BARKING SWOOP FOR TONS STARS REED AND OLAJIDE

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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.

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DON’T MENTION THE L WORD: THE QUESTIONS FROM CLAPTON FANS THE CLUB HAVE DECLINED TO ANSWER

Container inside the Old Spotted Dog

In early September, Clapton FC’s website launched a section called Tons Make Clear, pledging to answer fans’ questions about the current situation on ownership and the supporters’ boycott.

Thousands of words were posted, but one word was curiously absent – ‘liquidation.’ The whole reason that the fans group Real Clapton called for a boycott was because the chief exec of Clapton FC is trying to put the charity running the Old Spotted Dog into voluntary liquidation, putting the club’s historic home in huge peril. Yet this potential catastrophe wasn’t deemed worth a mention.

The section did encourage people to send in their own questions which the club would then answer, so we asked worried Clapton fans what they were concerned about and compiled a list. We submitted those questions by Twitter direct message seven weeks ago, by Facebook five weeks ago then via an online contact form four weeks ago.

In an exchange of emails over the last month, the club have acknowledged receipt and insisted they will answer our questions but have said they have been “too busy” so far. They have also yet to reply to several emails asking for a timescale as to when they may be able to answer any or all of the questions.

It may be the club never answer our questions, or they may be minutes away from posting a full and detailed response online, in which this article is fairly redundant. But for the record, and in case it helps push the process along, here are the questions we posed on behalf of committed Clapton supporters.

The questions the club have declined to answer

Who controls the ground at the moment – the liquidator or yourselves?

How long will the ground be in liquidation for? Is there any end in sight to the court case?

The Charity allegedly has over £200,000 debts, according to your court documents. How has that been accrued, who is it owed to, and will the charity be able to pay that debt back?

Were you pleased that the Clapton fans successfully secured Asset of Community Value on the ground from Newham Council recently to give it some protection from being sold?

What are the targets for the team this season? Is promotion an aim?

What ground improvements need to be completed to meet Isthmian League grading? What is the timescale for putting in planning permission?

Have the enforcement notices on the ground served by Newham Council regarding safety and planning dealt with?

Clapton Football Club is a members club but membership has been closed for restructuring for at least four years. When will it reopen?

How many members of Clapton FC are there? Are the Life Members still members of Clapton Football Club?

What do you like and dislike about the Clapton Ultras? What can and should they do to become the ‘real fans’ you speak about on the website?

Note: we have not included some questions that are no longer valid, including about the coaching set-up which has changed four times since we first submitted the questions.

We will update this article when, or if, our questions are answered.

ANDRE THOMAS PICKS HIS CLAPTON XI AS TONS LEGEND PAYS EMOTIONAL FAREWELL

Andre Thomas said farewell to the Clapton fans on an emotional night at the Mile End Stadium.

He’s been coach, he’s been assistant manager, he’s been caretaker manager, but for one night only Andre also became the Ultras’ capo, leading some of the songs himself.

On the pitch, the Tons bounced back from going 1-0 down to a Sporting Bengal side who often prove to be a thorn in our side.

Ryan Reed scored the first two, including the pearler of a free-kick below, before Jeffrey Cobblah sealed the points with perhaps an even lovelier run and shot.

So club legend Andre departed with a 3-1 win, leaving the Tons in sixth place, and in the celebrations afterwards he turned the tables by singing one of the Ultras’ songs back at them.

We couldn’t let him leave us without asking him to compile his best ever Clapton XI from his two years at the club.

So, as Andre jumps on the District Line to Upney, to take up the assistant manager’s job with ambitious Bostik League side Barking, here’s his team in a 3-4-1-2 formation.

Goalkeeper

It’s a position that we have always had issues filling after Pape Diagne.

As you know, “there’s only one king Pepe, he keeps the ball out the netty,” but recently we’ve been blessed with the talents of Richie Robins, Emmanuel Olajide, Ignas Budvytis and Mark Kavanagh.

Even when Pape was around we had Alex Biddle and Yakup Seyer who also make credible bids.

However the keeper I’m going to go with is a leader, who talks as much as me, has great reactions, good feet, great kicking and in my opinion is a complete GK who is always trying to get better.

My goalkeeper is Emmanuel Olajide.

Right-sided centre-back

In a back three I’ve gone for someone who’s comfortable playing in a few positions just in case we need to change it during the game.

There’s other natural centre-backs I could have gone with but I know that this guy would give me his all then go get some from the opposition and then give me that too.

He’ll probably complain about playing here telling me this isn’t his position but he’ll stop sulking as soon as the whistle has blown and probably end up getting the Man of The Match Award.

It was a flip of the coin between he and Lanre Vigo but my right-sided centre-back is Kristian Haighton.

Centre back

So many names come to mind. I think of Euan Taylor-Reid, the cup final penalty specialist; Idu Bogdan, who is as hard as a rock; Pete Moore, the coach on the pitch who always talks; Quincy Egbejale, legs long enough to cover the back four; Eamon Payne, goalscoring centre-back; Jamie Lyndon, Mr No Nonsense.

There’s also Zach Miller, Jesse Mckenzie, Nick Loblack, Hussain Jaffa and even Freddie Morris who wouldn’t wanna play there but could.

However, I’ve gone with a centre back who is strong, fast, aggressive, technically sound, understands what I require and he’s a funny guy.

Great character in the dressing room, always has his teammates backs and is the first one swinging his handbag. I’m going with Dylan Ebengo.

Left-sided centre-back

As I said earlier, in a back three I’ve gone for someone who’s comfortable playing in a few positions just in case we need to change it during the game.

On this side I’ve gone with a player who I feel can play this position as I’ve simply not seen a man take him on one-on-one and beat him. That will always give the team confidence.

Again Pete Moore, Francis Best-Ebanks and Yusuf Bello make solid claims as they’re all naturally left footed, strong and good defenders.

However, I’ve gone with the super impressive, super hero Tayo Awoderu. He’ll have to come training though, lol.

Central midfielders x 2

I think the two midfield positions, along with the two forwards, will be the hardest decision.
With the options available to me, it’s very difficult.

Steven Sardinha, Freddie Morris, Bradley Joseph, Paul Oshin, Geoff Ocran, Paul Barry, Reece Hewitt, Louis Rene, Scott Hill, Siao Blackwood and JoJo DeGraft are a few of the many midfield generals I’ve worked with, all packed with experience, quality, pace, power, packed with lungs of a V8 engine, skill, trickery, goals and unreal technique.

The only reason I’ve selected these two to be the midfielders holding for me is because they’ve got everything I’ve listed above and they both ‘get it’. I’m not saying the rest don’t because they definitely do.

The reason they do is because of the levels these two midfielders have set.
When the going gets tough I want someone who’ll put their body on the line, even if it means broken limbs.

In addition to that if we need a 90th minute goal and we have a free kick I wanna make sure he’s on them.

The two midfielders I’ve gone with are the Clapton legends Jerry Jairette and James Briggs.

Left-wing (back)

This player has improved so so much, was under the radar.

He dedicated himself to his craft and got fit and then caused havoc for opposition full backs.

He’s got two great feet, skills in abundance, great first touch and beautiful hair.

Another set piece specialist with the world going crazy for Messi and CR7, I’m glad to have RR7.

To play on the left wing is Ryan Reed.

Centre attacking midfield

Again many, many players who can play in this role. Raphael Duyile who is technically sublime as well as very versatile and intelligent was also an option.

So was Tom ‘goal machine’ Webb and even Stefan Nielsen.

But it’s got to go to a player that had Tons from the 2014-15 season in awe.

I won’t ever forget my first pre-season game when we played a Harold Hill XI and he had never played with these guys.

He had never played any level higher than this one and was playing with the likes of Billy Wise (who actually ran this guy very close for the vote), James Briggs, Shomari Barnwell, Troy Ricketts and JoJo Degraft yet looked superb, like he had been there for years and knew how to create magic.

Funnily enough he has now been here for 3 seasons and he does know how to create magic. He gets it from his hat.

Playing in the CAM role is Nathan Cook.

Right-wing (back)

Khadz Campbell, Aundre Spencer, Johnny Ashman, Raphael Duyile, Paul Barry and Jeffrey Cobblah. Players that come to mind when I think of stars that can play on that right hand side.

I’ve gone with a guy whose name rings bells but only rang the bells of his college colleagues before this.

He came to the club and played over 40 games in his first season only being on the bench once and this was due to his quality on the pitch, his attitude and attendance to training and the game, his hunger to fight off all that tried to take his spot and he’s done it once more.

To play on the right is none other than Johnny Ashman.

Centre forwards x 2

Clapton have been blessed with tremendous forwards and I’ve been lucky to work with the likes of Fahad Nyanja, Warren Mfula, Jay Knight, Ike Nzurba, Miles Hunter, Roddy Lemba, Sherwin Stanley, Tony Cookey and Ajani Domingo-Carrington to name a few.

However, I’ve gone with one of the most natural finishers I’ve worked with.

Top top forwards score with both feet and their head, this guy is able to do that and also score with his junk.

One of my two centre forwards is Jay Knight.

The reason I’ve selected the second guy is because for me he epitomises what a striker should be for me.

Hard-working, relentless, gives 100% effort for his team and the shirt he wears.

He’s a nightmare when you’re against him but a dream when he’s on your team.

I’ve seen him get into the heads of opposition players warming up on the side, he already gains the edge on them before they even get subbed on.

I call him my Non-League Diego Costa.

My forward to join Jay is none other than Mr Warren Mfula.

TRUE CLAPTON LEGEND ANDRE THOMAS LEAVES TO STEP UP TO BOSTIK LEAGUE

Andre Thomas pictured at Takeley last month

Coach Andre Thomas has left Clapton after landing the assistant manager’s job at Bostik North side Barking.

A hugely popular figure with  players and fans, Andre spent two silverware-laden years with Clapton as coach, assistant manager and also as caretaker manager.

However, he had recently been shunted from assistant manager to first team coach as Jonny Fowell brought in Colin Reid as head coach and Wayne Seal as assistant manager.

Barking have moved quickly to offer Andre a step up a division as well as being restored to assistant manager level.

The Blues announced the news on Saturday night – in the wake of Clapton’s fine home win against high-flying Great Wakering.

Their statement described Andre as “a passionate and dedicated football man who’s a student of the game. He’s willing to learn and progress by developing his skills and obtain new ones in the process.”

He will be number two to manager Justin Gardner, formerly of Aveley and Billericay Town .

More details to follow…

 

TONS OF TONS AWAY AT THE OLD SPOTTED DOG – MATCH REPORT, VIDEO AND PICTURES

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785 at the Old Spotted Dog as the Tons win 2-1 ‘away’ at Hackney Wick

Goals from Jeffrey Cobblah and Hassan Nablani sealed three hard-won points for Clapton against Hackney Wick on Saturday.

And the result crowned an emotional day for the massed Clapton Ultras who, joined by Wick fans and a good number of Non League Day visitors, made up the second-highest Step 5 attendance on the day.

With Clapton fans’ boycott of home games ongoing, this was a rare opportunity for the Tons to get out of the alley and back on the Scaffold safe in the knowledge that their club’s current proprietor would not receive any gate receipts from this game.

The weekend also marked the fifth anniversary of the Clapton Ultras who, joined by friends and allies from all across Europe and closer to home, celebrated in characteristic style.

And it was the jubilant scenes and full-throated support that the Ultras and their guests from all around Europe created which saw the Essex Senior League clash make the news, with top-billing in Non League Day round-ups by the BBC and the Guardian to name just two.

The game itself was a well-contested derby despite both sides showing wholesale changes from their last fixtures.

Clapton had two more debutants in young striker Nead Clarke, and the commanding centre-half Gary Simmonds.

Cobblah gave the ‘visitors’ the lead around the half-hour, converting after a wicked bounce deceived Wick ‘keeper Steven French, before Nalbani doubled the advantage from the spot on the hour.

In between the Tons wasted a series of chances, but were clinging on by the end after Jamie Hardwick’s well-taken effort.

Yet it was the crowd that made the headlines, especially in the context of the Ultras’ unwavering boycott.

The official gate of 785 was the largest the Ultras have ever been part of, home or away, and ten times more than the next best ESL attendance that day.

Remarkably it was alsp more than double the total number of people who have attended all six of Clapton’s league games so far this season.

Happily, half of the gate receipts – a whopping £1575 – is being donated by Hackney Wick to Scope. A great and generous gesture.

The result lifts Clapton back into the top 10 ahead of the visit of title-favourites Great Wakering.

The Ultras will have to make the memory last, at least until the trip to Mile End stadium to face Sporting Bengal on 18 October.

Match reports

The match was given prominence on the BBC’s round-up of Non-League Day, giving a quick background on the court battle over the liquidation of the Old Spotted Dog and subsequent boycott.

On the fans, it added: “The Ultras returned… Their presence seemed to galvanise their idols.”

The Guardian also reported on the game, both on their minute-by-minute live match coverage and also in their league and non-league round-up.

The Newham Recorder also gave the game a short write-up and also had 13 top quality match photos.

Blogger Gareth Platt wrote up his experience, admitttjng the ‘standard of football wasn’t as bad as he feared’ and the match experience was ‘brilliant.’

Video and photos

Lots of views of the penalty

Fun

A post shared by Tom McGowan (@tompmcgowan) on

But none of the other goals yet. Here’s a bit of footage of the teams arriving though…

And there were loads of pictures taken from the stands…

 

Amateur linesman, professional stance #claptonfc

A post shared by Tom McGowan (@tompmcgowan) on

Reaction

Jerry Jairette and Lanre Vigo posted their thoughts after the game.

CFC News man of the match: Gary Simmonds.

Attendance: 785.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXTRAORDINARY SCENES BUT CLAPTON CAN’T DENT TAKELEY’S 100% RECORD

Linesman is held back by Takeley players after a flashpoint with the Clapton bench

Three red cards, two goals and one linesman being restrained – Clapton’s defeat at unbeaten Takeley was certainly packed with incident.

There were debuts for Wilkinson Boateng – our fifth different goalkeeper already this season – and experienced midfielder Lee Flavin as well as a first league start for midfielder Andy Greenslade.

Greenslade and Boateng, along with fellow new recruit Hassan Nalbani, are all former Hackney Wick players seemingly brought to the club by their former manager Chris Davis, who has recently joined Clapton’s ever-expanding coaching set-up.

The most eye-catching team news, however, was that last season’s player of the year, Johnny Ashman, was making his first appearance of the season. Johnny is dual registered between Cheshunt and Clapton but this was the first time he wasn’t needed for the Step 4 side.

A promising first half saw the Tons matching Takeley and Ashman making things tick, slotting back in as if he’d never been away.

Then with virtually the last move of the half, Takeley slung a free-kick to the back post and huge striker Stuart Zanone was lurking unmarked to head home.

As the players trudged off on the whistle, manager Jonny Fowell collared the officials, insisting that the free-kick should never have been awarded in the first.

The goal itself was captured on video below:

In the second half, Fowell was forced to watch from the main stand rather than the dugout apparently after being shown a red card for dissent at some stage.

Takeley sat back and protected their lead in the second half, allowing Clapton to press. Early on a glorious header was pushed just over the bar as the visiting Tons sensed an equaliser.

However, within minutes Takeley swept up the other end on a counter-attack, and a good ball threaded through to Mitchell Das was finished from close range.

Game over, essentially, though it became increasingly tetchy, with Takeley getting five yellow cards of their own. And then it boiled up into the extraordinary moment when a linesman had to be dragged away from an altercation.

In the last minutes Clapton centre-half Dylan Ebengo was sent off after a second yellow card. Our understanding is that subbed-off Aundre Spencer threw a water bottle against the dugout in frustration. Here some people claim the water squirted out and went on to or near to the linesman. Others claim the bottle itself bounced in his direction.

Whichever version is correct, it led to the young lino dashing over and standing eyeball-to-eyeball to Spencer. Several Takeley players stepped in to pull him away.

Spencer was shown the red card, the linesman calmed down and the last few moments ticked down without incident.

Match reports

Just a short report in the Newham Recorder for this one.

Reaction

Clapton FC News spoke to assistant manager Andre Thomas and midfielder Johnny Ashman straight after the game

Manager Jonny Fowell gave his reaction to Jacob Ranson of the Newham Recorder later.

Meanwhile captain Lanre Vigo – stepping in for the injured Jerry Jairette – spoke of his pride.

CFC News man of the match: Johnny Ashman.

Attendance: 145.