Why we are refusing to attend home games – and calling on everyone to join us
On the 22nd July 2017, members of (real) Clapton Football Club, including the Club’s long-term life members, held an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) in response to Clapton Chief Executive, Vincent McBean’s recent appearance at the High Court, on the 19th July, in relation to his attempt to liquidate the charity that operates The Old Spotted Dog ground.
By handing all assets of the charity including the ground over to a liquidator, Mr McBean has placed the Spotted Dog, home to Clapton FC for 129 years, at severe risk. Members were asked to vote on a motion to boycott home matches, which was then put to a wider online vote.
The three main issues members and Clapton supporters were asked to consider were:
- Safety: Is the Old Spotted Dog adequately insured whilst the lease holding company is in liquidation? As McBean is now estranged from the charity and its bank accounts are in the hands of the Charity Commission, should supporters be encouraged to enter a ground that may not have liability cover? The liquidator has so far not indicated whether insurance has been sought under his stewardship or even if football should be played.
- Transparency: Given the telling lack of communication from McBean over his attempted liquidation, there is legitimate concern that money taken over the turnstiles could be used to fund his legal case to push liquidation through the courts. As McBean is no longer responsible for the ground and the team still operating on a zero-budget, it is unclear where match day revenue could be invested to the benefit of Clapton FC.
- Accountability: Unilateral actions such as the attempted liquidation demonstrate a clear lack of structural accountability at Clapton FC. Membership has been officially ‘closed for restructuring’ since 2013, with little to suggest the club’s life members or constitution are respected or acknowledged.
Both the members’ meeting vote and online poll showed overwhelming support not to attend home fixtures while these concerns remain unaddressed.