Essex Senior Football League
London Bari 3
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Ground: Clapton's The Old Spotted Dog Ground is the oldest senior football ground in London and can be found 'shoe horned' into the East End back streets ,within a '5-iron' of their more illustrious neighbours West Ham United. They proudly hold the longest unbroken membership of the Isthmian League of a hundred years. According to Club history 'The Tons' have been playing at the wonderfully named ground since 1888 and on last night's evidence is still waiting its inaugural refurbishment programme !
The association between Clapton and The Hammers dates back to the year 1900 , just at the time the Thames Ironworks had re-formed as West Ham United. For more of this fascinating history look here !
|Panoramic View of The Old Spotted Dog|
Today, The Old Spotted Dog still has that whiff of bygone history.Beautifully ramshackle, everything is broken, yet everything works. Clearly evident upon arrival as you realise that you have arrived at some where quite special. For the first time visitor i recommend a day time visit, especially if you bring a camera. Just for the fact the you can include the East End backdrops in your pictures.9/10
Match Enjoyment: Forget about the 'other' big match in England tonight , Namely Man Utd v Real Madrid, there was only one game is was going to be at the "Forest Gate Derby" very deep in the East End of London. Or, in other words Clapton ,(The Landlords) v London Bari, (The Tenants).
The constitution for the Essex Senior League 2012/13 has been announced with Great Wakering Rovers joining after relegation from the Ryman Division One (North) along with a brand new side named "London Bari FC".
Bari FC won the Essex Sunday Corinthian League Premier Division last season and the club were formed in 1995. They ground share at Clapton's Old Spotted Dog ground and have been highly successful in the local Sunday football scene since formation in 1995. As well as the ESCL the club have also fielded teams in the Asian Premier Football League.
Tonight's bill of fare was a nice and spicy one as both teams wanted to prove that they were Lord's of this particular manor.In truth Bari were the better side and pressure paid off for the first goal a well attacked header on the near post from a perfect corner. Soon after it was 2-0, the Bari just went through unchallenged and smacked it in the net from twenty yards. But by then things were getting awkward, and the Bari number 11 went in 'late' .... very 'late' with some studs showing. Naturally this only provoked reactions from the Clapton Camp and from the bench came the unwise words of " ... just smash 'im". The problem was this led to about 5 or 6 Bari fans attacking the Clapton bench. One of them, a very large individual,with a face only a mother can love, wearing his West Ham trench coat, wanted to attack everyone... including me ! from the ten words he muffled at me , five of them began with the letter 'F' and 3 began with a "C". I spent the next few minutes trying to decipher whether his vernacular was Oxford or Cambridge !!
The second half continued as the first had ended. Bari on top with plenty of niggles and handbags. The biggest positive for Clapton was the emergence of a little gem of youngster, G Whitelock (11), in the first half he played a delicious diagonal, cross field ball with the outside of the foot, inch perfect. If Ronaldo had played that, it would be all over the TV for weeks.The other positive for Clapton as the night unfolded was in fact, the final whistle. The locals are clearly passionate about 'their' Club and 'their' team, but more importantly about 'their' history and traditions and about a patch of land they will always call their own. 6/10