Clapton CFC-Geoffrey Ocran

Clapton Community were formed in 2018 by former supporters of Clapton FC due to issues with club chairman Vince McBean. The club currently play in the Middlesex premier division at Step 7 of the non league pyramid having one the division 1 title in 2019. The club formerly groundshared with Walthamstow FC but have recently acquired the lease to the former club’s home “The Old Spotted Dog” .

Have you announced any pre-season games yet?

We had pre booked friendlies from August onwards as we believed there was a possibility of covid restrictions being lifted by then. So we are booked up throughout August as it stands and then we await news from the league in regards to September. We may add to that list when we receive more clarity on a league start date.

You were sitting 5th in the league before the season finished, do you think you would have closed the gap if the season had not been ended?

Yes I believe so as historically we do finish strongly and we also had to play most if not all the teams above us. So we would of definitely had a say in where the title went if not winning it ourselves.

Who do you think will be strong in the league this season and who will the title?

It’s difficult to say as unfortunately we don’t have Sky Sports News to keep an eye out on the activity of the other teams however, I would like think Brentham, Hilltop, NWL, Cricklewood and London Samurai would all fancy their chances of the title. So adding Clapton to the mix, I’ll be very surprised if the winner next season isn’t from one of the teams above but you never know. 

Do you think the FA were right to void all leagues below Step 2?

I think across the board yes as a PPG (points per game) result would only work if all the teams had played the same amount of games and in many leagues that wasn’t the case. Of course I empathise with the teams who were well on course to get promotion or win their league but which ever decision was made, the FA were always going to be criticised. They were damned if they do and damned if they don’t really. 

How will non league have changed due to COVID-19?

Attitudes towards general hygiene and personal contact will change as it has done in general society now. So face masks, hand sanitizers etc will be more prominent in games than before. This can’t be a bad thing going forward especially as we want the fans to return as as soon as it’s safe to do so. 

What positions are you looking to bolster this summer?

A bit cliche but we don’t necessarily have a particular area of the team we need to strengthen as our squad is quite strong already and their may be rivals reading this interview too. lol But we will always add 3/4 players each season to freshen it up and keep everyone on their toes. Its imperative to keep the hunger and desire to succeed from the management and the players throughout the club.

What type of football do you like your side to play 

Ideally we do like to play through the thirds from the keeper in possession and out of possession high press to maintain pressure on the opposition in their half. I think what does set us apart from many teams in our league is that we can go a bit more direct if need be, depending on the conditions and the surface. We do like to take risks in possession which is probably why we tend to score in the majority of our games and that won’t change. 

What opposition are you looking forward/ looking to avoid this season?

We don’t fear anyone in our league as we believe if we play to standard we know we can, we will win the vast majority of our games. We do have long standing rivalries with London Samurai, NWL and Hilltop which are always good games to watch for the neutral. The lads are also looking forward to playing Brentham this season after a couple post match comments last season .

What club do you support

I’m a Spurs Fan. 

Best moment in management

Winning the Middlesex Division 1 Title on the last day of the season in front of 1,200+ fans. I doubt many things will top that. 

How has your coaching adapted over time?
I think as a new manager you are always learning and adapting tactically as the game evolves. I’ve always just taken all the positives I’ve learned from previous Non league manager’s I’ve played under and coverts that into my own style. In game management has definitely improved in regards to assessing the opposition’s weaknesses and preying upon them before they can counter act it. 

What manager/coach do you admire the most?

I don’t think there is one manager I admire the most but more elements of the top managers in the game. I admire Pep for his philosophy in if you keep the ball you can’t concede and Klopp how his teams always play at a tempo and intensity the opposition can’t deal with. With Jose it’s more of a ‘never say die’ attitude and nullifying your opponents while focusing on their weaknesses to get the result. 

What is the clubs plan 3-5 years
We will always strive to be competitive on the pitch and climb the pyramid in the process however as a Community Club, our ethos and core values are just as important off the pitch. So our success as a club will be judged on how we have been able to embrace and support the local community through other initiatives not just football. The wheels are already in motion in that sense as we now have our own ground, the Old Spotted Dog as this opens up so many doors and opportunities going forward. 

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