The (real) Clapton FC condemns the drastic decision of Metropolitan Police Football Club to not permit Clapton supporters to attend tonight’s London Senior Cup 2nd Round game at Imber Court.
Citing “a pattern of unacceptable behaviour when visiting grounds for away matches in which Clapton are involved”, the Surrey club claim to have taken this decision “following lengthy discussions with Clapton Football Club Officials and information received through Football Intelligence sources.”
It speaks volumes that ‘Clapton Football Club Officials’ have been consulted on, and presumably supported, this decision. We believe that these unnamed ‘officials’ are demonising Clapton Ultras and other Clapton supporters over their support for our boycott of home games at The Old Spotted Dog. This boycott is the fans’ response to the shocking decision by the same ‘officials’ to force Newham Community Leisure Trust, the charity that controls the ground, into voluntary liquidation in order to try and avoid an investigation by the Charity Commission. A High Court injunction obtained by us is still in place and we understand publication of the Charity Commission’s investigation report is now imminent.
We support, appreciate and encourage the efforts of Clapton Ultras to both support the team and organise community projects including collecting donations for food banks and supporting local causes and charities. Their stance against racism, homophobia, sexism and fascism should also be applauded, not demonised.
This certainly doesn’t strike us as ‘unacceptable behaviour’, and clubs who have hosted Clapton FC in the league recently have vocally and openly thanked Clapton supporters for their support. They have been credited for “Creating a good atmosphere and good natured as always” (Redbridge FC), “A pleasure to have at our stadium” (Ilford FC), “A credit to themselves, their club, their opponents & more importantly the league” (Barkingside FC) and for attending and supporting fundraising games at Waltham Forest FC.
When Clapton Football Club has been rightfully returned to its members, including life members of more than 30 years, it will be run transparently and cooperatively with full communication with fans and other clubs, to ensure that supporters are valued and encouraged, not excluded.