Clapton FC game called off after fans ‘targeted’ by far-right group

Mass brawl breaks out during match between Thamesmead and Clapton FC (@LiamNAsh1)

Mass brawl breaks out during match between Thamesmead and Clapton FC (@LiamNAsh1) - Credit: Archant

Football fans from Forest Gate claim they were targeted by far-right protesters during a mass brawl that broke out during a match in south-east London last night.

The pre-season game between Thamesmead FC and Clapton FC was called off after violent clashes broke out at about 8.10pm and weapons including missiles and a fire extinguisher were thrown in the crowd.

A video shared on social media shows a group of people clashing before officers got involved and police have since launched an investigation into the incident which involved around 100 people.

Supporters from both sides deny any involvement in starting the violence and fans of Clapton FC, based at the Old Spotted Dog Ground, Forest Lane, claim they had received “threatening” messages from far-right protestors in the days ahead of the game.

One fan, who does not want to be named, told the Recorder: “When we arrived at the game, I would say that there were about 20 to 30 people waiting for us. As we went in, they all charged towards us and started attacking.

“They threw a fire extinguisher and were chanting racist chants. It was terrifying. We are sure that we were not targeted by Thamesmead fans.

“We had actually received a couple of threats before which is why we all decided to go as one group.”

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A statement on the Clapton Ultras fansite, added: “Clapton fans have no history or rivalry with Thamesmead fans and this attack was not made by Thamesmead fans.

“The attackers sang racist chants as they pelted Clapton fans with missiles.

“This was a planned attack, orchestrated by fascists and their allies as a politically motivated assault on Clapton fans for our politics of anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, anti-racism and anti-fascism.

“Their interest was never in the football and they only attended the game in order to attack us.”

According to the police, two members of the public suffered minor facial injuries and one police officer sustained a minor hand injury, during the brawl.

Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe, Bexley Borough Commander, said: “Thamesmead Town Football Club is a quiet club with a nearby sports centre.

“It is unacceptable that the match had to be abandoned because of the mindless behaviour of those who were obviously intent on causing trouble.

“I am conscious of the impact this type of incident has on the local community and with that in mind I have increased patrols to the local area. My officers will be out and about speaking to people, so if you have a question please do not hesitate to approach them.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to appeal to anyone who witnessed the events or has information about the people responsible to contact the police.”

Following on from the incident, members of the Clapton Ultras, a fanbase who are known for showing their support to anti-racist and anti-homophobic campaigns, are calling on local residents to “stand against fascism” by attending a home game on 15 August.