CLAPTON FC WITHOUT A CHAIRMAN, GROUNDSMAN AND KITMAN

Clapton FC have confirmed they still don’t have a new chairman, four months after the resignation of the last one.

Mark North joined in the summer to replace John Murray-Smith but lasted just a few months before quitting in November.

There had been no word of any replacement since, despite our repeated unanswered questions, and Mr North is still listed as chairman on the club and league website, four months on.

However, the club has now confirmed that there is a vacancy for chairman in a matchday programme that was uploaded online this week.

In the same programme, chief executive Vince McBean also appealed for a groundsman, kitman and match day secretary.

A groundsman is something particularly needed. Pictures from the Old Spotted Dog recently showed the surroundings getting increasingly dilapidated and the grass rather overgrown.

Redbridge manager Micky Wetherall mentioned the pitch in a post-match interview at the weekend.

He told the Ilford Recorder: “The pitch was terrible the grass is long and the surface is so bobbly.

“It’s very hard to get up for a game of football in these circumstances but we got in got three points and got out so for me it’s a job well done.”

There has been a gradual hollowing out of the club over the years.

All youth teams have quit the club in recent seasons – with the final team, under 18s, switching to Hackney Wick FC.

Chairmen Murray-Smith and North, assistant manager Wayne Seal, and first team coach Marc Nurse also departed this season.

The exodus isn’t helped by Clapton FC being closed for ‘restructuring’ for at least six years, despite being a members club by constitution.

The success of fan-owned Clapton CFC – with 1,300 members and dozens of volunteers pitching in every for no personal reward – shows the potential that Mr McBean had within his grasp.

If only he had opened up the club to this surge in interest, rather than driving it away by trying to liquidate the Old Spotted Dog and closing the membership.

 

Advertisements

CLAPTON FC LOSE THEIR CHAIRMAN AFTER JUST FOUR MONTHS

Clapton FC chairman Mark North has quit the club after little more than 100 days into the role.

We exclusively revealed North had joined on July 8th with the club announcing it themselves five days later.

On November 20th, however, North tweeted he had left the club and in fact was “officially retiring from football with immediate effect.”

On taking over from a very hands-off predecessor John Murray-Smith, North had told disaffected supporters that he would address the issue of the club’s closed membership issue as ‘one of his first tasks.

Clapton FC is supposed to be a members club, by its official, legal constitution, but it has long been closed for new members. That had caused friction between fans and club owner Vince McBean for years, a rift that came to a head when he tried liquidating the charity that runs the Old Spotted Dog ground, claiming he was owed a six-figure sum.

Unfortunately, we are not aware of any progress being made in regards to reopening the membership of the club.

North had indicated that social media would also be a priority, having previously built up 40,000 followers across all channels for United London, a now defunct club he had previously run where fans could choose the team.

Indeed there was a little flurry of online activity, with 8 articles published on the club website in July, an ‘official supporters website’ established and a new Instagram page. Some clips were uploaded to YouTube followed by a vow that games would be filmed.

However, things ground to a halt with the last article on the ‘supporters club’ website appearing on July 19th, the latest YouTube clip on October 2nd and Instagram on October 16th.

Nearly two months on from North’s tweet announcing his departure and there has been no mention of his departure nor word of any replacement on the club website. Curiously, he is still listed as chairman.

We offered North the chance to give a longer statement marking his departure, and he replied…

“I would officially like to thank Vincent, Shirley, Jonny and the players for their welcome and support during my brief spell with the club.

“I can only be impressed with the level of effort and commitment that goes on behind the scenes but sadly, my new job is taking up much more time that I envisaged.

“The club has a long proud history and I believe that it deserves someone who can devote more time to help the club move forward for the local community.

“As a committed family man, any spare time I have will now be spent enjoying watching my young son begin his journey in the sport we all love. I wish the team and the club all the very best for the future”.

We also contacted the club with a similar offer, though readers will be aware that Mr McBean has a policy of not giving any comment or even replying to us.

However, it doesn’t mean they don’t read our emails. Within 23 minutes of us hitting the ‘send’ button, the club tweeted this:

The Essex Senior League website still lists North as chairman and a spokesperson said they were “unaware of any internal changes at the club.”

ESSEX SENIOR LEAGUE ADMISSION PRICES 2018/9 SEASON – THE FULL LIST

tower

Tower Hamlets is the cheapest place to watch ESL football

One of our most read features last season was our guide to the admission prices in the Essex Senior League so as a service to non-league footie fans we’ve done it again for 2018/9.
We’re pleased to report that of the 16 clubs that were in the ESL last season and are still in now, just 1 has put up their prices, by £1.
Indeed one club – Tower Hamlets – has cut their admission costs. The average adult price was £6.28. A majority of clubs offer free entry for children, too.
It was just as difficult to track down admission prices as it was last season. Most clubs don’t list theirs on their website and social media, and many don’t reply to emails, tweets and Facebook messages.
And the issue of concessions is still a minefield. Most clubs don’t list who qualifies as a concession, so perhaps best to try to contact them direct with any queries.

Leyton Athletic
£8 adults £4 conc

Southend Manor
£7 adults £5 conc Free under 16s

St Margaretsbury 
£7 adults £5 conc

Hoddesdon Town
£7 adults £4 conc

Saffron Walden Town
£7 adults £4 conc

Walthamstow
£7 adults £4 conc Free under 14s

Sawbridgeworth Town
£7 adults £4 conc Free under 16s

Takeley 
£7 adults £3 conc Free under 16s
Free programme

Clapton FC
£6.50 adults £3 conc £1 under 18s Free under 10s

Redbridge
£6 adults £4 conc Free under 16s

Enfield FC
£6 adults £3 conc £3 under 16s

Sporting Bengal 
£6 adults £3 conc £3 under 16s

Woodford Town
£6 adults £3 conc £1 under 16s

Stanway Rovers
£6 adults £3 conc Free under 12s

Hullbridge Sports
£6 adults £3 conc Free under 16s

Ilford
£6 adults £3 conc Free under 16s

West Essex
£5 adults £3 conc Free under 16s

Stansted 
£5 adults £3 conc Free under 14s
Free programme

Barkingside
£5 adults £3 conc Free under 16s
Free programme

Tower Hamlets
£5 adults £2 conc Free under 16s

If we have got something wrong, drop us an email claptonfcnews@gmail.com or tweet us and we’ll correct it.

We can’t take any responsibility for these prices being correct at the time of your visit.

If you want to use our research in your own articles, feel free to do so but please give us a credit.

Finally, we probably don’t need to remind East London and Essex football fans that we, along with all other Tons fan groups. are still urging a boycott of Clapton FC home games due to the actions being taken by its chief executive.

YOUTUBER MARK NORTH SET TO BECOME VINCE McBEAN’S NEW RIGHT-HAND MAN

Chairman John Murray-Smith is the latest departure from Clapton – but a replacement is due to be unveiled soon, we can reveal.

The chairman’s exit follows on from a string of departures in recent months: of fans’ groups to Clapton CFC; the last youth team quitting to join Hackney Wick; and legendary player Jerry Jairette, forced out after 10 years during his testimonial year.

Mr Murray-Smith’s replacement comes from YouTube football team United London, which has folded after two seasons. Its chairman Mark North is now lined up to become Vince McBean’s right-hand man.

United London had billed itself as ‘the world’s first managerless football club’ with users invited to download an app to select the team.

It had competed in the Essex Alliance Premier, Step 12 of the football pyramid, with home games played on the 3G pitch at Frances Bardsley Academy girls’ school in Romford.

The day after the announcement, the defunct club’s chairman Mark North, 39, responded to Twitter rumours that he would join Mr McBean’s team by admitting he would be unveiled ‘very soon’.

United London had been elected to the Essex Olympian League, and placed in Division 3, which is Step 10, this summer.

Their withdrawal leaves the division with just 11 clubs for the 2018/9 season.

Mr North will now join Mr McBean at Step 5 football.

Mr Murray-Smith is still listed as chairman on Mr McBean’s website but was described in passing in a statement on June 22 as the ‘ex-chairman.’

Sources suggest Mr Murray-Smith, who runs an insurance company, was chairman in little more than on paper. He did not attend games and there are no references to him in Google or on Mr McBean’s website except for the fact he held the post.

Mr North is expected to be more involved and told us: “I left United London to take up this post as I believe that the club has so much untapped potential and an iconic status in non-league.

“I’m here to work hard and give my free time like all the volunteers to help the club progress.

“I do not come into this club with a negative mindset, only focusing on the positive work that can and will be done over the coming months and years.”

When asked about specific issues over the management of the club and the Old Spotted Dog ground, which is currently in liquidation ahead of a High Court case, Mr North gave a more general reply.

He said: “I’m not blind to the previous issues and all know that there is a lot of work to do both on and off the field, however my sole focus is to look ahead to the future.”

We asked him how he would become chairman since Clapton Members Club has been ‘closed for restructuring’ since 2013, and its rules state you need to be a member to be elected chair. Does this mean membership has now reopened? Mr North declined to comment.

We  also approached Mr McBean for comment. However, readers will be aware the club has a long-standing policy of not responding to us. In fact we have not had the courtesy of even acknowledgement to over 20 requests for comment in the last year.

2017/8 – CLAPTON’S SEASON IN NUMBERS

vigo.jpg

1 – Lanre Vigo kickstarts our article by holding one finger up. Pic: https://www.piispanenossi.com/

 

Congratulations to the Tons playing staff, and thanks to the long-suffering fans, for another historic season in very trying circumstances.

2 – clubs, Southend Manor and Met Police, which banned Clapton’s away supporters due to fear of ‘pyro’ being used, despite a vote from the Ultras not to use them, which was rigidly adhered to.

3 – FA Cup rounds played, the first time we’ve won two FA Cup ties in a season since 1995/6.

4 – clubs who posted their highest ever attendance in their history when hosting the Tons this season – Hackney Wick, London Lions, Tower Hamlets and Wadham Lodge. 21 clubs recorded their season best crowd with the Tons in town.

5 – fifth season in a row the Tons finished in the top half of the table, for the first time since 1926/7.

6– articles on the official Clapton FC website relating to the team during the entire season, the most recent being on October 14th. The website went four months without any news update at all.

8 – Winning streak of games in the league from Enfield at home on October 3rd to Barkingside away on November 10th. The longest running streak since 1982/3.

10 – seasons of service that Jerry Jairette gave the club before being sacked, in his testimonial year, after criticising opponents who had banned fans. The club collected 36 in 17 games while Jerry was still there , at 2.12 points per game, and 27 points in 23 games afterwards, at 1.17 points per game,

11 – goalkeepers used , including outfield players Jerry Jairette and Nick Loblack, and including 6 keepers in 3 games.

18 – attendance at Clapton’s lowest gate of the season, the home game against Hackney Wick FC. The reverse fixture pulled in 785.

21 – goals scored by winger Jeffrey Cobblah in his first season at the club. Other top scorers were midfielder Steven Sardinha on 13, winger Aundre Spencer on 7 and defender Dylan Ebengo, striker Hassan Nalbant and midfielder Jay Morris all on 4,

53 – Average attendance at Clapton home league games this season, down from 388 for non-boycotted games the previous season.

63 – points gained this season, down from 92 in 2016/7 and 67 in 2015/6, but still the third best total since 1982/3.

64 – players used during the season as manager Jonny Fowell struggled to find a settled line-up.

186 – average attendance at Clapton away games.

273 – days the fans boycotted home games – the whole season. From the opening game on July 29th, through 20 league games and 7 cup games, to the final game on April 28th.

460 – the record amount, in pounds, that Clapton fans raised for the annual Newham Recorder Christmas Toy Appeal

785 – the attendance at Clapton’s away game at Hackney Wick, the largest in the Essex Senior League since Jimmy Greaves played for Brentwood at Billericay Town in 1976.

OLD SPOTTED DOG GROUND LIQUIDATION IN THE HIGH COURT – LATEST SITUATION

Clapton FC chief executive Vince McBean’s attempt to take sole control of the Old Spotted Dog stadium lease was back before a judge in the Royal Courts of Justice today and there are some encouraging signs for fans who oppose to it.

The 20-minute hearing in court 10 of the Rolls Building was merely about how the case will progress. A timetable was agreed by all parties – Judge Sally Barber, Mr McBean’s solicitor, and the solicitor acting for some other members of the lease-holding charity, Newham Community Leisure Ltd, who say they do not approve of the liquidation.

However, in what could be a significant blow to Mr McBean, the liquidator ST Bennett & Co, who did not attend, is now believed to accept that the liquidation cannot be pushed through before the current court case is heard.

Until recently the liquidator is understood to have argued that a recent compulsory winding-up order – filed by struck-off solicitor Antoinette Olivia Taylor on behalf of Taylor Bridge Legal Services for an unspecified amount owed for legal services from 2008 – superseded the members’ voluntary liquidation process, so he should be allowed to disburse the assets and shut down the charity. There are significant reservations about the provenance of this debt which CFC News intends to investigate.

If you are confused by all this – so are we. However, basically it means the attempt to force through the liquidation through the back door, via a winding order from a third party, looks to have stalled. The current legal action will have to run its course.

Mr McBean hopes to liquidate the lease-holding charity and, it is understood, transfer its assets to a new company, Veercourt CIC, of which he is the only director. Other members of the charity are attempting to block this. Mr McBean disputes that the other charity members were ever members, despite him personally appointing some of them, and others preceding his own appointment. The judge declined to go into the rights and wrongs of those arguments, that will be for another day.

The next case management hearing is scheduled sometime in late August with a full trial perhaps as far away as 2019.

Incidentally, Mr McBean’s new company Veercourt CIC, is already in danger of being struck off, being two months overdue in filing a confirmation statement. This document is merely an annual statement of basic details, such as who a company’s shareholders are and how much capital the company owns. It is a criminal offence to not file this document every year. Mr McBean, believed to be the only director, now risks prosecution and Veercourt CIC being struck off.

In the meantime, campaigners have renewed their appeal for those who care about London’s oldest senior football ground to sign the Save the Old Spotted Dog petition, calling on Newham Council and the Charity Commission to act.

You can also join the mailing list and follow the Twitter account.

WHO WILL BE IN THE NEW EASTERN SENIOR LEAGUE? THE CLUBS IN THE NEW STEP 6 DIVISION FOR ESSEX

UPDATED: 10/07/18

The 20 clubs who are in the new Eastern Senior League South

The new Step 6 league is made of up of

  • 4 clubs relegated from Step 5
  • 4 transferred sideways from another Step 6 league
  • 6 clubs elevated up from Step 7 (one promotion)
  • 2 clubs elevated up from Step 8 (two promotions)
  • 1 club elevated up from Step 9 (three promotions)
  • 1 club elevated up from Step 12 (six promotions)
  • 2 clubs completely new to the football pyramid

Benfleet – Essex Olympian League Div 2 (Step 9)
Braintree Town Reserves – Eastern Counties League (Step 6)
Brightlingsea Regent Reserves
– non-pyramid
Burnham Ramblers – Essex Senior League (Step 5)
Coggleshall United – Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier (Step 7)
Fire United –
Middlesex County League Div 1 (Step 8)
Frenford – Essex Olympian League Premier (Step 7)
Hackney Wick
– Essex Senior League (Step 5)
Halstead Town 
– Eastern Counties League (Step 6)
Harwich & Parkeston – Essex & Suffolk Border League (Step 7)
Hashtag United –  non-pyramid
Holland FC – Eastern Counties League (Step 6) 
Little Oakley – Eastern Counties League (Step 6)
Lopes Tavares – Essex Alliance League Premier (Step 12)
May & Baker
– Essex Olympian League Premier (Step 7)
Newbury Forest
– Essex Olympian League Div 1 (Step 8)
Wadham Lodge – Essex Senior League (Step 5)
White Ensign – Essex Olympian League Premier (Step 7)
Wivenhoe Town – Eastern Counties League (Step 5)
Wormley Rovers – Herts Senior County League Premier (Step 7)

Most of the clubs should be self-explanatory but here’s a bit more information about the clubs without a place name in their title: Fire United are a Brazilian church club who play at the Terence McMillan in Plaistow; Hashtag United are a team who play behind-closed-doors friendlies at New River Stadium in Haringey for a YouTube audience; Lopes Tavares London are a Brazilian club who were playing at West Ham Memorial Park in Plaistow. It’s unclear where they will move to now.

There will be some interesting stadiums in the new league – Harwich & Parkeston’s is a beauty as you can see from the Flickr gallery from when Clapton visited for a friendly in 2013.

P7200766a

Meanwhile Benfleet play at Isthmian League side Canvey Island’s home, Braintree Town Reserves at the Conference South club’s stadium, Holland FC have a new ground in Clacton; and Newbury Forest share Redbridge FC’s Oakside Stadium.

So who else was rumoured to be in the Eastern Senior League South?

AEK London – Middlesex County League Div 1 (Step 8) side.
AFC Sudbury Reserves
Cornard United
Eton Manor
– historic former Essex Senior League club who folded last year had been allocated a place at Step 6 but it hasn’t happened
Felixstowe & Walton Reserves – are entering the Eastern Senior League North instead
Laindon Orient
– Southend Borough Combination (non-pyramid) side were hoping to join but instead have joined the Essex Olympian League at Step 11
Rayleigh Town – Essex Olympian League Premier (Step 7) side
Southend Sports – Essex Olympian League Div 4 (Step 11) side
Stansted – given a reprieve from relegation from the Essex Senior League
Sporting Hackney – Middlesex County League Premier (Step 7)

Here’s how we understand the league will work

We have referred to the league as Essex Senior League Division Two in the past, but it will actually be called the Eastern Senior League.

The new Step 6 league is a collaboration between two existing Step 5 leagues – the ESL and the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League, which covers North Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. In fact we believe the league is going to be run by the existing Eastern Counties League officials.

The Eastern Senior League will feature a north and south division, with the geographical split being roughly at Ipswich. So what we have been called ESL Division 2 before is really the Eastern Senior League South.

Over the coming years, any Essex-based clubs currently playing in the Thurlow Nunn League set-up will more than likely end up in the Essex Senior League or Eastern Senior League South.

For instance if a Thurlow Nunn club like FC Clacton were promoted to the Isthmian League but later relegated again, they would be placed in the ESL not go back to the Thurlow Nunn. Likewise if they are relegated from the Thurlow Nunn, they would be relegated to the Eastern Counties League South.

In short, the Essex Senior League and Eastern Senior League South are going to be covering Essex, with Thurlow Nunn and Eastern Senior League North more of a East Anglia only set-up.

The debut season covers a large footprint from Little Oakley to the north, down to Benfleet at Canvey Island to the south. A round trip of 120 miles.