Clapton CFC have become owners of the historic Old Spotted Dog ground in Forest Gate
- Credit: Archant
Clapton Football Club Limited, the community benefit society behind Clapton Community Football Club, have became the proud new owners of the Old Spotted Dog.
The oldest senior football ground in London has been the spiritual home of Clapton supporters for more than 130 years, but for the first time ever they now own it.
The previous owners, Star Pubs & Bars, had been looking for new tenants since last summer, when it terminated the lease held by Newham Community Leisure Ltd due to non-payment of rent.
Supporters-owned Clapton CFC - which has sold a phenomenal 15,000 replica shirts - were originally offered the lease in September 2019.
A few months later, the plans changed and the club was given the chance to purchase the freehold outright instead.
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In a vote of the club’s 1,350 plus members, it was unanimously agreed to make an offer, which was accepted, and the process of changing the ownership has now finally been completed.
The famous old ground, which has played host to the Dutch giants Ajax and to England’s 1966 World Cup winners, needs a lot of work to bring it back up to the required standard after a sustained period of neglect by the previous leaseholder.
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It means both the men’s and women’s first teams will still need to play at their temporary home of Wadham Lodge Sports Ground in Walthamstow for the upcoming 2020/21 season.
However, the new Old Spotted Dog Ground board of directors, made up of Clapton CFC members and residents from the local area, are optimistic of raising the funds needed to restore the ground, and can bank on a sizeable number of Tons fans to volunteer.
Kevin Blowe from The Old Spotted Dog Trust said: “For the first time ever, the oldest senior football ground in London is owned by a football club, and a member-run, non-profit, community-focused football club at that.
“Bringing Clapton’s spiritual home back into community use, after a season of boycotts of Clapton FC home games when it was placed into liquidation by the previous tenant, was absolutely central to the motivation for setting up Clapton CFC back in the summer of 2018.
“Finally having a ground of our own, owned by members, will offer long term stability for the club and also the chance to build lasting links with the local community.”
The long fight to make the Old Spotted Dog a community asset once more has been backed by West Ham MP, Lyn Brown, Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz and many local councillors.
Clapton CFC would like to hear from community organisations who would like to use the facility - email firstname.lastname@example.org.