Sunday, 15 November 2015

Quentin and Quitting

After a short lull, through a postponement and a 'free week', the fixtures should now come thick and fast, (weather permitting) and the elements certainly played its part in yesterday's game against Newham.  I enjoyed a decent game of football played by two honest sides and a fair result.  However, I felt that our lads were not firing on all cylinders, possibly because of the wet conditions, or the fact that during the past few days there had been some Clapton team issues that might have put things out of kilter.  Nonetheless, well played one and all, and well done to the visitors for their part in derby game where they also had to overcome the fantastic home support from the scaffold stand.

Quentin Monville's departure to Billericay is a shame for the team and the fans, but one has to be pleased for the player and I was delighted to read various 'good luck' messages to him from supporters. I am particularly delighted for him as, a move to the Ryman League Premier is a genuine step up in level, as opposed to players leaving the club to play, at the same level as us, for the sake of a few bob in a brown envelope. "Well done Topsy", as I used to call him due to his 'Bun' hairstyle.

I was disappointed to learn that our London Senior Cup tie with VCD had been postponed due to their withdrawal from the competition.  It was not so much for our missing a trip south of the river, but more about in what light this leaves a competition that used to be regarded as the second most important, next to the Amateur Cup.  There has been no official reason given and one of the theories is that relates to the cost of staging the fixture (engaging security etc).

One would assume that a Ryman Premier League club, such as VCD, would have had sufficient experience and the ability to organise any such fixture.  Their ground would undoubtedly be of a standard to do so.  Yet they chose to withdraw.  So what would have happened if they had been fortunate enough to progress and get a home draw against Football League club in the first round proper of the FA Cup?  Despite the expense of extra security, I am sure they would have made every effort to ensure the fixture went ahead. They could, alternatively, have played the game at a neutral venue or at the home of the visitors, as Clapton have done over the years. However, it appears that they are not prepared to do so for the London Senior Cup which is not only a slap in the face for the competition but also for Clapton.  A senior club should not be allowed to cherry pick their fixtures so as to only play those which are financially profitable.

If the reason for the postponement is merely financial, and this is accepted by the London FA as a valid reason, it sets a very interesting precedent.  For example, would it be considered as acceptable for an away team from south west London to pull out of a midweek London Senior Cup tie at London Bari because of the prospect of playing in front of 15 paying spectators, the hassle of crossing London in rush hour and having to suffer the inevitable financial loss over travel, players wages/expenses etc?  I think not.

During this time I have seen some smashing games in the London Senior Cup and is a shame to see the competition brushed aside, almost as an inconvenience. Clapton enjoyed very limited success in the competition for some time before our appearance in the 1989 final, which was our first for over 60 years.  Perhaps this is to be our year again?  We now move onto a tie against Redbridge, not such a 'big fish' as VCD, but I imagine they will be able to cope with such a fixture at Oakside.  Its winnable, some come on lads !

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