Sunday, 11 October 2015

Educating the Newbies

Clapton v Ilford. Essex Senior League. Attendance 761.  It doesn't seem possible does it?

This was the probably highest attendance at a league game at the Old Spotted Dog since the War and, from what I saw, there were a lot of very happy spectators lining the perimeter fence, in the stands and sat, 'hippyesque', on the grass banks behind the goals.  It was a marvellous day.

For my part, I got free admission to the match as a Senior and Vince McBean even smiled at me as I went through the turnstile.  It could have been something about the wad of banknotes he was holding in his hand.

There were lots and lots of other folk who clearly were attending their first Clapton match and, unsurprisingly, were delighting in in the experience.  As the match played out, the McBean's Bar was being frequently visited by these happy newbies and they were returning to their spot with plastic glasses filled with McBean's beer or cider, seemingly oblivious of what the true situation is as regards Clapton FC.  This, to a small extent, marred the day for me.  At first instance, I thought why would these people openly support McBean's regime?  I was told by one young chap, a first time visitor, that "I thought I was supporting the club" and this I think was the general thought process of those who didn't know the truth about Vincent Joseph McBean.

I can understand the motives of those in his entourage who support him, such as the Youth Team managers, who's self interest, is to maintain the franchised link of their team in being able to use the name Clapton. - "I am under 15s manager of Clapton FC sounds a lot more impressive than I am the manager of Prostar Rangers in Newham".  However perhaps the the supporters who are members of the real Clapton FC would have made more play of the state of McBean's so-called club and his antecedents, both as a football person and an individual on this important day.

This is, in no way, a criticism of the wonderful work being done by the real Clapton FC and when I spoke to Andrew Barr, their secretary during the game, he told me that 'matters were very much in hand'. I hope he is right and that they can move things forward as soon as possible.  Nonetheless, I was delighted to buy a new Tons' scarf, badge, and programme from the tressel table outside the gate, as were many others.  I just thought that this was a marvellous opportunity to drive home the points about McBean.

I wholly applaud and but sympathise with the efforts of the Clapton Ultras who, in response to McBean not reducing prices for regular supporters or for the unwaged etc on NonLeague Day, undertook to distribute Solidarity Tickets for newcomers so they would not be price barred from coming along and enjoying the experience.  Unfortunately, the some of the media and newspapers (including the BBC Sport website) portrayed it as if it was the 'club' (McBean) bestowing this offer to  fans.   Poor show.

I believe that the main reason why many people did support the bar etc was that they really have no idea of the Clapton situation.  So it is therefore imperative that the supporters and members of the real club take every opportunity to spread the word.  At the match I managed to engage at least two first timers in conversation, mentioned McBean, and the fact that he does not run his Clapton FC as a club, but as his personal place of business.  The reaction was genuine shock and in one case an apparent embarrassment that he was holding a pint of McBean lager in his hand.

I do not have to go over all the facts in this blog.  There is plenty of info out there on the net, none with more clarity than the real Clapton FC website which not only provides an account of how Vince McBean took control of Clapton, but also supporting documents which prove their case as to the fraud that took place.

The entertainment was provided by players who play for the love of the game, ably supported by fans who are the best I have seen in many years of watching football at Clapton.  McBean scant effort, as to the experience, of letting me, the kids, and the other 20 or so seniors in for nothing pales into insignificance.  His motivation is not that of the players or supporters or the real Clapton FC, the furtherance of our great old club, it is money and greed.

It's is time to get McBean out of Clapton, and whilst one can forgive the unknowing support of McBean by the newbies, I would ask them, whilst still fuelled by the superb occasion that was yesterday, to read up on the situation.  Google 'the great leader'.  You may find that when they next visit the Old Spotted Dog, that the pull of tinned lager and cider, served in plastic glasses, does not hold the same attraction.

To the Clapton Ultras and the real Clapton FC, keep going and spread the word.  You are the future and true life blood of my great old club.

To the newbies, great to have you aboard, now keep supporting the team, do your research and join the real Clapton FC, its a fiver, less than one match entrance fee to McBean FC.

Right, enough of my ramblings.  Dog walk and sunday lunch at my local.  Come on you Tons!

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