Clapton Community FC: another club is possible

Support us and go ad-free

Another football club is possible. Clapton Community FC is run for the many not the few. We spoke with club member Maciej Baron about what makes this club different.


The difference between clubs like ours and traditional clubs is that members, the supporters of the club, own the club. That means that we control the club, we can vote democratically, regarding many decisions about the club.

The community itself is amazing. Everyone is very helpful and friendly. We are an anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-fascist club. Everyone’s welcome to be part of it. 

And you feel like part of a wider community. And that basically you are in control here, not just some rich guy upstairs who makes all the decisions.

Clapton CFC is a club that was set up in 2018 by the fans and supporters of Clapton FC, which is a club that has a long history of having its membership involved in running of the club.

However, a few years ago, when the popularity of the club has increased, the fans of the club felt that the ownership – the owners of the club – are not really respecting the fans too much, that the money they’re making is not being reinvested into the club. And that’s why the fans of the club decided to set up a separate club called Captain CFC.

So this is what we are now.  We’ve been running since 2018. We have around 1,500 members so far, and 150 active volunteers like myself, who helped with running of the club. There’s many different committees involved in the club. So for instance, we have the comms committee, responsible for social media, the programme. We have the grounds Committee, which is responsible for taking care of the ground. We have a match day committee responsible for tickets, letting people in and so forth. 

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

So there are many different things that our members do. And we all own the club, it’s our club, and we feel strongly that it’s basically the continuation of the history of Clapton FC itself

The difference between clubs like ours and traditional clubs is that members – the supporters of the club – own the club. That means that we control the club, we can vote democratically, regarding many decisions about the club. This obviously doesn’t mean that we, for instance, vote on who gets substituted during the match. We of course have a team manager as well, who takes care of the team. But when it comes to like, who’s allowed in, what sort of matches we play, what sort of friendlies we play, what sort of kits we have – this kit was designed by one of the members, and it’s been very popular across Europe and the world – all these decisions are made by the members, the supporters of the club, which obviously is a huge difference compared to traditional mainstream and modern football clubs, where supporters are basically just people who come to the matches, support the team. And unfortunately, what matters to the managers and the owners of the club is sponsors. It’s the money, whereas supporters sometimes if they have some grave concerns, even about the way the club is run, they might get ignored, or they might not be listened to. And I think this is something that was sort of highlighted during the recent controversy of the European Super League, where I think a lot of people felt that fans were not listened to.

I think it was interesting on social media and other media, the idea of a fan or supporter owned club was raised. 

And I think we should promote that idea across people in the UK and Europe, because I think it’s a very good way of running a club, because supporters are listened to. 

Because there’s so many people involved in running the club, sometimes you may think that it might be chaotic, it might be difficult to come to different decisions. However, so far everything’s been run smoothly across our club. The challenges we have sometimes are, for instance, if there’s a huge influx of people, obviously, we need people at the gates to let everyone in, make sure that everyone’s safe. We try to make our games family friendly. We have different people of different ages, everyone from kids, to adults, to grandparents even. So, we try to keep everyone safe and everyone happy. 

I think it’s a very sort of inspiring model of running a club, and it’s a model that makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger. 

The community itself is amazing. Everyone is very helpful and friendly. We are an anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-fascist club. Everyone’s welcome to be part of it. 

So it doesn’t matter who you are, you can be part of this club, you can be part of a similar club, run in the same way. And I think that’s what’s beautiful about it. Everyone’s welcome. Everyone can be involved. And it doesn’t matter what you want to do. If you want to help with, for instance, designing something for the programme, or help clean up the ground, that’s absolutely fine. You can get involved in all of that. But what matters is that the fans own the club, the supporters own the club, and you feel like part of a wider community, and that basically you are in control here, not just some rich guy upstairs who makes all the decisions. And I think that’s great.

If you’re interested in topics like these, independent football, and other similar stories, you should support independent media like The Canary.

Support us and go ad-free

Do your bit for independent journalism

Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.

We need you to help out, if you can.

When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.

You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.

In return you get:

  • Advert free reading experience
  • Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
  • 20% discount from our shop

 

The Canary Fund us