Since the recent events that have seen Clapton fighting to retain its home of over 140 years, there have been a lot of of statements and comments being made about the club and those involved.

One such has been a recent email to the Essex Senior League, which states that the statement we have on our petition page, asking supporters to help us to stay at the Old Spotted Dog, is incorrect.

We have responded to Bill Hughes directly, but have included the content of the email here so that everyone is aware of the facts.

The points made by Mr Hughes are shown in bold

The petition claims that the closure is due to the inaction of the Charity Commission which is incorrect.

The statement is correct. The Charity Commission’s role is to protect the assets of all charities. The facts are:

In 2007, the Charity Commission de-registered Newham Community Leisure as its income was less than £5,000 per annum.

In 2012-13, after third party correspondence from Andrew Barr and others, the Charity Commission reinstated Newham Community Leisure and immediately started an investigation.

False statements were put onto the internet and third party correspondence sent,  informing the Charity Commission that Vince McBean had a criminal record, with the sole purpose of triggering an investigation with the aim of having him struck off as not being a fit and proper person.  The end result of this was that the Charity Commission had to pay Vince’s costs and write an apology as the allegations were untrue.

In 2014, the Charity Commission took control of the Newham’s accounts and all requests for payments of the charity’s invoices and outgoings, went through the Charity Commission, and still do to this day.

The Charity Commission held a meeting at the Old Spotted Dog Ground in 2015, as part of the investigation they started in 2012-13, and took away accounts of the charity and other documents. In spite of stating they would come back to Newham, on any issues and details of how things could be sorted if needed, nothing more was heard from the Charity Commission until approximately another two years, when further third party correspondence from Andrew Barr and others instigated further ongoing investigations.

The closure is due to the recent incumbent, liquidating the charitable trust, Newham Community Leisure, leaseholder of the ground, at which time the Charity Commission relinquished responsibility, which passed to the liquidator. 

Newham Community Leisure Limited originally applied for a members voluntary liquidation, with the intention of clearing debts and raising monies to invest into the Old Spotted Dog Ground. However, As a result of an injunction made against the liquidator, one of the creditors subsequently applied for compulsory liquidation of Newham. This creditor is not a member or Trustee of Newham.

The Charity Commission continues to hold the bank account for Newham Community Leisure Limited and therefore, has not relinquished responsibility.

The incumbent failed to pay rent due to the freeholder, who closed the ground and removed rubbish which posed a health and safety threat.

This is not true and is exactly the same information put about by Andrew Barr, the Clapton Ultras and others who have their own agenda. The fact is that the Directors/Trustees and members wrote to the Charity Commission requesting that the rent be paid, as they are the ones in control of Newham’s bank account. They have not paid the rent  for whatever reason and have not done so for over two years, even though there was sufficient monies in the account to pay this.

The Trustees/Directors/Members on being advised in November 2018 of the fact that no rent had been paid, made another request to the Charity Commission to pay the rent. They did not. We then started to pay the rent directly to the freeholder.

Regarding health threats, individuals have taken photos of certain areas of the ground where there has been rubbish placed following work carried out, mainly in the off season. These photos have been taken to show a more exaggerated view, even going into non public areas ie. Behind the stands, to achieve this. The sole purpose has been to then portray the ground in very poor light.

Indeed, the ground was the subject of 6 health a Safety notices over the past year due to third party correspondence sent to the council and this has been going on for over 5 years. However, the previous 15 years went by without any visits – even when the Old Spotted Dog was condemned by the League just at the time the previous owners sold the club.

Trusting you will remove the misleading petition and advise E.S.L. clubs accordingly.

This petition is correct in its construction and facts. It is the misleading statements being put about (similar to the statements you are making yourself) that need to be challenged.

However, as the same group that have spent many years discrediting the club and its management have now contacted 38 degrees, claiming it is misleading, we have amended it as follows:

As a result of a lack of response by the Charity Commission for two years to pay the rent due, this has resulted in Heineken, as the freeholders, taking possession of the Old Spotted Dog.

The Charity Commission currently holds the bank account of Newham Community Leisure Limited, the charity who held the lease for the ground and is currently under investigation by the Charity Commission as a result of third party correspondence from the same group of individuals who have also put an injunction on the charity preventing a members voluntary liquidation, which would have paid off debts and provided further monies to develop the Old Spotted Dog. This group claimed that the ground would be sold, which was not the case as it is neither owned by Newham Community Leisure Limited or Clapton Football Club.

The issue of liquidation is awaiting judgement in the High Court.

Judgement has been made and Newham Community Leisure has had a winding up order made against it by the judge. The applicant was not any of the incumbents.

All actions taken by Newham was not to liquidate the ground but to repay those owed money and use the surplus to improve the ground. All statements and actions taken by third parties, claiming the Old Spotted Dog was going to be sold have been done so to further other people’s own agenda.

Clearly, if people stop to think about it, Newham Community Leisure Limited does not own the ground and Clapton Football Club does not own the ground, so how could it be sold?

If you are a supporter and would like to help Clapton Football Club stay at the Old Spotted Dog, please sign the petition:

    Keep Clapton Football Club at the Old Spotted Dog

    Yes I support the petition to keep Clapton Football Club at the Old Spotted Dog Ground.