Clapton Community Football Club saw a year of transition, with the men’s first team finally joining the women’s first team in playing home matches at the Old Spotted Dog Ground. This closed out a season in which they gained promotion to the Eastern Counties Football League Division One South.
The delay had been due to the lack of reasonable facilities required by the FA and men’s league. The women’s league made an exception, allowing for games to take place at the ground and for players to use changing rooms at the Stratford School Academy across the road.
This was finally resolved with the refurbishment of the adjoining changing rooms within the warehouse. The warehouse was purchased in December 2022 with a loan from Impact Alchemy and Cooperative and Community Finance.
For a grassroots club, great attendances were drawn throughout the season for matches. We saw averages of around 280 supporters for the women’s matches, the highest being 500, which was the maximum allowed at that point. By the time the men’s first team were able to move in, that restriction was removed and we drew in a crowd of 902 supporters.
22/23 was another year of high income from the sale of shirts and other merchandise. This was driven by the launch of the new home kit. Merchandise sales exceeded budget by 39%.
The club’s aim for the coming financial year is to cautiously manage our financial position. This means looking for more external sources of income and finding cost savings. In addition, the club must ensure matches can be played consistently at the ground to allow for consistent matchday donations. A lot of hard work is going into the maintenance of the pitch by the Old Spotted Dog Ground Trust. The club was awarded the Non-League Paper Community Club of the Year Award in May 2023. We continue to send a weekly newsletter to all members.