Thursday, 28 August 2014

Pups, Hounds and Dogs...

.... and a club going to the dogs

I am so pleased that the club has managed to arrange a game at the Dog for next Saturday and what better opposition than the re-named Newham FC (formerly London Apsa).  The emergence of new clubs such as Newham, London Bari and Tower Hamlets and Sporting Bengal etc can only help to improve the standard of football in our area

As you might know, over the past 30 years the east end of London has lost a number of football clubs.  Walthamstow Avenue, Ilford and Leytonstone were boiled down to merge with Dagenham FC.  In the course of that culling no less than three traditional football grounds were sold off for private housing.

A few miles north of the Dog at Lea Bridge Road, there is another football ground that lies empty, the Hare and Hounds, former home of Leyton FC.  Leyton FC were the second oldest senior football club in London when they went out of business in 2010 due to some dodgy goings on involving VAT fraud by the 'owner'.  However, the owners of the ground, have now rented the pitch to an adjoining Indian Restaurant and the rumour is that even they are not able to use the ground for 'sporting activity'.  It smacks of some kind of preparation for a legal move towards development instead of sport.  Surely there is sufficient money sloshing around in our national game to be able to preserve the Hare and Hounds as a football ground and make it available to this new breed of east end football clubs?

But what has this to do with Newham FC?

Our friends from E13 have recently had to play their recent home matches away and have been refused entry to the FA Cup because the McMillan Stadium had failed and FA ground grading.  Notwithstanding the lost revenue to the club, such action is hardly conducive with the FA's supposed support for grass roots.  Matters of concern included such atrocities as there being no turnstiles, no signs on seats, not delineating standing areas and failure to block a vantage point from where those outside the stadium were able to view the game (they must be extremely long sighted then!).

This heavy handed approach by the FA towards Newham FC was totally disproportionate with a club that had an average home attendance of 25 last season.

Yet still the FA, and the Essex Senior League, are content to stand idly by, waiting for the outcome of legal proceedings to determine the confusing issues  at Clapton FC rather than investigate, and exercise the same vigour in governance with which they have penalised Newham FC.

Meanwhile, I have been coming to the Old Spotted Dog for more years than to which Vince McBean lays claim to in his recent statement on his website.  From what I have seen, the questionable activity that permeates his running of 'Clapton FC' is becoming of increasing concern.  My hope is that Clapton supporters are not left with the same situation as befell Leyton FC following the ignominious departure of their final 'owner'.

28th August 2014
email Lew Listz

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