What happened at the public meeting on the future of the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Dozens of people met on Tuesday night to discuss how to make the Old Spotted Dog Ground the hub of the Newham community.

The dilapidated ground, next door to the derelict pub of the same name on Upton Lane, Forest Gate, was recently repossessed by its owner, Star Pubs & Bars, after the previous leaseholder failed to pay the rent. 

Star Pubs & Bars has offered a new lease to Clapton Community Football Club, our not-for-profit members-owned and -run club, after a thorough assessment of all bids.

While those negotiations are still going ahead, a first public meeting was held at nearby Durning Hall to gather suggestions of what community uses the ground could accommodate.

State of the Old Spotted Dog

Our surveyor, who made a site visit on October 3rd, introduced his report to the meeting.

He described the state of the ground as “appalling” and full of health and safety risks.

He failed the ground on nearly all points for the FA ground’s grading G, for Step 6 football, one level above our position, but below the level it has recently been used.

Many major problems with the OSD were highlighted – from roof leaks dripping on to electrical junction boxes to tons of rubble and dumped waste materials.

Members will receive a copy of this surveyor’s report in the latest newsletter.

Separately, members of Clapton CFC’s Old Spotted Dog committee were recently allowed access to the site.

A photo gallery of its current state can be viewed on Flickr…


It is clear that major works will be needed to bring the ground up to an acceptable standard to allow matches to take place. 

A target of getting the ground ready for football use by August 2020 was mooted at the meeting.

Community ideas

Our aim is not only to build a home for our men’s, women’s and children’s football teams, but create an open, welcoming community space available for a range of activities for local people.

Several people raised the importance of youth teams, and the importance of involving young people in organised sessions of training (in everything from martial arts to football.

Others were keen to stress the need for community space in the club house, for meetings, office space, weddings, community kitchen and, again, youth facilities.

Attendees also asked about the access alley, the areas containing the mobile phone mast, the garage/warehouse and whether there’s room for a community garden.

There was a short discussion on what sort of pitch should be available at the ground – grass, artificial or hybrid – but that’s a debate for later.

All in all, a great meeting and a good start for the future of London’s oldest senior football ground.

Listen again

You can listen to an audio recording of the meeting here…

Get involved!

Mailing list

At the end of the meeting, many attendees signed up for a mailing list which will keep them up to date with progress on our takeover of the OSD.

If you’d like to join the list, then email OSD@claptoncfc.co.uk

Get in touch

Do you belong to a sports or community organisation in the Newham area who might wish to use the Old Spotted Dog’s pitch or bar area?

This could be groups who have previously used the facilities or who’ve never even been inside it. Or are you a local resident with suggestions of what can be done with the space or who we should reach out to?

Or perhaps you would be interested in joining the committee of the new Old Spotted Dog Trust, our subsidiary which will operate the facility?

Please email OSD@claptoncfc.co.uk and get in touch.


  1. Last nights very well attended meeting to discuss the Old Spotted Dog ground showed that moving back to Forest Gate will be a game changer for the club. I was very impressed with the contributions from local activists and their proposals for how the ground and its buildings could be used by the surrounding community. Looking forward to helping with the new venture.

  2. This is a great chance to ring fence this place for future community action. Get cracking bring in youth and community ideas. You may just have a chance to get some Euro dosh. Check out youR funding streams. This is something for everyone seek funds from all those with an interest and make up the social capital argument. Go for it.

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