Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Clapton Ultras defy fascists

CLAPTON FC is a small football club in a very diverse area of East London, playing in the Essex Senior League. For three seasons now they have gathered an enthusiastic and dedicated following calling themselves the “Clapton Ultras”.
This dedicated anti-racist, anti-fascist and pro-working class group of fans has resulted in Clapton seeing some of the highest turnouts for matches in their league, drawing in people fed up with the extortionate price and soulless atmosphere of many major-league clubs.
The “Ultras” have also got involved with the local community, supporting the Focus E15 mothers, anti-immigration raids campaigns and collecting donations for local food-banks.
Somewhere along the line this development attracted the attention of the extreme right-wing internet group of wannabe football hooligans “Casuals United”, who, taking great objection to there being a group of overtly anti-racist, anti-fascist football fans, started encouraging their internet followers to go and attack the Clapton Ultras.
Far-right groups and individuals are trying to shut down the anti-fascist Clapton Ultras, following a largely successful campaign at Bristol-based non-league club, Mangotsfield United.
In December 2013, fascists made six complaints to Mangotsfield United FC about the use of pyrotechnics and displaying of political symbols, leading to a ban of both by the club.
The tactics used in the campaign that saw Mangotsfield United FC's “Inter Village Firm” effectively shut down, have failed against the Clapton Ultras, so fascists have started turning up at games.
Fascists had hoped making complaints to the chief executive for Clapton FC, Vincent McBean, would lead to a similar outcome, but McBean has not given in to fascist intimidation.
In a statement posted on the Clapton FC website, McBean said: “We have a strong ethos in the club of not tolerating discrimination or racism of any kind.”
Realising they needed to change their tactics, a number of fascists from across the country travelled to the ground in October this year in an attempt to intimidate supporters.
The group visited Nathan’s Pie & Eels on Barking Road, prior to arriving at the Old Spotted Dog ground on Upton Lane half an hour before kick-off.
They posed for photographs with a flag outside the ground and put up a racist sticker before police made them disperse and leave the area.
Afterwards the fascists re-grouped and headed into central London where they carried out attacks on several individuals attending the Occupy event in Parliament Square.
Co-ordinated by the “Pie & Mash Squad” Facebook page, the fascists present were mainly from the South East Alliance and EDL but also included some ex-members of Casuals United.
In December a car load of South East Alliance activists launched a disastrous attack on Clapton supporters going to an off-licence during half-time at their game against Southend Manor.
The altercation ended with leader of the South East Alliance, Paul Pitt being hospitalised.
There was a further bungled attack on anti-fascists in a car-park during the second half, when a seven-seater taxi pulled up containing a group led by a mixed race member of Huddersfield EDL.
Posts on the “Pie & Mash Squad” Facebook page show the group is trying to put Clapton FC out of business by creating a policing bill the club is unable to pay.
The fascists are now trying to organise further attacks on the Clapton Ultras, who are calling on anti-fascists to turn up to coming matches and give their support.

The next home games are:Tuesday 20th January 19:45 Saturday 24th January 15:00 at The Old Spotted Dog ground on Upton Lane, London E7 9NP.

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