Clapton CFC announce return to the Old Spotted Dog


Its been announced that Clapton Community FC are now the new owners of the historic Old Spotted Dog ground.

The 132-year old stadium is based in Forest Gate, East London and the announcement arrives after the club spent the last few months in discussions with ground landlords.

Reports suggested that the club were going to be leasing the ground after they were offered the tenancy rights to playing at the ground in September 2019. This latest news however makes them the sole owners which is massive to them and their development as a football club in East London.

CFC have only been around since 2018 when the club were formed in response to how Clapton FC were being operated. In that short time as a 100% fan owned club, they have won the league once whilst also winning one cup and achieving a runners up place on another occasion in another cup.

Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, the club were in fourth place in the Middlesex County Football League Premier with three games in hand on first placed side Brentham FC.

Had they secured promotion, the club would be partaking in the Eastern Senior League South for this upcoming 2020/21 season and be only one league away from their fellow namesake club Clapton FC.

The club itself has got a fantastic reputation with fans across the world as shown in 2018 when they sold over 11,500 replica away shirts. Out of that number, over 5,000 shirts went to fans in Spain because of its style based on the flags of the International Brigades and the flag of the Second Spanish Republic.

In a statement made by the Old Spotted Dog Trust, it said:

The ground does however need a significant amount of work to bring it back up to the required standard after a sustained period of neglect by the previous leaseholder.

However, the new Old Spotted Dog Ground board of directors, made up of Clapton CFC supporters 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.

A proposal has gone to Clapton CFC members to release funding to go towards the necessary improvements to bring the Old Spotted Dog back up to standard to host competitive football again.

Kevin Blowe from The Old Spotted Dog Trust also 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.

Clapton Community will be continuing to play their matches in 2020/21 season at their temporary home of Wadham Lodge Sports Ground in Walthamstow which has been their home for two years. They will no doubt now be keen to win the league this season with this news coming at such a crucial time for the organisation.


This move comes at a good time for non-league football in East London with the area starting to struggling as clubs continued to be blighted by ground issues.

Clapton CFC owning the Old Spotted Dog does now mean that one of non-league football’s oldest and most cherished gems will remain in use for the foreseeable future with its mens, womens and youth teams all getting their chance to play on the 132-year old ground in the coming months.

However, the OSD has become very run down in recent years by its previous tenants Clapton FC with weeds massively overgrowing and general rubbish being dumped around the ground making it a health risk alongside many more problems.

Its not in a pretty state like it once was back many years ago when the ground played host to the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham and Ajax amongst a host of other professional clubs. That’s not the fault of CFC but more just a mixture of both time and the allowance of letting antisocial behaviour take place without any major punishments.

This opportunity could see fellow East London side Hackney Wick return once more to the area after they were evicted during last season. Clapton FC have also now relocated to the Terrance McMillan Stadium in nearby Plaistow.

Wick spent the remainder of last season playing at Haringey Borough’s Coles Park stadium and are now set to be spending the season groundsharing at Isthmian North side Witham Town.

What is an interesting point of note is that within the next two/three years, we could see Clapton Community taking on Clapton FC which in itself could become another derby like that of AFC Wimbledon vs MK Dons or Enfield FC vs Enfield Town.

The fan owned club taking on its older club with opportunities available in the London Senior Cup and maybe in time, the Essex Senior League amongst the FA Cup and FA Vase.

Whatever the future holds for CFC, the move to the Old Spotted Dog ground will remain a notable moment of their history.


About Author

Photographer who's gone everywhere from covering non-league football to covering England internationals. Occasionally write but mostly at football matches with a camera and mono-pod.

Comments are closed.