As I looked through our fixtures for the new season on the FA website I couldn't help notice the listing for the venue of our home games - "Old Spotted Dog Stadium". This change of name has gone unnoticed and there can be no logical reason for it. Had a sponsor ploughed money into the coffers to re-brand the ground, then it might be understandable but why this.
When Clapton arrived in Upton Lane in 1888, the place as called the Spotted Dog enclosure, because that what is was. A large space with and array of cricket and football pitches that ran from the Spotted Dog up up to the Romford Road. It certainly wasn't an 'Old' Spotted Dog in those days, even though the pub has been there since the 16th century.
However, by 1924, it was being referred to as the 'Old Spotted Dog' in Clapton FC programmes and has remained that way until the start of this season.
I am beyond trying to second guess Mr McBean's thought process as it relates to the club and have chortled at his use of Dictionary definitions in attempts to put forward his point of view. So, what is a stadium? According to the dictionary it is
"a very large, usually roofless building that has a large open area surrounded by many rows of seats and that is used for sports event, concerts etc."
With respect, that doesn't sound much like the Dog to me.
A neutral and objective appraisal was nicely set out in the The Educated Left Foot blog following their attendance at the Bengal game and whilst this Dog may have has it's day, there is no reason to put it down. As far as I am aware a framework was in place whereby the ground could have been once of the best venues at this level. The lease is held by a Charity set up over twenty years ago but they appear to have totally ignored the state of the place. I am personally unaware of the specifics but it's a shameful set of affairs.
Meanwhile, I don't wish to appear unfair but the 'improvements' at the ground can easily be be construed as another smokescreen and an attempt to show that the club and ground is in good hands. This season we have turnstiles, two new kits, the manager strutting around in new tops etc and even some footballs. The ground is what it is, and the responsibility lies solely with those who hold the reins.
We don't need a change of name but a change of direction if the club or ground are going to survive.
I am not sure if Newham Council or local historians are aware of this change of name. I can imagine that they might have something to say.
As for the apparent new facilities at at the club. It's a bit like wallpapering over a hole in a wall. As someone once said "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."
18th August 2014
email Lew Listz
My thoughts on the cup ties(s) will follow at the end of the week.