CLAPTON GIVEN EXTRA TIME TO SORT WHERE TEAM WILL PLAY NEXT SEASON

IMG_2290.JPG

The Old Spotted Dog pitch pictured last week

Clapton appear to have been given extra time to confirm where they will play their home games next season.

 

The Essex Senior League and the FA had given the Tons a deadline of last night’s league AGM to prove they could continue as tenants of the Old Spotted Dog.

If not, they would need to arrange a groundshare somewhere else or even sit out the season as ‘non-playing members’ of the league.

However, sources at the AGM say the issue of where the Tons and fellow OSD tenants Hackney Wick FC will play was not discussed.

It’s understood both clubs paid their fees and will be included in the fixtures for the coming season on the assumption the ground issue will be sorted.

No one from Clapton has commented since but Hackney Wick this morning tweeted in response to a question about where they will play: “Will see when the season starts.”

All clubs usually have to confirm where they will play next season by the end of March.

However, a complication arose when Vince McBean, who is in charge of both the charitable company that holds the lease and separately Clapton FC, put the leaseholding company into voluntary liquidation.

That liquidation, which claimed the company had debts of £203,000 in the form of loans, is currently on hold. A High Court hearing will determine whether it can proceed, but no date has been fixed for this yet.

In the meantime, the liquidator controls the leaseholding company and only they can decide who can play at the Old Spotted Dog.

The ground issue will need to be sorted soon as the first of five friendlies – all at home – begin with captain Jerry Jariette’s testimonial on July 8th.

The draws for the FA Cup and FA Vase take place the day before, 11am on July 7th, and it’s unclear if the Tons and Hackney Wick will be included if the ground issue is not resolved by then.

The Essex Senior League season itself begins on July 29th though it is possible for clubs to be given away fixtures only for the first few weeks.

Last season Haringey & Waltham did not secure their ground, the Terence McMillan Stadium in Plaistow, until late September and hopped around playing one-off home games at several locations before then.

Clapton has played at London’s oldest senior football ground, the Old Spotted Dog in Forest Gate, since 1888.

Yesterday it was revealed that supporters had succeeded in getting it listed on Newham Council’s list of Assets of Community Value.

Under the Localism Act, the ACV gives The Dog an additional layer of protection in law and also means that the community would get first rights to buy, should the ground ever come up for sale.

CLAPTON FANS RESPOND WITH ACV TO HELP SAFEGUARD GROUND

Clapton fans have notched a major victory in the fight to save the Old Spotted Dog ground, having just secured ‘asset of community value’ status for the site following a six-month long process.
Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 19.04.42

Newham Council have today announced they have accepted the supporters’ bid to add London’s oldest senior football ground to the list of important local landmarks.
Under the Localism Act, the ACV gives The Dog an additional layer of protection in law and also means that the community would get first rights to buy, should the ground ever come up for sale.
Fresh fears were raised earlier this week over the future of the site, following concerns expressed by the Essex Senior League and the FA, over an attempt to liquidate the trust that runs the historic grounds.
An injunction won at the High Court back in March has put a stay on the liquidation process, a position hopefully strengthened by the award of an ACV.
Clapton FC adopted The Old Spotted Dog in 1888 following a relinquishment by St Barts hospital. The grounds had previously been used to stage test cricket before switching usage to football. 0a222a7369ab7526b040d40d24aff8ab
The old ground on Upton Lane has also previously welcomed heavyweights like Tottenham Hotspur and Ajax to Forest Gate and once saw West Ham United as regular visitors.
The OSD joins Queens Street Market and Christendom House as successful applicants for ACV status in Newham. The award, however, doesn’t guarantee Clapton FC will get future use of the land.

A spokesman for the council said the decision was made on 24th May but the decision was only announced on 22nd June.

Local residents in Waltham Forest successfully secured an ACV for the now derelict Leyton FC ground in 2016.

More than a year on, the pitch is still being used as a car park for a nearby function room.

Events at tonight’s Essex Senior League AGM could prove pivotal in determining whether The Old Spotted Dog will see any football in the near future.

CHIEF EXEC LIQUIDATION MOVE PUTS TONS’ SEASON IN PERIL

image

The Old Spotted Dog is London’s oldest senior football ground

Well documented troubles behind the scenes at Clapton seem to have taken a dire turn this week, with the Essex Senior League and the FA demanding assurances from club Chief Executive, Vince McBean, over the immediate future of the club.

By taking the extraordinary decision to call in the liquidators for Clapton’s famous Old Spotted Dog ground in March of this year, for reasons as yet unclear, McBean has generated huge uncertainty over where (or if) Clapton will play for the coming 2017/18 season.

Now the Essex Senior League has called on the Chief Exec to clarify the status of the ground as a matter of urgency, with fixtures for the season due to be finalised following the League AGM this Thursday.

 

With liquidation initiated, Mr McBean must now secure permission from the liquidator to continue playing in Forest Gate or find an alternative venue to host Clapton home matches for the season.

With no club statement on the issue forthcoming, It is unclear whether either option is viable.

Hackney Wick – who have merged with London Bari and were also due to play at the Old Spotted Dog  next season – are also in the same position.

This uncertainty couldn’t have come at a worse time for Clapton, following the club’s most successful season in decades.

Clapton could even be forced to explore the same route taken by Eton Manor, by remaining in the ESL as a ‘non-playing member’ for the coming campaign.

Mr McBean took control at the Old Spotted Dog back in 2000 and presided over the club as it dropped out of the Isthmian League for the first time since the Tons were founder members back in 1905.

His previous club, Woodford Town, moved to groundshare at The Dog in 1999 following the demise of their own Snakes Lane ground.

 

CLAPTON ANNOUNCE TIE-UP WITH NEWLY-REFORMED EPPING FC

5381860912_1a2b1d0040_z.jpg

The terrace at Epping FC’s Stonards Hill ground

Tons manager Jonny Fowell has announced via Twitter that Clapton will be working with newly reformed Epping FC.

Epping FC are back for the upcoming season after they folded a year ago. They will be begin life again in the Essex Olympian League, and will be partly serving as development squad for Clapton.

They will be playing once again at Stonards Hill Recreation Ground, a short walk from Epping station on the Central Line, with games taking place on Saturdays at 2pm.

JMYVwTCn_400x400.jpg

The Epping FC logo

The link appears to involve players being dual registered for Clapton and Epping and therefore they will be able to play for both teams.

The move comes a year after it was announced there will be no reserves or youth teams for Clapton for the 2016/17 season.

This meant that the manager hosted a number of trial games during his first season to assess potential new players.

5381858616_7fb932a96c_z.jpg

Stonards Hill Recreation Ground

The hope is that this partnership with Epping will return to a more traditional form of developing and assessing players.

Newham-based New Revolution Sport previously announced plans to form a Clapton under-18s team.

The academy, which will be run separately from the main club, also offers a chance to study for a BTEC sports diploma in a two-year football and education program.

Jonny describes Epping manager and ex-Ton Asa Pamplin – who also turned out for Aveley, Enfield Town, Hornchurch and Ilford in his playing career – as a “life long friend”.

Asa told us: “The club folded last year so along with the council and some good sponsors we reformed the club.

“Using yourselves as a good example we aim to be a community club.

“I’ve played football with Jon since we were nine years old so after speaking to him and Clapton not having a reserves and relying on trial games it seemed a good opportunity for us to give some game time to squad players who are not getting 90 minutes.”

It is believed the deal will work in favour of both teams, with Epping able to utilise some of the Tons players who will be hoping to make the step up to the Essex Senior side.

The Epping side will have ambitious of their own as they return to St Stonards Hill with new sponsors.

In partnership with the local council, they hope to embed the club back into the community.

We at Clapton FC News wish them the best of luck.

Follow Epping’s progress here @EppingFC_

SHOCK AS ONE OF LONDON’S OLDEST CLUBS QUITS ESSEX SENIOR LEAGUE

image

Alf Ramsey and the Eton Manor team in the 1950s

Eton Manor, one of London’s oldest clubs formed in 1901. have pulled out of the Essex Senior League.

The FA yesterday released the list of clubs set to start the 2017/18 campaign with The Braves noticeably absent.

Set up as a sports club for the poor and underprivileged youth of East London, they historically played at The Wilderness in Hackney Wick, on what is now the Olympic Stadium park.

In the 1950s they were coached by Alf Ramsey in his first managerial role on the rise to the England job and to World Cup glory in 1966.

The club have spent the last few decades ground sharing, kept alive by chairman Reg Curtis, but he has now been forced to step down.

It is claimed that Manor will be ‘non-playing members’ of the ESL next season, raising the slight prospect that they might return in 2018/19 season.

image

The memorial to Eton Manor members who died in World War One

It means the ESL will only have 21 teams – meaning one team will have a free weekend each week.

Saffron Walden Town’s bid to switch from the Eastern Counties League was rejected.

Meanwhile the resurrected Woodford Town have been approved by the FA, but they have been allocated to the Spartan South Midlands League not the ESL as they’d hoped.

Finally, the merger between Hackney Wick and London Bari has been approved and the new club – named Hackney Wick – will be in the ESL next season.

The 21 teams in the ESL

EX CLAPTON BOSS MOVES ON IN BIG ESSEX SENIOR LEAGUE MANAGEMENT RESHUFFLE

Mike Walther is moving on again

Former Clapton manager Mike Walther has left Stansted after less than a season with the Essex Senior League club.

Walther, who was the Airportmen’s number two, has departed alongside manager Mark Ashford after guiding the club to eighth place last season.

Ashford has completed his UEFA ‘A’ badge and is set to be looking for a challenge higher up the pyramid.

It is understood Walther, who left the Tons in September, may have an offer from a club above the ESL for next season.

Stansted have moved to bring in Hannakins Farm management duo Paul Pittuck and assistant Mark Healy.

They had led the Essex Olympian League side to promotion and narrowly missed out on the title last season.

Also giving a deserved chance to promising coaches from the Essex Olympian League, which sits below the ESL in the pyramid, are Basildon United.

The Bees have poached manager Marc Harrison and assistant Liam Wallace from their crosstown rivals Basildon Town after they achieved the league and cup double.

Meanwhile Tony Ievoli, who left Ryman North side Brentwood Town late last season, is back in the Essex Senior League, taking over at basement club Haringey & Waltham.

Ievoli will be looking to replicate the success he enjoyed at Wadham Lodge, where he took the unfancied E17 club to sixth spot in their first ever Essex Senior League campaign.

SUPPORTERS GROUPS WORLDWIDE BACK CALL FOR A FAN-OWNED FUTURE FOR CLAPTON

A month ago fans’ group the Clapton Ultras released a statement backing campaign group Real Clapton’s legal action fund.

The fund aims to help safeguard Clapton FC’s existence – in real peril given the attempts to liquidate the ground’s leaseholding company — and then by the end of 2017 see the fans run the club. 

Since then a variety of different supporter groups, local businesses and comrades have quickly responded to show their solidarity and support..

St Pauli’s Blocknachbarn

rcbanner

At their May 14th game against Fürth, FC St Pauli supporter group Blocknachbarn displayed a banner that said, “Hate owners, support the real Clapton FC”

Dissidenti Dusseldorf

At Fortuna Düsseldorf’s April 21st game against FC St. Pauli, Dissidenti Dusseldorf created a tifo with the message “SAVE CLAPTON FC FOOTBALL BELONGS TO THE FANS” and featured the cause in the Dissidenti fanzine.

Roter Stern Leipzig

Long-standing friends of Clapton, Roter Stern Leipzig, who play in Leipzig’s Landesklasse Nord league, displayed a tifo with the message “SUPPORT OUR FRIENDS CLAPTON ULTRAS” at a recent match. 

Werder Bremen Infamous Youth

Werder Bremen’s supporter group, Infamous Youth, showed their support at their April 29th home game against against Hertha BSC with a banner proclaiming “SAVE CLAPTON FC! IY”

AKS ZLY

Members of Warsaw grassroots community club Alternatywny Klub Sportowy ZŁY, AKS ZŁY created a display at a recent game with the message, “CLAPTON FC MUST BE FAN OWNED”

Zoo at Swope Park Rangers

Across the pond, the Zoo of American USL team Swope Park Rangers. in Kansas City, took up a collection for the Save Clapton FC fund at their home game against Sacramento Republic on April 15th.  

Local support

Closer to home, local brewery 40 FT held a fundraiser on Easter Sunday to help the cause with proceeds of every pint and and barbecue sale going to Real Clapton’s fund.   

And Clapton Ultras’ very own Eastern European Crew held a disco after the last home game of the season, raising £305 for the action fund.

Messages of solidarity

There have also been supportive  messages including from several international Sankt Pauli fan groups, Colectivo Anticapitalista Londres, Lgbtqi Forest Gate, STRIKE! Magazine, Jolly Roger in Hamburg, London Antifascists and many more.

The latest on the fight

The statement posted by the Clapton Ultras was seen by thousands of people, and helped the legal fund to reach over £8,000 of the £10,000 target set.

The latest legal development is that Clapton’s chief executive’s attempt to liquidate the charitable company that holds the lease has been staved off – for now.

All parties are now waiting for the court to set a date when a judge will decide on whether the voluntary liquidation can proceed.

The result of that case is likely to trigger further developments so Real Clapton are still calling for help.