Tag: Clapton

Clapton: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Sometimes irony can strike in the cruellest of ways. Clapton FC is one of the oldest surviving names on the London non-league circuit, but after years of slow decline the club’s recent improvement on the pitch in the Essex Senior League is being rapidly unwound by the inexplicable behaviour of its owner, and matters reached a point last week at which push came to shove over whether the Tons would even be able to start the new season, even though the club finished the season as the league’s runners-up last time around. To scratch at the surface of Clapton’s...

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Football Shorts: Clapton & The Cost of a Pound

The Essex Senior League, situated towards the bottom English football’s non-league pyramid, can be an unforgiving sporting environment. Most clubs eke out a hand to mouth existence, with players’ wages either excruciatingly low or completely non-existent, whilst the casualties who find themselves unable to continue altogether often find themselves sliding from this earthly existence with little to mark their departure from this mortal coil. These clubs are, with the best will in the world, the relative footnotes of the game, in this country. The desire to earn a few more coins is, therefore, an understandable one, but there are...

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Killing The Old Spotted Dog: The Battle To Save Clapton FC

The Essex Senior League is eight divisions from the Premier League, but the world of its clubs is so far removed from the glamour and glitter of the elite that they may as well inhabit different universes. This is football as a hand to mouth existence, where players are seldom paid much more than expenses and clubs subsist on crowds that often fail to even reach three figures. It is also a level at which clubs that have fallen upon hard times find themselves in. One such club is Clapton FC. Twice winners of Isthmian League and five times winners of the FA Amateur Cup, Clapton have finished in the top half of any division of which they have been a member just twice since 1936. So winning might not be everything for this East London club, but it ongoing existence is under threat as a result of the mismanagement of its owner and this threat is, perhaps unsurprisingly, related to the club’s home ground, the Old Spotted Dog Ground. The club signed a 100 year lease on the ground in 1992 through a company called Clapton Trust Limited, which was subsequently renamed as the Newham Community Leisure Trust Limited in order to emphasise the difference between it and the football club, and in the same year it acquired charitable status. Vincent McBean was co-opted onto the board of...

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