The history of Clapton is very much that of a club which has a history and reputation unparalleled in non league football. Founded in 1887 as Downs FC in Downs Rd Hackney, the club moved to its present site that same year where it remains to this very day.
Clapton in 1894 became founder members of the Southern League (Dr Martins) along with Luton Town, Milwall, Reading, Southampton and Swindon. Arsenal were prime movers but left to join the football league whilst Tottenham Hotspurs application was rejected!! The club was one of the original founder members of the Isthmian League in 1905 which was then and up until the early 70s one of the most important semi professional leagues in the county.
Clapton’s reputation and history is tied to the early days of this league and the prestigious FA Amateur Cup and were twice winners of the league and five times winners of the Cup In 1956 Clapton played in the first floodlit game for an amateur side against Barking at Upton Park in front of 5,000 people. Their best ever FA Cup run was during this time with a 1-1 draw against QPR in 1957 before losing the reply away 1-3 in front of 14,000.
With the introduction of the Premier Division, Clapton had a brief change of fortune and won the Division Two title in 1982-83 as well as the Essex Senior Cup in 1983-84 beating Southend Utd . The Essex Thameside Trophy was won in 1983-84 and retained the following year.. Relegation to the newly formed Division 2 North followed in 1984-85. Still the club rallied to win the Essex Senior Trophy in 1988 and lost in the final of the London Senior Cup the same year 0-1 to then conference side Fisher Athletic.
However a 7th place finish in 1988-1989 saw a mass exodus of players at the end of the season and two seasons later Clapton were in Division 3 (now Div 2) upon reorganisation of the league.
In recent years, restructuring of the Ryman league has led to Clapton being placed in the Essex Senior League.
Today with Chief Executive Vince McBean at the helm, the club is continuing to develop the foundations for the future based on a long term structure. Whilst no longer one of the major players on the non league scene the club’s youth development is legendary with hundreds of its players passing through its doors and going on to Senior clubs.