It’s been exciting and exhausting, but Clapton CFC’s online shop has now closed to new orders.
Our away shirt story is a phenomenon that none of us could have predicted. We were overwhelmed by the support people have shown for the club and our shared values.
In the summer, the story of our Spanish Republic-inspired away shirt somehow spread around the world.
Over 2,500 men and women from the UK and Ireland travelled to fight with the International Brigades, with more than 500 dying for the cause.
Friends and comrades, particularly in Spain and Britain, started ordering faster than our non-profit manufacturer Rage Sport could make them.
Our unexpected spot in the limelight meant lots of frantic planning, working out how on earth we can process so many orders.
So we had to shut the online shop for three months while we coped with the backlog.
We also had to rush to register for VAT – we never expected our income to be high enough to need to do so – which forced a £5 rise in price from £25 to £30.
Eventually, by January, we had caught our breath and were able to reopen the shop for a second spell. We sent over 10,000 emails to people who had registered to hear when the shop would reopen.
Finally, seven months after our kits first went on sale, the shop has closed.
A small core of tired volunteers have been working with our manufacturer Rage Sport and distributor Weengs to fulfil all the orders – and responding to thousands of messages.
It’s been a full-time, unpaid job. So it’s time to refocus our efforts into other aspects of running a football club.
We have been humbled to hear so many personal stories about the Spanish Republic and the International Brigades. There have been some wonderful links formed through our adopted away colours.
Many thanks to Rage Sport for bringing our fan-designed, fan-chosen kit to life and fulfilling all these orders. They are an ethical company who make all their kits in Italy using responsibly sourced material and make sure all workers in the supply chain are paid properly fairly.
And a huge thank you to the thousands who have bought a shirt, become a member, followed us on social media, or sent us a message.
We hope Clapton CFC can do these colours proud. No pasaran!
I’ve already ordered, will my shirt be delivered?
Of course. All orders that have been placed will be fulfilled.
What’s more, we hope to have every single shirt delivered by April 14th.
Will you ever reopen the online shop for shirts?
We have no plans to at the moment.
However, if we had a group of volunteers prepared to take it on, it’s possible. Email us email@example.com if you want to volunteer.
Are kits available to buy in person?
Yes. You can buy home and away shirts on matchdays only at our temporary home ground, the Stray Dog in Walthamstow, East London. See the fixture list.
If you live outside of London but have a friend or relative here, you could ask them to come to a game and buy one for you.
Perhaps they will be on sale at other special occasions too – watch this space.
How many shirts have Clapton CFC sold?
It’s approaching 12,000 now, around 500 home shirts, and 11,500 away shirts. This is completely nuts given we only expected to sell around 250 in total.
Around 5,500 shirts were sold online to Spain and 4,500 within the UK.
What will you do with the profit generated?
We will use some of the money to help with the running of the club, which is a community benefit society entirely run by its members, all volunteers. Any significant spending must be approved by a members’ vote.
However, funds are also earmarked to help the International Brigade Memorial Trust, who work to keep the memory of those who travelled to Spain to fight alive.
We are in discussions with the IBMT and West Ham Park on how best to help mark the 80th anniversary of the end of the Spanish Civil War.
This would be a memorial to David Marshall and other British and Irish volunteers who fought with the International Brigades in Spain.
Is there any other way of supporting the club?
Of course – become a member! Then it’s your club as much as anyone else’s.
All members have a full and equal say on how the club is run, with volunteer committees overseeing day-to-day business. It costs £5 for concessions and £10 waged for a year.
Also – come to our games. Here’s our fixture list.
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