eight players signed by Fowell have had any Essex Senior League experience as the rookie boss tries a new approach.