A visit to the Stray Dog from league leaders and world-famous LGBT football team Stonewall FC is probably the marquee event of our season so far.
Clapton Community FC player-manager Geoff Ocran’s side are sure to be fired up after our 4-0 away defeat in January, a match that was much more competitive than the scoreline would suggest.
Since then CCFC have managed to string together some strong performances with wins over Wilberforce Wanderers and, memorably, London Samurai on penalties.
Stonewall were in the MCFL Premier Division last season but were relegated, finishing second bottom. They are well on track for bouncing straight back up with a six point lead and game in hand over their nearest title rivals, NW London.
However, they will be looking for their own return to form after they suffered a heavy 7-0 loss away at London Samurai in their last league game.
CCFC caught up with Stonewall chairman James Motley – look out for him in the number 6 shirt today – to get the inside track on their almost flawless season so far.
He told us: “The whole season has been a real positive for us. The squad underwent some major changes over the summer and it’s been really encouraging to see everyone involved, whether they’re new to the club or not, step up and contribute.
“We’ve surpassed expectations with our current league position and are hoping we can finish the job.”
Back in November they faced MCFL stalwarts Wilberforce Wanderers at Wembley Stadium as part of the Rainbow Laces campaign, coming away with a 3-1 victory. As you can imagine, Motley looks back on the evening fondly.
He said: “To see the arch lit up with the rainbow colours was an immensely proud moment for the club and we’re very grateful to the FA and Stonewall the charity for allowing us to be part of that.
“The game itself was a bit of a rollercoaster, but to come back from a goal down to win made the event even more special.
“As well as the team, there were a lot of people there that have been part of the club for many years and it was great to show them how far their contribution to Stonewall FC has brought us.”
A huge thanks to @FA , @wembleystadium, @stonewalluk @afcwilberforce, all the fans that turned out & to everyone else that made the event possible. An occasion we’ll never forget and what a special evening promoting equality in sport. Full vid 👉https://t.co/pj21TTpK5R pic.twitter.com/3kGSKmSgSr
— StonewallFC (@StonewallFC) January 24, 2019
Looking forward to this game, we asked if there were going to be any major changes from our last meeting.
He said: “One of our strengths this season has been maintaining our own style of play, so I don’t think there will be any changes.
“Although we rode our luck at times [against Clapton], we put in a solid defensive performance last time out and were clinical in front of goal so we’ll be hoping for more of the same.”
As for future plans for the club, Motley is positive about their prospects. He said: “In the immediate term, the ambition has to get back to the MCFL Premier Division.
“We’re in a strong position going into the final few games of the season and it would be a great achievement to get promoted straight away, following relegation last season.
“With regards to longer term ambitions – there’s no ceiling as to where the club wants to go!”
While it looks like the clubs will be in different divisions next season, there could be one more very special meeting before then.
Stonewall and CCFC are in the other half of the draw in the Jim Rogers Presidents Cup. There’s lot of football to be played yet, but that would make one hell of a final…
The Tons squad is likely to look different from the short-handed side that went down to NW London last week.
Ocran is hopeful several key players will return to the CCFC squad after being without 13 players through injuries and work commitments.
He said: “Considering the makeshift side we put out, with players in unfamiliar positions, it was a positive performance.
“In the first half with the wind against we competed well and we were still in the game at 1-0 down.
“Second half was all us. We made a few changes and pressed on them. There was the usual few goalmouth scrambles and it could have gone either way.
“We have to look on the positives. We’ve got a big game against Stonewall and hopefully we’ll have some players back.”
Football v Homophobia
We have chosen this as our Football vs Homophobia game for their February month of action.
The CCFC players will be wearing rainbow laces and have signed up to stand with fans in our anti-homophobia and transphobia pledge.
We welcome volunteers from The Outside Project, the UK’s first LGBTIQ+ Community Shelter & Centre, who will be speaking about their work and bucket-shaking to raise funds.
They will also have T-Shirts and badges for sale at the merch stand, so please give – and shop – generously.
Stick around after the game too when we’ll be having a fans and players photo on the pitch, then moving to the bar for a supporters’ social with the teams. Everyone’s invited.
>More about our Football v Homophobia events here.
Football vs Blood Cancer
We’re teaming up with charity DKMS for the Football vs Blood Cancer campaign, which members voted to support at our general meeting.
Please spare a few minutes before or after the game to join the blood stem cell donor register. Head to the Matchday Centre building, next to the Stray Dog.
You’ll just need to fill out the form and then swab the inside of your cheek for about 60 seconds. That’s it.
Anyone between the ages of 18-55 and in general good health can become a potential blood stem cell donor.
More about our Football vs Blood Cancer event here.
There is a food bank collection for this game on behalf of Walthamstow-based charity Eat or Heat.
Our temporary home, The Stray Dog, is about 20 minutes walk from Walthamstow Central station.
Turn onto Hoe Street and follow the road all the way along (past the junction with The Bell pub) until Chingford Lane. Continue past Sir George Monoux 6th Form College and take the first right onto Brookscroft Road then left onto Kitchener Road.
You can catch a bus along that route too. The 357, 34, 97, 215 will all take you to the top of Brookscroft Road from Walthamstow Central (approx 12 minutes).
There’s also plenty of free car parking space available at the ground. Postcode for your satnav is E17 4LL.
Entry to the game is completely free, but we welcome donations, with a suggested £3 for waged adults.
We’re on the pitch just to the left as you enter the Wadham Lodge car park. Look out for the Stray Dog sign!
Fusion Foods will be there, serving hot food at the entrance. They will have meat, veggie and vegan options and accept cards.
There’s a pitchside bar selling cans of lager and cider. The toilets and clubhouse bar – selling a fuller range of draft beers and more – are in the main building.
We have a merch stall at the entrance including our matchday programme on sale for £2. Every front cover is designed by a different artist. See the previous covers here.
Clapton CFC vs Stonewall FC is on Saturday, February 16th at 2pm, at ‘The Stray Dog’, Wadham Lodge Sports Ground, Kitchener Road, Walthamstow, E17 4JP. You can join the Facebook event here.