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Clapton FC

The Old Spotted Dog is the oldest senior football ground in London, with Clapton calling it their home since 1888, ten years after their formation. A hunting lodge originally stood on the site, often used by Henry VIII. The grade II listed lodge then became the Old Spotted Dog pub which, after falling into disrepair and eventually becoming abandoned, triggered a campaign by the club to resurrect it.

The club is steeped in history, with club legend Walter Tull being widely recognised as the first black professional footballer in the country, as well as the first black British Army officer. They are also recognised by the Football Association as being the first English club to have played on the continent, traveling to Antwerp in 1890 to beat a Belgium XI 8-1.

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Their connection to the continent also extended to the fans, with a section of the support who modeled themselves on the “ultras” popular in Europe and beyond coming to games in droves, bringing banners and flares to games and campaign against far-right politics. Irreconcilable differences between the fans and the board meant that a new club was formed – Clapton CFC. They pride themselves on the motto “football for all” and provide a warm and friendly environment for refugees and other minorities.

 

Champions of Europe

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Ralph Gardner Park, North Shields

North Shields
A force to be reckoned with in their early days, North Shields won the FA Amateur Cup in front of 47,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium in 1969, and were crowned joint European Amateur Cup winners the same year.

Wood you believe it

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Wibbandune Sports Ground, Merton

Colliers Wood United

Founded in 1874, Colliers Wood United are one of the oldest clubs in the country. They moved to their current stadium, Wibbandune, in 1991 due to expansion restrictions at their previous residence. The ground backs directly onto the A3 dual carriageway in Coombe near Kingston Upon Thames.