A look back on Clapton CFC in 2023

Reflecting on Clapton Community FC’s journey throughout 2023, the year has been marked by vital achievements and milestones.

Notably, the men’s first team secured their second promotion, up to the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties Football League Division One South, after emerging as champions of the Middlesex County Football League. In their first season at Step 6 level, they are amazingly on the top of the table on Christmas Day. Having played a few more games than most, they are fourth in the points per game table, while the women’s first team sit third in their points per game table in the London & South East Regional Women’s Football League Division One North, so both are well poised for the second half of the season.

The men’s development team secured another promotion to the Hackney & Leyton League Division One and are in the promotion hunt again while the women/nb development team switched leagues and are second in the London Women’s Saturday Football League Division 1 North table. We formed an Open Access 11-a-side team in the LWSFL Division 2 North and they sit second place too and we also launched more youth teams.

The club proudly claimed the title of Community Football Club of the Year at the National Game Awards, complemented by the Grounds Management Association Award for the best volunteer grounds person or team. The fact we had 0 games called off due to bad weather in 2023 out of 48 home matches is a testament to their hard work. Individual accolades were also earned by our coaches, including Ellie Guedalla, Julie Leaff and Ridhwaan Yusuf, at the London FA Awards.

There was the remarkable feat of buying and refurbishing the dressing rooms at the Old Spotted Dog Ground in record time, meaning both first teams could play at London’s oldest football ground. Another monumental achievement was securing a grant from the Premier League LED Floodlight Fund, enabling us to make the crucial switch to LED floodlights – a condition for the men’s first team promotion.

The year saw us break attendance records, with the 1,153 fans at the FC United Manchester double-header friendly being our biggest Old Spotted Dog Ground crowd to date. The 775 against St Pauli Frauen was our second biggest crowd for a women’s team game. The men’s first team played their first game at the OSD in front of 902 spectators.

We’ve also hit a remarkable five million views of our photographers’ photos on Flickr—kudos to our talented photography team. Meanwhile, young Clapton member George Sharp was one of the six winners with his CCFC-related image ‘Collective Joy’ at the Centre for British Photography.

We’ve also raised money and awareness – and provided space at the OSD – for important local causes such as the Magpie Project, Akwaaba, Camden Abu dis Friendship Association, Hackney Laces, and The Outside Project.

Last but not least, our dedication to making a positive impact extends internationally too. Vital donations were raised for Medical Aid for Palestine, the club remained true to its pledge as an apartheid-free zone, and the year saw a significant success in the Puma campaign. We persist in supporting demonstrations calling for a ceasefire.

We look forward to a hopeful and successful 2024 for everyone associated with Clapton Community FC.