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

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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.

HACKNEY WICK TO MERGE WITH LONDON BARI, GROUND SHARE WITH CLAPTON

Earlier this week we reported that Hackney Wick FC had announced they would be merging with an existing Essex Senior League team, however it seems the rumours of that team being Haringey & Waltham Development FC were incorrect.

Hackney Citizen have revealed that it will in fact be Clapton’s co-tenants at the Old Spotted Dog, London Bari FC.

Bobby Kasanga, The Wickers’ founder, is quoted in the article as saying that the merger would be a “mix of the two entities”, despite the team using the Hackney Wick name.

Apparently Bari’s existing manager, as well as some first team players and some of the committee will stay on at the rebranded club.

Bari have always struggled for crowds, averaging just 17 this season, so the new club will be hoping to see some improvement in that department.

HACKNEY WICK MERGES INTO THE ESL

With the close of the Essex Senior League season less than a week to go, it appears we already have a new name penned in for the upcoming campaign. KNtU2y8l_400x400

Hackney Wick FC announced yesterday an exciting merger with an as yet unnamed ESL club, with The Wickers set to maintain their full name, colours and identity.

Speculation peaked immediately, after the Hackney club’s statement, over which club had been consumed by the (now) former Middlesex County League side.

Wadham Lodge were quick to quash Twitter rumours that they were involved, leaving the smart money on basement boys, Haringey & Waltham being the other half of the merge.

Frankenstein club, Haringey & Waltham experienced a torrid return to the ESL in 2016/17; The Purps didn’t secure a home ground until mid-September and finished the season dead last with a goal difference of minus eighty six.

H&W originally formed through a series of mergers, which included the historic Walthamstow Avenue and Leyton Pennant along with community club, Mauritius Sports. in 2013 they briefly changed into ‘Greenhouse’ after a linkup with the South London football charity, before reverting back last year.

Despite finishing 7th in the Middlesex County second tier, the merger means Hackney Wick will now jump through three levels of the football pyramid and could potentially compete in the FA Cup.

Hackney Wick does, however, have the backing, presence and infrastructure to put many ESL clubs in the shade. Although the climb up will mean having to leave Hackney, which doesn’t currently have a facility able to meet Step 5 ground grading standards.

The New River Stadium in Wood Green has been touted as a potential new home for Wick. The 5,000 capacity sports ground is primarily used for Rugby Union. newriverstadium_57c9a12234302

With their motto ‘Our borough, our club’, Hackney Wick will be keen on an eventual return to E9. Hackney hasn’t had a senior club since Clapton Orient left Millfields Road in 1930.

Clapton FC left Hackney for Forest Gate in 1888 and has never looked back.