WHY CLAPTON FC ARE PLAYING ITS NEXT ‘HOME’ GAME AWAY FROM THE OLD SPOTTED DOG

The new patch of grass can be viewed on the right of the picture

Essex Senior League side Clapton FC are set to play their first competitive home game away from the Old Spotted Dog in 15 years this weekend.

The Errington Challenge Cup game vs Enfield FC has been switched from the OSD to Aveley’s 3G pitch with a 11.30am kick off time.

The reason why is because the pitch needs time to recover after a new strip of turf was laid on one flank, in front of the famous Scaffold stand.

According to Peter Dudley on the Grassroots Football Show, the pitch was dug up by Vodafone. The company presumably carried out some work concerning the phone mast they have to the side of the Scaffold.

So is it a one-off? Dudley said on his radio show he felt it was “touch and go” whether the pitch would be ready for the next home game, on Tuesday.

Jason Maher, manager of Essex Senior League side Saffron Walden Town, felt it would take up to three weeks for the new turf to bed in. By that time, Clapton are scheduled to have played another five home games.

The action must have been carried out under the direction of the liquidator, ST Bennett & Co, which has been tasked with overseeing the Old Spotted Dog since March 2017.

The charity Newham Community Leisure, which used to run the facility, was placed into voluntary liquidation by Clapton FC chief exec Vince McBean and associates, because they wish to sell part of the ground. This process is being disputed in the High Court.

A spokesman for the Save The Old Spotted Dog community campaign said: “Any work at the Old Spotted Dog Ground must be carried out under the direction of the liquidator, using contractors appointed by him.

“Anything else strongly indicates that former trustee of the liquidated charity and now tenant Vince McBean remains in effective control of the ground.”

Fan groups connected to Clapton FC called a boycott of home games when Mr McBean, the club chief executive and former charity trustee, placed the charity in liquidation in March 2017, putting the future of London’s oldest senior football ground in grave peril.

The boycott has proved so watertight since that it’s understood there was just one paying customer at a recent home league game.

Campaigners argue that every penny handed over will help fund Mr McBean’s legal case as he attempts to seize control of the Old Spotted Dog lease in order sell off a portion of it,

A long-running High Court case rumbles on over this issue with a full trial not expected to take place until 2019.

Tons fans, life members and former committee members set up a team this summer under the name Clapton Community Football Club, and run entirely by members, as Clapton FC used to be.

Clapton CFC currently has just short of 1,000 members, playing its ‘home’ games at the newly-named Stray Dog in Walthamstow, with former Tons captain Geoff Ocran as player-manager.

Clapton FC spent much of 2002 and 2003 playing ‘home’ games at neutral venues, mostly at Aveley’s former ground but also Purfleet and Barking & East Ham United among others.

This was a few years into Mr McBean’s time at the club – he took over in 1999 – after the Isthmian League ordered ground repairs were needed that took a long time to be completed.

Clapton FC have a public policy of not answering our questions and have yet to respond to our last 20 requests for comment.

 

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EASTERN SENIOR LEAGUE DIVISION 1 SOUTH ADMISSION PRICES 2018/9 SEASON – THE LIST

Hashtag United in action at Haringey Borough’s Coles Park

Last year thousands of non-league football fans read our guide to the admission prices across the Essex Senior League – so we did it again for the 2018/9 season.

Not only that, but we’ve also dropped down one level to the new Step 6 league in the Essex area, the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Senior League Division 1.

The new league features the likes of YouTube famous Hashtag United, who play at Haringey Borough’s Coles Park, and Hackney Wick, who play at the Old Spotted Dog.

The Wickers are one of six clubs to charge £6, alongside Essex clubs Burnham Ramblers, Coggeshall United, Halstead Town, Wivenhoe Town and Holland FC.

Hats off to the five clubs who only charge £4 – London clubs Hashtag United and Fire United Christian, and Essex clubs Harwich & Parkeston, May & Bakers and Frenford.

Plenty of clubs offer free admission to under 16s while the average adult price across the 19 clubs is £5.05. That compares to the £6.28 average in the Essex Senior League, one step above.

Here’s the list of admission prices…

Burnham Ramblers
£6 adults £4 conc

Hackney Wick
£6 adults £4 conc Free under 16s

Coggeshall United
£6 adults £3 conc £3 under 16s

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

Wivenhoe Town
£6 adults £3 conc Free under 14s

Holland FC
£6 adults
Free programme

Brightlingsea Regent Reserves
£5 adults £3 conc £1 under 16s

Little Oakley
£5 adults £3 conc £1 under 16s

Braintree Town Reserves
£5 adults £3 conc Free under 16s

Lopes Tavares
£5 adults £3 conc Free under 16s

Wormley Rovers
£5 adults £2 conc

Benfleet
£5 adults £2 conc £1 under 16s

Newbury Forest
£5 adults £2 conc Free under 16s

White Ensign
£5 adults £2 conc

Harwich & Parkeston
£4 adults £2 conc

May & Bakers
£4 adults £2 conc

Hashtag United
£4 adults £2 conc Free under 12s

Frenford
£4 adults £2 conc Free under 16s

Fire United Christian
£4 adults £2 conc Free under 16s

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.

THREE SEASONS OF NATHAN COOK’S MAGIC COME TO AN END

Nathan Cook celebrating the Gordon Brasted cup win with a bottle of fizz

No doubt you’re aware there’s a fan-owned Clapton competing in the Middlesex County League with over 200 members already paid up. Find out more about Clapton CFC and become a member here

The departure of supporters to Clapton CFC, days after the youth team had left, perhaps overshadowed the news that the longest-serving player at the Essex Senior League Clapton team quit too.

Nathan Cook joined in the summer of 2015 and was part of both Mike Walther’s team that won the Gordon Brasted Trophy and Jon Fowell’s side that finished league runners-up.

He bagged 8 goals scored from midfield in 2015/6, went one better the next season, then finished an injury-hit 2017/8 with two goals in the final two games.

We caught up with the 28-year-old for an exit interview following his announcement on Twitter that he was moving on.

Asked about his early days at the Tons, Nathan, who had previously played for Portslade Athletic among other teams in his hometown Brighton, said: “My first ever game was a friendly for the reserves up in Chingford.

“Andre Thomas was managing and I remember doing pretty well so I was in the firsts for the pre-season friendlies.

“I couldn’t believe people were coming to watch these games and bringing banners even when they were miles away!

“My first league game was 2-1 loss to Basildon, poor game and I played terribly! I believe Tom Webb and Kristian Haighton were the two centre backs.”

A few weeks later though Nathan scored his first goals for the club in a marauding man-of-the-match performance away at Southend Manor.

That 5-1 win was immortalised in a memorable match report on the (much-missed) Red Menace website here.

When asked to select his best game over his three seasons, Nathan said: “My best performance personally was probably in the 2-1 win against FC Romania at Christmas 2016.

“I thought we did really well to win as they’re a very good team. I knew we’d have to really run to keep them out so I ran about like an idiot for the game! Jay Knight scored two on his debut I believe.

“My best goal was probably against Enfield at the end of the 2016/7 season. Great ball from Jerry and I managed to hook a volley (left foot if you’re asking) into the far corner.

“Modesty aside, it should’ve won goal of the season.”

And what about his favourite memories? “There’s a few good ones. Aside from the big wins (Newham 8-1, Enfield 6-2, Burnham 7-0), I remember the win against Barking 4-2 had a great atmosphere from the fans. That was a great game to play in.

“Also the 2-1 win in the semis to beat Wadham Lodge on the way to the cup win was huge. I remember the fans were louder than ever and we managed to win without really playing well.”

Tough question – what was the better achievement, the cup win that ended a LONG silverware drought, or the runners-up league campaign that followed?

Nathan said: “Coming second was a much better achievement, there were some very good players there that year. It was great to actually win something though…”

And what next? “I am going to keep playing for at least a bit more as long as I don’t get more injuries or anything.

“I had a great time at Clapton though, there’s really nothing like it.”

Since his departure, Nathan has been spotted playing for Isthmian League side Witham Town in a pre-season friendly. Wherever he ends up. we thank him for some amazing memories and hope our paths cross again once more.

VINCE MCBEAN FORCED TO BACKTRACK ON ATTACK ON ANTI-RACISM FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT

Clapton FC’s team, led by Andre Thomas, with the Fans For Diversity flag at Proudly East London 2016

Vince McBean has been forced to remove an inaccurate article from his claptonfc.com website that attacked a local annual anti-discrimination football tournament.

The climbdown over the Proudly East London tournament came after the Football Association launched a probe into Mr McBean’s comments and Kick It Out chairman Lord Ouseley requested Mr McBean withdrawn his name.

Mr McBean had accused organisers of the non-profit, inclusive football event, involving teams such as Queerspace East, Stonewall and Football Beyond Borders, of lying about receiving support from the pioneering equality and inclusion group, Kick It Out.

However, in fact Kick It Out had generously helped to fund the community-driven event for the past three seasons through its Fans For Diversity fund run jointly with the Football Supporters Federation.

The Proudly East London football tournament logo

Included in the original article was a quote from Lord Ouseley, who has since told Clapton FC News this was a result of a misunderstanding and that Fans For Diversity had indeed provided funds for the maximum three-year period allowed.

Lord Ousley told Clapton FC News: “My statement may have been based on a misunderstanding. To avoid further misrepresentations or inferences, I have asked Mr McBean to remove it from his website. He has agreed to do so and to inform me as soon as done.”

Mr McBean’s website was taken offline completely for a week but is now back online. The article in question ‘Kick It Out support claim untrue’ is now a broken link, A tweet summarising the attack, however, remains online at time of publication.

A new article ‘Updated: KickItOut support claim’,  featuring a much longer statement, has been uploaded to Mr McBean’s website today but with Lord Ouseley’s quotes thankfully removed.

Lord Ouseley stressed he does not wish to take sides in the long-running and bitter dispute between fans and chief executive Mr McBean. He said: “Kick it Out does not wish to be caught up in this dispute nor to be seen to be supporting one side or another.

“We have used our best endeavours to get the football authorities to try to sort it so that we can support all good work being done through football in the local area.”

In the same article, Mr McBean also insisted Clapton FC had had no connection whatsoever to the tournament, which is avowedly anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic and very inclusive.

However, Mr McBean’s management, coaches and players have entered official teams for each of the three years Proudly East London has been held to date.

Mr McBean’s own @claptonfootball Twitter account even posted many updates during the tournaments and praised the event and its organisers, the Clapton Ultras.

Last year, then-assistant manager Andre Thomas led Clapton FC’s team to victory in the men’s tournament for the second year in a row, while the Easton Cowgirls from Bristol won the women’s tournament.

In previous years, then Clapton manager Mike Walther and current first team coach Marc Nurse have led the Clapton team.

When contacted, the Essex Senior League committee chose to back Mr McBean’s original, now-deleted, article, insisting it was not their responsibility.

ESL secretary Michelle Dorling told Clapton FC News: “As this is an outside competition it does not come under our jurisdiction.”

This is despite the ESL’s own rule 8.14 which states they are responsible for overseeing what is posted on clubs’ websites: “Nothing shall be included on the website… which brings the [ESL] into disrepute.”

An FA spokesman said they had asked the London FA to investigate after their attention was drawn to Mr McBean’s statement and the subsequent handling by the ESL.

Organisers of Proudly East London did not want to comment when approached by Clapton FC News, except to stress they were hugely grateful for Kick It Out and the Football Supporters’ Federation for their amazing support since the tournament was launched.

Today they tweeted for the first time in 10 months to hint the tournament will once again take place this summer despite Mr McBean’s attack with details published soon.

We contacted Mr McBean several times but he declined to comment – in line with his long-standing policy not to speak to us.

In the meantime, follow Proudly East London on Twitter, and check out the amazing work by Kick It Out, Fans For Diversity and Football Supporters’ Federation.

Here’s a promo video made by Copa 90 for the tournament, whose slogan is: “Everything racists hate about east London – its diversity, multiculturalism and greater tolerance… the reasons why we are proud to call it home.”

 

NEWHAM MAYOR TO MEET THE ‘SAVE THE OLD SPOTTED DOG’ CAMPAIGN GROUP

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Rokhsana Fiaz responds to the public question about the Old Spotted Dog ground

Newham’s new mayor Rokhsana Fiaz has agreed to meet the Save the Old Spotted Dog campaign group in its battle to save Clapton’s historic ground.

The pledge came in the public questions section of Newham Council’s meeting last night and follows on from a campaign launch meeting followed by 1,750 people signing a petition calling on the council to help secure the OSD’s future.

Rokhsana, who has been in office for just a few months, said the council is committed to “maintaining the Old Spotted Dog Ground as an asset of community value, run for the benefit of local people.”

She added: “I would like to see the football ground, the Old Spotted Dog, remain, driven, shaped and overseen in terms of its governance by local people.”

Vince McBean, who sparked the current crisis by plunging the charity that ran the OSD into liquidation, was also present at the meeting but did not get chance to speak. We have asked him for comment but he has not responded, in line with his long-standing ‘no comment’ policy.

You can see the full question and answer in the video below, or scroll down to read it,

Question from Save the Old Spotted Dog campaigner

Kevin Blowe of the Save the OSD said: “In 2017, the charity holding the lease to the Old Spotted Dog football ground in Upton Lane, Forest Gate, went into administration.

“This was at a crucial moment in the investigation by the Charity Commission into conflicts of interest and lack of financial accountability by trustees.

“Although now nominally in the hands of the liquidator, however, the charity trust has continued to control the ground.

“The petition signed by 1750 people is calling on Newham Council to help secure a future for the Old Spotted Dog ground.

“We ask the new mayor for a statement on the Old Spotted Dog, a meeting with the campaign, and for the council to support a plan to replace the charity currently facing liquidation with a new charity to guarantee the sports’ ground’s long-term future.”

Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz’s response

“I view the Old Spotted Dog ground as a really vital and important Asset of Community Value, something that we as a council have recognised, acknowledged and accepted.

“I understand that there is an ongoing series of disputes between various pertaining to the charity, Newham Community Leisure Trust, and issues around ownership and governance of Clapton Football Club, and I’m also aware that there’s concern by a significant following of football fans, the Clapton Ultras, and other members of the local community here in Newham, and outside.

“I want to say this. In terms of the statement you are asking me, around the situation at the Old Spotted Dog, I say this. Let’s not lose sight of the central issue of concern to me. That this is an asset of significant community value.

“In our local plan, it features as a protected Green Infrastructure, and what I’m here to ensure is that while all the legalities between various parties is conducted, with liquidators or administrators, that we protect the inherent value of the ground, its history, the way it’s shaped the identity of the Forest Gate community, and ensuring that it remains very much an asset that is determined by local residents and the community.

“So I’m happy to arrange a meeting with the campaign, to look into more detail about the concerns they have, to see what we can actively do as a council to support the integrity of it being and remaining an asset of community value, and to ensure it does not get caught in a crossfire of very significant proportions.

“And I want to finally to make clear that I would like to see the football ground, the Old Spotted Dog, remain, driven, shaped and overseen in terms of its governance by local people.”

What’s next

The next stage in the campaign is to hand over the petition to the Charity Commission. They were told by the High Court to publish their report into Newham Community Leisure Trust last year, but have still not done so.

A tweet from the @savetheosd campaign Twitter account gives the details…

“Join us outside the Charity Commission (102 Petty France, London SW1H 9AJ) on Monday 25th June at 6pm.

“We are demanding the immediate release of its report on the charity controlling the Old Spotted Dog Ground.”

The next stage in the legal tussle over the Old Spotted Dog will be another case management hearing at the High Court in August with a full trial perhaps as far away as early 2019.

CCFC

The Old Spotted Dog situation took another twist last week when fans, life members and former committee members announced plans to field a team in the Middlesex League next season under the name Clapton Community Football Club, and run entirely by members.

CCFC will start the season playing home games at Wadham Lodge in Walthamstow although it has pledged to bring “members-run community football back to E7 as soon as possible.”

A CCFC spokesperson told us: “We are looking forward to returning to the Old Spotted Dog one day and so we welcome the mayor’s pledge for a meeting to discuss the council’s involvement in the campaign to have the ground run by the local community.

“We would love to be part of that, and indeed Community is literally our middle name. We still regard ourselves as a Forest Gate club and we will be making sure to maintain our strong ties with the area while we are playing in Walthamstow.”

Mr McBean’s own Clapton FC is by constitution supposed to be a members club but has long been closed to new members. It has made no public statement, and has taken its website offline, but is expected to start the season in the Essex Senior League, at the Old Spotted Dog.

You can find out more about Clapton CFC and become a member here. Follow the Save the OSD Twitter page here.

CLAPTON YOUTH TEAMS QUIT AND MOVE TO HACKNEY WICK

Clapton’s under 18s in action in the Ingilby Cup semi-final, losing on penalties to Buckhurst Hill

Clapton is without any  youth system after both its current teams decided to quit the Old Spotted Dog after just one year.

Clapton U16 and U18 teams were resurrected last season, having been axed by chief executive Vince McBean the year before.

However, this time it’s the youth teams who have decided to depart, and will now play under the Hackney Wick FC name with games at Mabley Green in Hackney.

A statement from the coaches, to confirm the news, said: “With great regret the youth section will not be at Clapton next year and all our teams and officers will be leaving to another club.”

The coaches’ new set-up at Hackney Wick is being expanded and will feature boys’ U11s, U15s, U16s and U18s teams and a girls’ U17s team.

The statement added: “Speaking to the parents and most importantly the boys, who play and train week in, week out during the season, we all believe we should continue growing away from Clapton.”

In Clapton U18s’ only season they won one cup, reached another cup semi-final, and finished runners-up in the league, the Eastern Junior Alliance.

Some of the youth players stepped up to make their debut in the Tons’ first team. One of them, highly-rated full-back Max Henry, is believed to have been given the chance to join the first team squad.

Several of the Clapton youth team games attracted substantial crowds and the coaches added: “We would like to say thank you to the fans who were wonderful to us during matches, the boys loved it!  I don’t think the EJA has ever had that much fans at a league game.”

The ‘Clapton FC Youth’ Twitter account is already no more, having been renamed Hackney Wick Youth Academy today, but still features some highlights of the past season.

 

 

Over recent years Clapton has axed its reserve team, U18s, U17s, U16s, U15s, U14s and U13s, as well as its women’s football section, before the U18s and U16s’ brief revival.

The move means Clapton currently fields only a first team.

Clapton FC News would like to thank all the players who served the Tons so well last season. All the best for the future. 

We have approached the club for comment but they have a policy of refusing to speak to us.