The BBC have published a bizarre video about Ultras culture – filmed in an empty and silent Old Spotted Dog.
In the BBC3 mini-documentary, disillusioned West Ham supporter Justin goes to Italy and falls in love with the noise and colour generated by Ultras groups.
He then discusses English non-league Ultras culture and visits the Old Spotted Dog to interview Vince McBean – interestingly described as Clapton FC chairman *.
Mr McBean, standing on the empty terrace, says: “This is the famous Scaffold.”
When asked about the Ultras, Mr McBean replied: “They’re the heart and soul of the club, Those guys are the ones who make the club.”
It is interesting that he has gone on record to praise the Ultras at this stage. However, his words are at odds with his actions, such as…
- Decrying those fans in many articles on the club website and in High Court documents
- Sacking the club’s legendary captain, Jerry Jairette, shortly after his testimonial, for being too close to those fans
- Submitting dossiers on fans to away clubs in a bid to get them banned (it worked with two clubs)
- Publicly attacking Proudly East London, a community football tournament run by the Clapton Ultras that is avowedly anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic and very inclusive
- Accusing the fans of being racist after they challenged his attempts to liquidate the ground with claims it owed him £164,123.
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New work with BBC Three out today. Link in bio or check out Three’s Facebook. . Upset with West Ham, Justin turned to Italian club Arezzo to find the passion he believes his old club lost. . Dir/Prod/Edit – Charles Copsey Cinematographer/Ultra – Lloyd Cook Sound Mix and Post – Louis Lincoln BBC Producer and Development – Ally McCrae . #Documentary #WestHam #Football #Italy #FC #ShortDoc #BBCThree
Justin and his film crew then stay for a game, where he talks about Ultras culture thriving at Clapton FC… despite there being no one in the ground and taking place in total silence.
For the avoidance of doubt…
- The social media video clips used in the BBC3 documentary are all at least three years old but are spliced within the interview with Mr McBean so that it looks current
- In fact, last summer the Clapton Ultras disbanded after six glorious years, 2012-2018.
- This came after a long boycott of home games by the Ultras, and all other fan groups, due entirely to Mr McBean’s actions.
- That means there have been no Ultras at a Clapton home game since April 22, 2017, almost two years ago
- Average attendances at Clapton FC games this season are at 43, so not only are there no Ultras, there is no one else there beyond officials, players’ relatives, away fans and an occasional groundhopper
- Members-run Clapton Community FC was launched in response to the intolerable actions of Mr McBean
- For a BBC documentary crew to not know any of the above, when it is readily available on Google, is astonishing.
In short, the BBC managed to film a documentary about UK Ultras culture based around an interview with the one man in this country who has done most to destroy that.
We have contacted the film-makers in a bid to get some answers.
Watch the video in full here… https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/clip/f41124ba-6b55-401d-a976-be92114e6cdd
* Regular readers will know that Clapton FC’s chairman, Mark North, quit in November and a replacement has yet to be publicly announced.