The Clapton Ultras – London’s anti-fascist football fans who were highlighted on this website last month – continue to shake up the capital’s non league scene.
The average crowd at Clapton FC’s Old Spotted Dog ground is up nearly 70 percent from last year – and last Saturday’s attendance of 107 was the biggest of the day in the Essex Senior League.
Most of the fans were singing and dancing for almost the whole ninety minutes – inspiring the players to put in the extra effort needed to beat a Barking side who looked better on the day.
The Tons took the lead early thanks to a Beckhamesque chip from distance. Then they tackled, blocked and cleared for all they were worth to keep Barking out. Clapton keeper,Pepe Diagne, made a string of class saves and commanded his area. That’s why the fans call him ‘Senegal’s number one”.
The one-nil win was celebrated like a European Cup triumph with players and crowd singing togther as one. Think The Clash letting fans in through the dressing-room window.
This short video shows the fans and the players celebrating.
The support is translating into results. The team have 27 points already, more than in each of the last three completed seasons.
The songs have a post punk flavour with Spandau Ballet, Human League, and Depeche Mode tunes filling the air.
There’s a song to Anarchy in the UK – though so far I’ve only heard it in the pub. And Rock the Casbah becomes “Barking don’t like it, Clapton Ultras”.
“Briggs will tell you apart again” brings the sound of Joy Division to east London, in praise of James Briggs – a player who combines the build of a Jacomo model with the poise and agility of Beth Tweddle.
This blogger loved the Ultras and in particular our Desmond Dekker inspired ditty – “Woke up in the morning drank a can of Tyskie (polish lager), down at the Old Spotted Dog it’s a whiskey, oh the Claptonites”.
Other songs are anti-Thatcher and ant-Nazi. Make no mistaket The Ultras are a political movement. Essex anti-fascists have started coming into London for the games.
There are women at the forefront of this movement.
The song choices reflect a broad range of influences.
Like the Pussycat Dolls inspired: “Don’t you wish your fan base were drunk like us” and the Village People take off: “Number 5 (or whoever) is a macho, macho man” aimed at opponents who think they are tough.
East London is wonderful because of pie, mash and Clapton. Regular football fans will have heard a sexist version of that song.
This right on soccer rebellion is starting to be noticed. The first Louder Than War blog on the team has been shared 860 times.
There is even a poem about the Clapton Ultras.
And the next game is tonight – December 10 – against high flying Great Wakering Rovers. Kick off is at 7.45pm at The Old Spotted Dog ground, 212 Upton Lane, Forest Gate, London E7 9NP. The nearest station is Forest Gate.
UPDATE 11 December 2013: Inspired by the Ultras Clapton won 1 – 0 last night against Great Wakering Rovers – generally considered the best team in the league.
It was the fifth consecutive home league win – and puts the team in sixth place in the table. Last season they finished 18th.
The crowd was 84, the highest of the evening in the Essex senior league.
Chant of the night: “You’re not really Great, You’re not really Great, is your name ironic, you’re not really Great.”
On Saturday afternoon Clapton visit Takeley – a small village team from near Bishop’s Stortford.
The next home game is Tuesday December 17 at 7.45pm against Greenhouse London, at The Old Spotted Dog ground, 212 Upton Lane, Forest Gate, London E7 9NP.