Clapton FC is one of the oldest football clubs in England. It is one of amateur football’s former greats with an impressive honours list, which boasts, amongst many others, two Isthmian League titles, three London Senior Cup wins, and five FA Amateur Cup wins.
The club, which is recognised by the Football Association as being the first from Britain to play on the continent, beating a Belgian XI in 1890, also hosted the first floodlit amateur football match in 1956, and has contributed three England internationals.
Founded by W.R. Davis at a meeting in his father’s house at 11 Queensdown Road, Clapton in August 0f 1877. Downs F.C. started playing on Hackney Downs. It changed its name a year later to Clapton FC, and in 1880 was playing at North Mill Field, Leyton. It shortly afterwards had its first private enclosure at Elm Farm and finally moved to Pilgrims Farm, Walthamstow with an annual rental of 10 pounds a year.
In 1888 the Club moved to its present ground The Old Spotted Dog Ground, which, from at least 1893 until 1902, was the venue for the final of the West Ham Charity Cup.
Clapton FC was one of the founding members of the Southern League in 1894 and in 1905 gained full membership of the Football Association. In the early days, season 1894–95, Clapton competed in the Southern League First Division, of which it was a founder member, alongside teams such as Luton Town, Millwall Athletic (now Millwall), Reading and Swindon Town.
In 1896, due to being unable to compete financially, Clapton resigned its membership from the Southern League. Then in 1905 “The Ton’s” was a founder member of the Isthmian League along with Casuals, Civil Service, Ealing Association, Ilford and London Caledonians. Clapton holds the record for unbroken membership of the Isthmian League, staying from 1905 until 2006–07 when, due to non-league re-organisation it was moved to the Essex Senior League. Its last season in the top division of the Isthmian League was season 1972–73 which resulted in relegation.
Clapton, nicknamed ‘The Tons’ had joined the Isthmian League upon its establishment in 1905. Champions twice in the early years, it spent many years in the lower reaches of the league since WWII. The Club’s last 30 years in the Isthmian League was spent mainly in the lower reaches, but it had a brief renaissance in the 1980s winning the Isthmian League Division 2 Title in 1982–83, the Thameside Trophy in 1982–83 and again in 1983–84, the Essex Senior Cup in 1983–84, Essex Senior Cup Runners Up in 1982–83 and the London Senior Cup Runners Up in 1988–89. In the 2005–06 season the Club played in the Second Division, but lost its place with the 2006 re-structuring of the non-league set-up. Clapton FC currently plays in the Essex Senior League.
1894–95 – Founder member of Southern League.
1901–02 – West Ham Charity Cup runner-up
1904–05 – FA Amateur Cup runner-up
1905–06 – Founder member of Isthmian League. Isthmian League runner-up
1906–07 – FA Amateur Cup Winners
1907–08 – Isthmian League runner-up (on goal average x2)
1908–09 – FA Amateur Cup Winners (2nd time)
1909–10 – Isthmian League runner-up (on goal average)
1910–11 – Isthmian League Champions
1914–15 – FA Amateur Cup Winners (3rd time)
1922–23 – Isthmian League Champions (2nd time)
1923–24 – FA Amateur Cup Winners (4th time)
1924–25 – FA Amateur Cup Winners (5th time); Isthmian League runner-up
1976 – Relegated to Division Two
1977–78 – Division Two renamed Division One
1982 – Relegated to Division Two
1982–83 – Isthmian League Division Two Champions; promoted to Division One
1985 – Relegated to Division Two North
1989 – Essex Senior Trophy Winners
1989 – London Senior Cup Runners Up
1991–92 – Placed in Division Three on re-organisation
2002–03 – Division Three effectively renamed Division Two on re-organisation
Champions (2): 1910–11, 1922–23
Runners up (4): 1905–06, 1907–08, 1909–10, 1924–25
Second Division champions (1): 1982–83
FA Amateur Cup
Winners (5): 1907, 1909, 1915, 1924, 1925
Runners Up (1): 1905
London Senior Cup
Winners (3): 1889, 1909, 1911
Runners Up (6): 1901, 1903, 1910, 1915, 1925, 1989
Essex Senior Cup
Winners (5): 1891, 1925, 1926, 1955, 1984
Runners Up (4): 1915, 1932, 1945, 1983
Middlesex Senior Cup
Winners (1): 1889
Essex Senior Trophy
Winners (1): 1989
Runners Up (2): 1978, 1979
Essex Thames Side Trophy
Winners (2): 1983, 1984
Runners Up (1) 1978
A.F.A Invitational Cup
Winners (2): 1966, 1971
London Charity Cup
Winners (5): 1899, 1900, 1902, 1903, 1924
West Ham Charity Cup
Winners (6): 1890, 1903, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1925
Runners up (1): 1902
London Junior Cup
Winners (3): 1888, 1893, 1908
London County Amateur Cup
Winners (1): 1909
In 1924–1925, three Clapton players were selected for the England national team.
Stan Earle (later played for West Ham United)
Vivian Gibbins (selected twice)
Other international players
Sam Gillam made his final international appearance for Wales on 24 March 1894 while on the books of Clapton.
In the 2008–09 season, Craig Heskey was selected twice for Antigua & Barbuda U-20.