Thursday, 7 January 2010


* The entrance to The Spotted Dog Ground tucked away in Forest Gate.

A quick stroll from the Premier League glamour of Upton Park is the home of Clapton FC, Crammed in between the terraced houses of Forest Gate and behind what is now alarmingly becoming a regular sight in London being the boarded up historic public house The Old Spotted Dog which the ground is also named. Unfortunately like a number of watering-holes in the local area The Spotted Dog has been shut for a number of years.
A stone's throw in the opposite direction of West Ham United past the numerous fried chicken take-away shops that now seem to dominate the area is the Stratford 2012 development where it seems money is no object with heavy investment into the future of the area and the so called lasting legacy. The Spotted Dog appears to be a million miles away in financial terms if only just a short distance away from the Olympic area.

* The main stand at The Spotted Dog Ground

Clapton formed in 1878 are one of Amateur football's former greats winning the FA Amateur Cup 5 times in 1907, 1909, 1915, 1924 and 1925. Although formed in the Clapton area of East London they have played at their historic ground since before 1900.

In the early days they competed in the Southern League First Division alongside teams such as Luton Town, Millwall Athletic (now Millwall), Reading and Swindon Town
Then in 1905 The Ton's were founder members of the Isthmian League along with Casuals, Civil Service, Ealing Association, Ilford and London Caledonians.

The club holds the record for unbroken membership of the Isthmian League staying until 2006/07 when due to non-league reorganisation they were moved to the Essex Senior League. The last 30 years in the Isthmian was a real struggle for the club who plied their trade in the lower reaches of the league. Their last season in the top division was 1972/73 when they finished 21st out of 22 clubs winning just 3 of their 42 league games.

* Behind the goal

Since playing in the ESL they have seen average crowds dwindle from very poor to extremely poor surviving on averages of 31 (06/07). 37 (07/08) 21 (08/09) and an average of just 23 so far this season. At the end of the season last year on the 11th April 2009 the club only attracted 9 paying spectators to their Newham local derby with London APSA.
The club have a miserable recent record in the FA Cup with no magic seeming to have been cast over The Spotted Dog ground since 1957 when Shefford Town, St Albans City, Enfield FC, Ware and Bury Town were beaten to qualify for the first round proper. Queens Park Rangers were held 1-1 at Loftus Road and the replay was lost 1-3 in a game held at Ilford's old ground in nearby Newbury Park. Only two games have been won in the competition since 2000 against Long Buckby (2000) and Stotfold (2005).

Clapton are again struggling at the foot of the ESL table this season with only Bowers & Pitsea and Mauritius Sports below them. The Ton's have won three of their games at home to B&P and local rivals Barking and away at Basildon United.

Currently managed by Wilfred Thomas and have the following matches scheduled in the next few weeks to improve their league position.

9/1/10 - Burnham Ramblers (away)
16/1/10 - Eton Manor (home)
23/1/10 - Bowers and Pitsea (away)
26/1/10 - Mauritius Sports (away)

The cold end wishes The Ton's the best of luck for the rest of the season. The fixtures versus Bowers & Pitsea and Mauritius Sports look very winnable games:

Below is the programme from the match Clapton played with another form Isthmian Club and local rivals Leytonstone on the 9th September 1964 in a game which was won by the visitors 1-4. Click on the picture to enlarge and take a closer look.


  1. Thank you for the info. A full history of Clapton weas produced in about 1990 called Fired Up for the 90s (after their club house was burnt out).

    The 'Dog' is a great little ground. More atmosphere than many of the 'lego' constructed grounds at this standard.

  2. Crikey, that brought back some memories seeing that entrance gate! The area and ground was 'rough as', but people there were so friendly and made PROPER Bovril!

  3. hi my uncle recently died and going through his papers we found out that he played for Clapton FC before and after the second world war, he left programmes/medals and some team photos from his playing days. his name was Don Riches and he played right back. Now planning a visit to the ground and see a game thanks for the info
    Al Riches

  4. Al Riches, please get in touch re your Uncle. email me at

  5. Al, please contact me regarding your Uncle.