Eton Manor 1-2 Clapton FC
What else you gonna do on a Saturday?
You don’t fuck about round Walthamstow. It’s off at the Blackhorse Road, head down and straight to the ground. Nothing much round here except the dead and decay of north east London. Proper north east London. Bit of a lie, i dip in the Lord Palmerston on the way for a swift half, decent enough, but i wouldn’t want to live here. Reminds me too much of the Manchester of the early ’80s i grew up in, abandoned, hopeless, sorry for itself, lost in its own sense of decay. East 17, no wonder they sold themselves to the devil to get a chart hit – anything to get out of this place. Gone to the dogs, literally.
Through the long flat streets, terrace house after terrace house generations waking up to go off to work and never coming back again. Epping Forest and the North Circular Road, Tottenham overspill, Essex underspill, a personality crisis in search of something more.
Football football football
And then it hits you, Wadham Lodge sports ground and fuck that, a bit of life after all. The noise of half a dozen games going on all at the same time. Just by the clubhouse there’s a row of five-a-side pitches each one has a game in full flow, lads in full kit, then you’ve got the Clapton/Eton Manor match being played over the other side. I’m up in the clubhouse for the first proper drink of the day and it’s filled with players who have just finished their game.
It’s a lovely thought that the grassroots game is dying. It’s good the FA should tell us as much. What’s in it for these lads? They could be watching Tottenham or West Ham or Arsenal (even the mighty O’s) on sky sports, but they’re not. What’s in it for the Clapton faithful standing firm behind the goal, behind the banners, behind their absolute faith in the team, poised to celebrate every strike on goal? What’s in it for the Clapton and Eton players battering the shinpads off each other on a pitch that’s going to have someone’s knee out by the end of the match for sure?
Aye it’s just what you need three weeks into a new year, existential angst. Fuck that, come on you Tons!
I spend the afternoon watching the game from upstairs in the clubhouse. Feels right. Ice cold Carlsberg export on tap, views overlooking the pitch, sky sports on the wall in the background to catch up with the premiership results, sitting on the comfy seats in my own personal director’s box. Life is good. I think about ordering a prawn sandwich from the bar.
So what do you get for your view? Clapton as ever play their hearts out, up for a scrap, work for the points. They look increasingly in charge of their own destiny, taking the game to Eton even if it wasn’t a classy performance. Deserved the win though no doubt about it.
Thinking of using the phrase Claptonesque as an adjective ie the winning goal was struck home in typical Claptonesque style by Gomez. I’m working on it. The goal was pretty fucking good though. Safe pair of feet. A nod to Nyanja’s opening goal as well, always a joy to watch score. So Clapton know what they’re about, know where they’re going. Top 3 is my prediction, easy.
Moocher alert: no show. Again