Mr McBeans's message of the 9th April entitled 'Thank You' referred to proposed ground improvements that are scheduled to take place during the close season. All very laudable you may think.
These improvements were said to be dependant on donations, funding and support and, if Vince's Clapton were to be a normal club one could that expect assistance might be forthcoming under each of these headings, particularly with the ground swell of interest that has been generated over the past couple of seasons.
However, the shroud of secrecy in which Vince's club is operated does not persuade me to dig into my pocket, or bring my tools to the ground (were I to be younger and fitter)
If there was more clarity as to who Vince's club are, under what guise (or disguise) they do business, then I might be prepared to re-consider
Donations : So to who I am I being asked to donate?
- Clapton Football Club? As we know, Vince's 'Clapton' are not a members club. We also don't know if it is running under the guise of one of his Limited Companies. This Clapton FC are purported to be the sub lessees of the ground share agreements with London Bari. They have no right to enter into such an agreement or to sub let the ground for their benefit.
- Clapton Members Club? Formed in 2000, this 'club' is said to be one and the same as Clapton FC although is unrecognised by the London FA.
- Vince McBean? On the basis that there is no evidence of there being a members club being run by Vince, is it the case that he believes that he is the owner of the Club? He is the personal licence holder of the clubhouse and runs his 'club' without a committee. However, he is listed on various planning documents as the owner of the site (even though this is definitely not the case).
- Newham Community Leisure Limited ? This is the non-profit making Trust/Charity/Limited Company by Guarantee that was set up in the 1990s and who holds the lease. Vince is one of only three remaining trustees. This company has been under investigation by the Charity Commission for over a year. A donation to this charity would be more palatable had it not been the case that Vince has previously attempted to sell the lease to a third party after the company had been struck off and de-registered as a charity. He re-instated the company, after a court order but, unsurprisingly, the potential buyers decided against it. This company is forbidden from trading and thus are not the best recipient of any fiduciary help / donation / funding.
It is difficult to imagine any responsible organisation who, having done due diligence, would fund any scheme or proposal emanating from Clapton FC whilst Mr McBean is 'at the helm' (his words).
However, Vince's plausibility has reaped previous successes, most notably his successful application for £2 million grant in 2000 from the Millennium Commission (take a bow MC), much of which was syphoned out of the recipient charity, Knights Millennium Foyer Limited to one of his Limited Companies.
Support : Do I really wish to support Vince McBean's business interests when he is unprepared to come clean about what they are in relation to the club? The answer to that is an emphatic "No" and, as tempting as the BBQ sounds, along with the "player of the year awards" etc, I shall continue to steer clear of his bar and supporting his other business interests, save for paying at the gate to watch my team.
Vince has previously criticised people for scuppering his attempts to attract sponsorship etc. He does not help himself.. I am sure that there are many people who would help Clapton, myself included, (in a pensionerly sort of way) but I will not contribute as things stand.
Indeed, I am in good company, as Vince himself has confirmed that his plans are dependant of donations,funding and support etc. This would indicate that he will not use the money generated this season through...
- gate money
- phone mast rental
- London Bari ground share
- Rental of the Tyre warehouse
- Auto trader advert filming venue
- Ground letting to Newham FC
- Ad-hoc ground lettings
- and the income generated from the parents of youth team players for kit and equipment etc.
However, dear reader and Clapton supporter, its your choice. For me, Walter Mitty is alive and well and living in South London.