A lot has been written recently about the proposed liquidation of Newham Community Leisure, the charity that holds the lease on the Old Spotted Dog. I don't think I can add any more to it, other than to say that the whole affair appears to have a familiar odious stench of Clapton FC dishonesty behind it. I hope those looking into it will save the ground from becoming McBean's money making asset by alternative means, which appears to be his intention. See http://www.claptonfc.info/vmcb/cfcnclt.htm
I have been encouraged to write on more light hearted matters following Vince McBean's latest article on his website http://claptonfc.com/recent-incident-at-sawbridgeworth-town-fc/. It is not my place to comment on the alleged incident. There were others there, including a delegate from McBean's club, as per the League rules. (one assumes)
However, it was quite opportunistic that McBean has used this unsavoury incident to announce the club's apparent withdrawal of their application for promotion. Despite apparently having no information as to who the supposed perpetrator was,or even if they were a Clapton supporter, he has used the incident to lay the blame for the promotion withdrawal on the fans. If he thinks we will swallow that, he clear considers that the average intelligence of the Clapton supporter, or objective non-league supporter, is that of a nettle.
I admit to having been somewhat surprised at Clapton's application for promotion which was announced earlier in the season. Nonetheless, with an enthusiastic manager and an improving team, why not?
But as many club have found over the years, promotion to the Ryman League from the Essex Senior is not straight forward and the first, and most obvious problem we have is the state of the Old Spotted Dog Ground.
The club had to obtain a Ryman ground grading by 31st March. Does anyone realistically think that Clapton stood any chance of achieving that? I don't think I need to go into specifics on the condition of the ground other than to say, its a dump. There are other requirements, such as accounts which, if McBean's management of the Newham Community Leisure scenario is anything to go by, will also probably be laughed out of the Ryman League's offices. Couple that with the general greater scrutiny of member clubs by the Ryman League (rather than the lip service to rules provided by the Essex Senior) and McBean would have even more reason to want to slip back under the radar.
So I don't buy McBean's rubbish about his ever being serious about promotion. He will continue to lose the support, even from those once prepared to give him the 'benefit of the doubt', and any credibility he may have thought he had, even among the newbies, has gone.
Meanwhile the most surprising event emerged on Twitter. Clapton team manager, Jonny Fowell, tweeted on Tuesday night that he remained hopeful that if Clapton were to finish as the second placed team in the ESL, they would be considered for promotion. Quite clearly, Vince had clearly not shared the news about the club's 'withdrawal from promotion' with his manager.
Whether or not McBean thinks Jonny Fowell has similar 'nettle intellect' to that of the supporters, it was particularly nasty sting for any manager to take, and consequently, it was a debacle. But then again, one would hope that Jonny will have realised by now who he's dealing with, and should grasp the nettle himself. Either that, or he really is 'Urtica dioica'.