Manager Chris Wood put on the Clapton shirt for his farewell game in a friendly at Leyton Orient

If you’re reading this, you’ll have probably already gathered that Clapton fans are at odds with club chief executive Vince McBean’s handling of the club and its ground, leading to the current gruelling but spectacularly successful boycott of home games.

But what of the management and coaches? What was it like working for him? We spoke to several people who have been part of the Clapton set-up in the McBean era, from 2000 onwards to find out.

The more people we talked to, the same stories kept on cropping up – and always about money. People being left seriously out of pocket. Promises that they would be reimbursed for things they’d bought, only to never receive it.

A typical quote from one person we spoke to: “He never paid for anything to do with the players, the coaches and the training, and never any petrol money – ever.”

Another said: “Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t about the money, Clapton to me in a sense was my life,  and I learned to expect nothing from Vince.”

One former member of the coaching set-up claims to have been owed a five-figure sum but did not want to go public.

However, former manager Chris Wood, who was in his second spell in charge of the Tons when the Ultras formed, was happy to go on record on his time at the club.

Chris oversaw a golden period of fast-growing crowds, fan/management togetherness and the club’s best finish in decades after a long period of stagnation.

Woodsy, as he is known, still absolutely loves Clapton and its fans. But he told us that the period cost him a lot of money too.

He claimed: “Vince owes me well over £1,800 for things I bought for the club during my spell there.

“£400 for topsoil and £150 for seeding. Then bulbs for the floodlights capacitors to keep them going.

“Balls, balls, balls. I remember being in a shop and ringing him saying ‘I’ve found some match balls for £8 a go’. He said ‘get 10 and I’ll pay you Saturday’. He never paid.

“He never paid any of these things which were all agreed at the time with him. He would  say ‘bring the receipts to our monthly meeting’ which I would do but that was the last I saw of the receipts. Or he would say the purchase wasn’t sanctioned by the club. Absolute rubbish.

“He even owed my missus that was battling cancer £180 for kit wash money.  Upon leaving he eventually paid after many, many requests.

“We also had to pay for our own coach travel to cup games with players and supporters
paying towards the costs.

“As for cup games, he said we would get half of the prize money per win to go towards the team. It never happened.

“In my first spell at the club he said ‘get some end of season trophies for the boys presentation night’. Guess what? He never paid for them either.

“The final straw for me was my ride on mower which I used to use to cut the pitch. I went to collect it only to find it was in bits. I was left with another bill for £270 to repair it.”


Chris Wood, right, with his assistant Neil Day, centre, and captain Craig Greenwood

Chris left the club in May 2014 ‘by mutual consent’, shortly after his assistant Neil Day had been sacked for ‘becoming too close to the fans’.

Chris, who has also managed Ilford, Basildon United and Mauritius Sports, added: “I’m not the first manager to have been short changed. 

“Take the famous Scaffold stand and the old half-finished toilets, they were built by a then manager who was a scaffolder. Another thing done for nothing and another manager out of pocket.

“Vince comes across as a lovely bloke who can really suck you into liking him but he uses people to get as much out of them for free or any other means without him paying for things.”

Chris finished on a positive message, saying: “I love Clapton, love the place and miss it like hell. Just wish one day finally it can be run in an open and proper manner.

“Love the Tons, love the fans and love the ground. Don’t ever let Vince kill or develop on the famous Old Spotted Dog!”

We are unable to put Woodsy’s claims to Mr McBean, as the club have a policy of not speaking to us.



image.jpegClapton FC News joined the Old Spotted Dogcast for an in-depth interview with Jonny Fowell which you can now hear in two parts.

The interview was a chance to put fans’ comments, queries and concerns to the new boss, and he answered everything we threw at him.

After the grilling, which took place last Friday (October 21), there was around 80 minutes of audio so the Dogcast has edited it into two special episodes.

In the first part of the double header, Jonny talks about his football background, clarifies some of the comings and goings at the Dog since his arrival in September, and outlines his vision for the team.

In the second part, we talk about his first impressions of the Clapton support, the Ultras’ politics (and his), his relationship with chief executive Vince McBean (and ours), plus his overall feelings about his first month at the Dog.

You can listen to them on the Old Spotted Dogcast website or subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode.

What do you think of the interview? Join the debate on the Clapton Ultras forum.



Ex-Clapton player Aundre Spencer, now at Southend Manor, with former Ton, Leon Lewis, and MK Dons’ Kieran Agard

This Saturday we travel up the A13 to the delightful park that Southend Manor, among the duck ponds and flower beds, happen to have a football pitch in. It’s a bizarre open-plan ground, vulnerable to the winds off the English Channel. How it met the requirements for the league is beyond me, but you can have a go on the swings behind the goal and watch the game from there.

All the talk this week has been of the FA investigation into the alleged late registration of goalkeeper, Yakup Seyer for last Saturday’s FA Vase clash with Hertford Town. Although our Vase opponents claim that ESL and FA initiated the proceedings, the resulting decision is that the replay has been switched back to Hertingfordbury Park, with the home side keeping all gate money and travel expenses. Clapton will just be relieved to have the opportunity to settle matters on the field.

Saturday will be new manager, John Fowell’s first game in charge. He must be under no illusion of how a big of a task his job at Clapton is. His hands will be tied in more ways than one, with huge financial constraints and the short amount of time he will have to spend with his players (compared to where he’s worked previously). He will no doubt be relying on the input of player favourite, Andre Thomas to help push the team forward in the early stages. It’s not clear whether Andre applied for the manager’s post, but there’s little question that this short period of upheaval will have any effect his commitment to the Clapton side.

Southend Manor, in years gone past, were once a force in the ESL, finishing second in 2011/12 and a respectable 7th in 2012/13 season. However, in recent years Manor have struggled to maintain that standard, finishing 16th last season and 18th and 19th the two prior. This season has been very much a mixed bag for the seasiders as they look to find some consistency; recording a remarkable 7-0 in the FA Vase against ESL new comers West Essex, while losing 8-0 at home to Stanway in the Essex Senior Cup. League games have seen more sensible scorelines, in the last 3 league games they have lost at home to FC Romania 0-1, while beating them away 1-2 and losing at home to big spending Takeley.


John Terry delighted to meet fellow defender Eamon Payne

Fans of great hair will be pleased to see former Clapton favourite Eamon Payne out in yellow and black. The graceful, hard working and classy defender (and sometimes midfielder) will likely be a handful wherever he plays. We’ll also be reunited with ex-Ton, Aundre Spencer, whose brief but eventful spell at the club ended after the former Luton and Hornchurch winger fell out with then manager Mike Walther. The other familiar (fresh) face is the young Ryan Creed, the former Barking trainee was only at The Dog for short period before quietly moving on with hardly an notch on the teamsheet.

Head to head:

Clapton have enjoyed a very impressive recent run against Southend – the last two visits to Southchurch Park have seen respective 5-1 wins on each occasion. Check out last seasons great write up from Red Menace on the glorious trip. Almost as impressive at home, Clapton won comfortably 3-1 in 2014/15 season and a more modest 1-0 win last term, with Nathan Cook tucking away a spectacular winner. Both sides have struggled with consistency so far this time out, but Clapton players should be confident going in to this one.

Player to watch:

Tony Stokes – On loan from Canvey Island while he regains fitness. He was reportedly wanted by Ryman League, Great Wakering Rovers before opting to join Scott Marshall’s side, where he will undoubtedly add goals and experience. The name will also be familiar to West Ham fans as a one time product of the youth system, as well as Championship/Football Manager veterans as go to bargain (although he was no Cherno Samba). Stokes hasn’t played for Manor in the last couple of games, but we’ll hopefully get to see the real thing come 3pm on Saturday.


Tony Stokes needs no introduction to Championship Manager fans



imageClapton FC have named Jon Fowell as their new manager following Mike Walther’s departure last month.

Caretaker manager Andre Thomas, who was in charge for four games, will stay at the club and returns to the assistant manager role.

The official Clapton website’s statement to announce Fowell’s appointment intriguely has promised ‘fresh…left of field ideas’.

We’re putting in an interview request to find out what that’s all about and to get to know him further – and we want your questions to put to him too.

In a nutshell

The list of clubs Jon played for include Grays, Aldershot, Leyton Pennant, Kingstonian and Ilford.

He has had several jobs in football since, including coaching at the Wimbledon FC academy and a job at Clapton’s neighbours Leyton Orient in their community scheme.

He has also coached abroad and offers a Dutch Soccer School for primary school age children. Most recently he was coaching the Enfield Town youth team.

Clapton’s statement on his appointment

“Jon brings with him a proven background of management and youth development of players to a higher level within the pyramid system of our football league.

“His philosophy fits into the future aspirations of the development of Clapton FC. He brings fresh ideas, some of which is left of field, but we are backing him!”

In his own words – on his appointment

Fowell told the official website: “This is a fantastic opportunity to be part of a great football club; hoping to continue the superb work that Michael has executed and endeavour to move the club in the right direction with my expertise, professionalism, support and encouragement.”

in his own words – on his background

Fowell’s profile on the Dutch Soccer School website says: “I gained my FA level 2 in 1993 under Leyton Orient first team manager John Sitton.

“In summer of 1993 I went to coach in the USA where I met Alf Galustian of Coerver coaching, it changed my way of thinking and coaching. In 1994 I got a job at Leyton Orient in their community schemes.

“In the summer of 1995 I decided to take my FA Level 3 intermediate course UEFA B now under Tony Lynton and in 1997 I was offered a job at Chelsea FC working in their satellite centres which I did for a few months but didn’t find it good.

“In 1998 my big break came and I was offered a job at both Arsenal FC under Roy Massey and Liam Brady but chose Wimbledon FC as I wanted to work with one of the best academy managers in modern day football Terry Burton, one of the first coaches to gain his UEFA A Pro licence in the world.

“Whilst under Terry’s leadership, I gained much coaching experience and signed players like Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace), Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspurs), Colin Kazim Richards (Turkey International) and Feyenoord and David Martin (MK Dons).”

Got a question you’d like us to put to the new gaffer? Email us at claptonfcnews@gmail.com – or get us on Twitter or Facebook.



Former Clapton FC favourite singing in the Scaffold

Clapton FC have a shortlist of two for the manager’s job with a decision due very soon, a candidate has claimed.

The Tons are looking to replace Mike Walther, who went to league rivals Stansted as assistant, with Andre Thomas taking charge as caretaker manager

Former Clapton FC captain and defensive rock Craig Greenwood was among at least a dozen names who applied for the manager’s job, with ex-Tons striker Dave Armstrong lined up as his assistant.

But today Craig revealed on Twitter that there is a shortlist of two names for the job – and he isn’t one of them.

He said: “It is with a heavy heart I can inform you all that me and Armo have not been considered for the role as manager with u guys.

“They have shortlisted to their final 2 and a decision is being made this evening…#seeyouallsoon #neversaynever.”

Names mentioned for the job have included Anwar Uddin and Craig Gilliam, formerly of Sporting Bengal and Basildon United respectively.

Caretaker Andre Thomas, who has overseen a win, a draw and a defeat in three games in charge, is assumed to also be in contention.

Former Clapton manager Wilfred Thomas, in the hotseat in the club’s doldrum years. has recently been seen on the bench sparking speculation he may return.

Ex-Tons assistant manager. current Sporting Hackney boss Peter Harrington, has also been touted.



Mike Walther in the dugout at the Old Spotted Dog (pic: Newham Recorder)

MORE than a dozen potential managers have already applied to replace Mike Walther within 24 hours of the Clapton manager’s shock resignation.

Walther has quit to take the assistant manager’s job at Essex Senior League rivals Stansted after a successful two years in charge of the Tons.

The news was announced to the stunned players in the dressing room after the 2-0 FA Cup Preliminary Qualifying Round defeat to Sporting Bengal on Saturday.

However, Walther is said to have informed the Clapton Chief Executive Vince McBean on Friday that he was leaving, having delivered two top 10 finishes, three cup finals and the first silverware for 25 years.

Assistant manager Andre Thomas is set to be in caretaker charge for Tuesday night’s clash versus Wadham Lodge – themselves managed by former Tons assistant Neil Day.

Thomas is likely to be in charge at the weekend too, for the home game against Eton Manor, as the interview process continues.

Names being linked on the rumour mill include former Basildon United manager Craig Gillam and ex-Sporting Bengal boss Anwar Uddin.

Current and former Clapton players have also had their say, with interim boss Thomas and ex-Clapton assistant Peter Harrington both being championed.

Thomas tweeted his thanks to the former manager, posting: “Had a very good working relationship with Mike & now consider him as a good friend. Wish him all the best in his new role at @FCStansted.

“There’s a lot of questions that have been asked, unfortunately I don’t have answers right now.”

A club statement said: “On Friday 19 August, we received a text from Michael Walther, the senior team manager, saying ‘Have decided I am going to move on after the FA Cup game’.

“Although surprised at this decision, we would like to take this opportunity of thanking Mike for his contribution over the past years and wish him well at Stansted FC.

“Andre Thomas, the club’s assistant manager, will be stepping up as interim manager and will continue to push the Tons ahead in their endeavours to finish further up the table this season, in spite of the two recent losses.”