After a whopping eight friendlies, the Clapton CFC men’s team finally kick off the Middlesex Counties Football League Premier season on Saturday, with Indian Gymkhana the visitors to Wadham Lodge.
Last season’s trip to their place ended in a disappointing 5-4 defeat for the Tons. Then the return fixture was a casualty of last winter’s horrific weather.
Gymkhana were set up in 1916 and as such are London’s oldest multi-ethnic sports club.
You can read about their fascinating history here, including some of the discrimination they have faced (and overcome), the many notable firsts they have recorded and exceptional members they have had.
Geoff Ocran’s side will be looking to build on last Saturday’s solid-if-unspectacular goalless friendly draw with NW London.
Preparations and expectations
We spoke to Gymkhana player Pinder Kang about how the team are shaping up for this season:
Who would have thought this year will turn out the way it has! But that’s life and I hope everyone’s well and keeping safe in these testing times.
Last season, league position wise, we weren’t in a good place pre-COVID so it worked out in our favour, even if I think we would have picked up and finished in a better position. As they say, things happen for a reason…
We’re under new management, club legends Bobby Dhaliwal and Guvi Sandhu have taken the roles of joint first team managers/players.
Due to COVID, we only started training in August so we’ve had friendlies in September. It’s been a mixed bag, with a win, a draw and a loss. But it’s been all about match fitness. I feel we’ve shown enough in each game that we’re slowly progressing. But the real test comes this week with the first league game.
Expectations are always high at our club, no matter what the situation. So as per usual, the league is the bread and butter. We know how tough it’s going to be but just need to take it game by game.
Kang is particularly looking forward to getting a runout in Walthamstow, after last season’s call off:
We can’t wait to play at your ground, we missed out last season, with your exceptional fans, we were so looking forward to that.
We love what your community represents and every club can learn a lot from you guys. Hopefully some fans will be allowed to attend but either way, may the best team win on Saturday.
Clapton CFC vs Indian Gymkhana is at the Wadham Lodge Stadium, Walthamstow, on Saturday, September 26th 2020, kick off 3pm.
Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and our efforts to keep the stadium as safe as possible for everyone present, the match will be ticketed with a strict maximum attendance far below our usual average attendance.
If you’re coming, you need to follow the Covid-19 guidelines. You may have seen some non-league clubs not following the rules, but we have been taking them VERY seriously.
Before the day
- Entry is only by advanced ticket from claptoncfc.co.uk/store
- There will be a maximum of 300 tickets available for this one, with a maximum of four per person if you are booking for your household ‘bubble’.
- The details entered when booking tickets will only be used, if necessary, for NHS Track and Trace.
- Members will be given the opportunity to book first, via the newsletter, before we post on social media. Not a member? Sign up or renew now.
- Entry as usual is free, but with donations welcome. If you wish to donate, you can do so when you book the ticket or in a bucket at the entrance (please bring exact money, no change).
- We will have a list of ticket-holders, but please bring your ticket confirmation with you (particularly your order number) on your phone or printed out.
- Please only book tickets if you are definitely attending the game. If circumstances change and you can’t make it, contact us email@example.com for a refund and so we can resell the ticket to someone else.
On the day
- Do not attend if you have Covid-19 symptoms
- Follow all guidance on travelling and social distancing in getting to the Wadham Lodge Stadium
- Mask up on public transport and ideally at the ground too, particularly when passing other spectators and if singing
- Kick off is at 3pm and gates open at 2pm. Remember that entry will take a bit longer so please come earlier than the usual last minute rush.
- Maintain two metre distance in the queue at the stadium entrance.
- We will do no-contact digital thermometer and ticket checks at the entrance, Please sanitise your hands there too.
- When you are inside, please make sure you space out 2m around the ground. We can’t allow people to congregate in groups outside their own social bubble.
- If you’re sitting in the stands, please keep two seats and a row clear from anyone outside of your bubble.
- Please keep the middle of the three terrace steps empty, and stand on the first step or back step only, to allow 2m distancing.
- Please also keep walkways clear so people can walk around the ground easily.
- The Matchday Centre bar won’t be open and they have asked that no alcohol be brought to the game,
- There is no ban on singing, flag waving etc but please be sensible, keep your distance and wear a mask if possible.
- The toilets can be accessed by the side door in the car park – look out for the signs. If you have access issues, you can go up the ramp into the reception instead. You’ll need a mask when indoors.
- Please follow the signs around the ground and instructions from Clapton CFC matchday volunteers on the day. It’s a thankless task and your co-operation will be appreciated.
- The Comms committee will be looking to live stream the game on YouTube for those that can’t make it.
- Wadham Lodge Stadium 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. It will take about 12 minutes.
- There’s also plenty of car parking space available at the ground.