CLAPTON COMMUNITY FC

We are the Clapton – Clapton Community FC

A truly amazing and heart-warming story is breaking at a tier 12 club in east London.

Somehow we’ve just sold over 2,500 replica shirts and it’s nuts

AUGUST 28, 2018

Clapton CFC have not even kicked a ball in competitive football yet, but we’ve seen an overwhelming demand for our replica shirts, particularly our away strip.

The colourful red, purple and yellow shirt, inspired by the International Brigades and voted for by our members, was formally launched on Saturday at the team’s home friendly against the first FA Cup-winners Wanderers FC, a brilliant occasion in front of 232 fans.

By then members were already overjoyed to have sold over 400 replica shirts, way above our expectations. We are a Step 8 (that is, division 12) club, after all. Before the Bank Holiday weekend was over, however, we had received an amazing 2,600 orders and rising.

To the thousands of you who have bought a shirt, or followed us on social media, or sent us a message, thank you very much.

Our unexpected spot in the limelight has meant lots of frantic planning, working out how on earth we can process so many orders. And we’ve had to rush to register for VAT – we never expected our income to be high enough to need to do so – which has forced a £5 rise in price.

The now-famous shirts did cost £25, but will now be £30 including VAT – still half the cost of many Premier League shirts. They are made in Italy by Rage Sports, a small, ethical manufacturer with material meticulously sourced from companies that pay their workers fairly. Find out more about Rage Sports here.

Most of the demand has come from Spain, due to the design being based upon the colours of the International Brigades, who joined the fight against fascism in Spain during the Civil War of the late 1930s. Over 2,500 men and women from the UK and Ireland travelled to fight, with more than 500 dying for the cause.

“It has been quite the shock for us, as we only expected to sell about 250 shirts in a year,” says kit designer and Clapton CFC member, Thom. “Fans voted from a total of 16 kit designs, but this was by far the most popular. I really wanted to make something that marked the importance of the sacrifice of those who fought against fascism.

“We have always been known as fans who do not accept racism, sexism and homophobia, so it made total sense. We didn’t expect our tiny club to be noticed by Spanish football fans but we’re delighted nonetheless.”

We will use some of the money to help with the running of the club, which is a community benefit society entirely run by volunteers. We also be consulting fully with out members.

However, funds are also earmarked to help the International Brigade Memorial Trust, who work to keep the memory of those who travelled to Spain to fight alive. The IBMT counts actress Maxine Peake and musician Christy Moore among its patrons.

Jim Jump, National Secretary of the International Brigade Memorial Trust, said: “We’re delighted that the shirt highlights the sacrifice made by those who joined the International Brigades, and we are excited that some of the income from the shirts will enable us to work with Clapton CFC on education and memorial initiatives here in the UK.”

Rage Sports are doing their best to cope with the surge in demand, and Clapton CFC members will do our best to send them out as soon as we can. Further details to follow. Shirts are still available to buy at https://www.claptoncfc.co.uk/store/ but please do be patient as we try to process orders.

The club has also gained 20 new members in Spain, swelling our ranks to over 400, just a few months after being founded. All members have a full and equal say on how the club is run, with volunteer committees overseeing day-to-day business. All you have to do to get involved is to join us, for £5 concessions and £10 waged. (Steve’s note …. I am one of the new members!)

Some people are understandably confused, but just to be clear, we are not the Clapton FC which fields a team in the Essex Senior League.

Our club was established by Clapton FC’s life members, who have hundreds of years of supporting the Tons between them, and who can trace their family links to the club as far back as the early 1900s.

We publicly launched in June 2018 after a long, tightly-observed fan boycott of Clapton FC home games, legal disputes over ownership and membership, and that club’s declared owner forcing a charity that he also runs into voluntary liquidation.

This charity, which controlled the lease on the historic Old Spotted Dog Ground in Forest Gate, east London,, is currently under investigation by the Charity Commission and legal action by fans is ongoing in the High Court.

So this will be Clapton CFC’s first season as a club and the team will compete in the Middlesex Counties League Division 1, at our temporary home of The Stray Dog, Wadham Lodge Sports Ground in Walthamstow, east London.

Clapton CFC’s first competitive home game will be a BBC Essex Premier Cup game against Hutton FC at 2pm on September 22.

Part of the This Is Spain Network. Operated by Steve Hall.