Sunday, 23 November 2014

A Forking Shame

Another postponement of a Clapton match at the Old Spotted Dog was very disappointing, particularly as the visitors were to be our old friends, and traditional rivals, Ilford FC. 

The lateness of the postponement was all the more frustrating for those supporters who have to make the journey to Forest Gate.  Fortunately, I live close to the ground but it was a shame to see that some fans had had wasted journeys.

Even though Ilford are relatively close to the Dog, a postponement at half past one was cutting it a bit fine, even for them, and it was no surprise and indicative of the frustration for all when they posted "Clapton Are A Joke" on their Twitter feed.

I didn't enjoy reading that, particularly when most of the stuff connected with the supporters and the real club has been unfailingly positive.  It would have been more accurate had the tweet read "Vince's McBean's Clapton FC, you're a joke".

The supporters who did their best yesterday morning are not members of Vince's club because, of course, there are no members.  There has been no acknowledgement or message of thanks to them on Vince's twitter or website. The 'forking squad' are Clapton supporters who's interest Vince takes for granted. Their efforts were fulled solely with the intention of getting the game played so that they, and other fans like me, could have an enjoyable afternoon.  

It would have been better had a local referee been called in to inspect the pitch at least three hours before kick off.  He would have assessed the state of the pitch and the likelihood of success of the 'forking squad' and come up with a reasoned decision.  To leave it so late was an error and showed total lack of consideration of the opponents and the supporters.

This is one of the new problems being faced by Vince in that the club has a following of fans, and in normal circumstances, a person in his position would be mindful of them. Perhaps it is his intention to cheese them off sufficiently so that they all disperse, I don't know.

However, the pitch will not get better and it is becoming harder to believe Vince's contention that a drainage system was ever installed. We will lose more games to the weather and it is not unreasonable to expect Vince, or the team manager, to make some attempt to inform the supporters of the situation in good time.

What Saturday's events did show was that Vince, or his 'Clapton Members Club', do not have any members willing to 'pitch in' when necessary.  But we know this, as do the League and the Football Association.  Perhaps it's time that the chap on the Ilford Twitter feed had a word with his chairman, and then he speak to his counterparts throughout the Essex Senior League, and say "What's going on at Clapton?". I have no doubt that Saturday's events came at a monetary cost to Ilford FC and surely its now time for the clubs to demand that the League, at the very least take an interest.  It will be interesting to see which Chairmen actually have the courage to do it.

Earlier in the week, @essexfootie posted on Twitter a reference to #postponementbingo due to the weather. Some wag later responded "On His Own... Vince McBean". 

You, Sir/Madam, are more right than you probably know.

So, I took myself off to Wadham Lodge FC in E17. Incognito as ever, I noticed a few of the Spotted Dog regulars having a good time, Tyskie in hand.  It was obviously good to see Neil Day enjoying his football once more, it was nice.  Nice ground, nice game, nice people and nice afternoon.

But it's not the Old Spotted Dog !

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