What CCFC means to me: Clapton CFC fans and members’ stories

Want to tell us your Clapton CFC story? We’d love to hear more from our members around the globe and get to know you all better.

We’ll be featuring members’ stories on this page, the newsletter and programme. If you’d like to be included, send your story  and photos to comms@claptoncfc.co.uk.

Davey Nellist

I’m originally from Newcastle Upon Tyne but have lived in East London for 25 years. I was looking for a team to support and Clapton is where I live but I wouldn’t break the picket line at Clapton FC, or give money to the owner.

I was delighted when I read about CCFC and signed up for my membership straight away. The away shirt was ordered soon after, I’m afraid that being a huge Newcastle Utd fan I wasn’t enamoured with the idea of wearing the red & white stripes of the home strip, especially if I was working on Tyneside.

I love the whole ethos of the football club, the ability to get involved and the special relationship between the players & fans. I’ve been to several games at the Stray Dog and to half a dozen away matches.

I’m currently unlikely to share the joy of attending either of the two cup finals, as I’m an actor and we’re touring with Much Ado About Nothing until June.

My CCFC scarf hangs over my dressing room mirror. I have been taking it everywhere, taking a photo in each city we visit.

I’m very honoured to be part of something as special as CCFC and the team and management have done us proud, especially in our first season. Proud to be Ton.

Marijam Didžgalvytė

It was Emma Goldman that once said ‘If there’s no dancing it’s not my revolution!’. The left may use this quote a lot, but it is rarely apparent in its activism. Until I was introduced to CCFC by friends, I scarcely knew any examples where political organising felt so joyous and as a result, sustainable and only growing in its potential.

I didn’t know the ins and outs of the Premier League when I started my weekly chanting for the Tons. Did I know such terms like Out Swinger, or Goal Mouth? Nope. I still don’t, actually but it does it matter? CCFC may be the one football club where I haven’t felt like it does. Newcomers are welcome whatever their knowledge of the game, as long as they’re happy to support the community and team in whichever way they can.

Once you’ve got the CCFC bug, it’s there to stay. What better way to end a week of work, activism and our endless anxieties than surrounding ourselves with like minded comrades, ready to back our team, win or lose, whilst also actively expressing our antifascist, pro-migrant, LGBTQ+ friendly stances. Our politics don’t have to be preachy, they have to be fun.

I am also feeling incredibly excited and privileged that Callum McCarthy and I will be able to expand the CCFC mission soon by introducing a video games committee that will be able to find new audiences, provide more socials for the team, members and staff and hopefully be able to establish the world’s first antifascist esports team.

Many traditional football teams already have esports wings to them so we’ll follow suit, but in a manner that is coherent with CCFC values.

In my work as a games journalist I have often covered the attempts by the alt-right to infiltrate gaming communities so it is really important for us to offer an alternative to that.
Sometimes city life can be a bit much, but my wonderful CCFC Saturdays have allowed me to see London in a new light.

The opportunity to marry my love for video games, activism and communal celebration all via CCFC has been quite an antidote to my political depression. CCFC chants are stuck in my head all week long and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Well, maybe except for the inevitable Sunday hangovers and the fact that the season has to come to a close (sorry team!).

Nick Cooper

Some of you may recognise Nick (pictured above) and his story. We tweeted about the campaign to save him from deportation back in November last year. Here it is in his own words.

Becoming a member of Clapton CFC has been an amazing experience for me. I was recently deported from Canada for things I did and believed in my past. I had to leave my daughters behind as they still have to finish school.

A large part of my younger life was spent in hate groups but I’ve been out of them for 16 years now. I received so much love and support from CCFC fans after an online campaign was started to recognise how I’ve changed and help keep me and my family together.

People who at one time would have seemed like natural enemies have shown me and my family nothing but kindness, understanding and love.

Coming to my first game I was made to feel at home instantly, I loved the family friendly atmosphere, there’s a real sense of community and love.

Everyone is welcome even someone with my past. The fans have seen me for who I am now and not who I was, something for which I’ll forever be grateful.

The foodbank collections at each game are something very close to my heart too, I did lots of work with the homeless in Chilliwack, Canada and it’s amazing to see the donation boxes fill up at each game.

The atmosphere at CCFC games reminds me of the game I fell in love with as a young kid before all of the money came in and changed the sport.

I’ll always be a member of Clapton Community now, I wear my shirt and scarf with pride and will forever be a Ton. Love to everyone at the club
Nick and family

Dave Clinch

I first heard about Clapton CFC via the club’s now famous away shirt. Commemorating the end of the Spanish Civil War with the ‘No Pasarán’ International Brigades shirt was a brilliant idea. It also made me curious about the way that Clapton Community Football Club was organised.

For me it’s about more than football. When we emigrated from Dublin in 1957 I was six years old. We moved to Tottenham in 1959 or 60. Tottenham is my other team, since then. They could learn much from Clapton CFC.

I taught Physical Education in two Lewisham secondary schools for twenty years. I never saw a separation between sport and daily life.

This led me to find out more about Clapton Community FC and inspired me to join and get my own International Brigades Away Shirt.

The club is about genuine community, actively anti-racist and also for LGBTQ+ and other important areas of life such as supporting the local food bank and also the Stansted Fifteen. I’ve since bought the First Team shirt!

I’m working on making it to one of the home games in April. I’ve fallen on my feet with Clapton CFC on so many levels!

I think the club is such an inspiration, your ethos is very much what I believed in as an educator. “What do they know of football, who only football know” to loosely paraphrase CLR James.

One comment

  1. Dear Clapton Team,

    We are amused about all these histories, this is why it gives us immense pleasure to invite you to our tribute to the International Brigades on Sunday 31st of March.

    We would be very honoured if any members of your club joined us in our tribute to republican and community values by walking with us.

    We also wonder if you would like to bring some of your away shirts to sell.

    Considering the overwhelming support and attention that your team received in the social media from Spain, we think it will be a great opportunity for the Spanish people attending to our event (at the moment more than 110 people have confirmed their participation) and for the Spanish people that will follow this event on social media to know more about your team and the values it represents.

    Hopefully some of them will be join your ommunity club.

    We are looking for your kind reply.

    Podemos Londres,
    Event organization Team.

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