FC Soma play in the Middlesex County League which is one of my favourite competitions. The cosmopolitan and culturally diverse backgrounds of the teams and the players involved are a fantastic reflection of the catchment area and make this a great league to watch matches in. FC Soma are a relatively young club having been founded as recently as 2017 in the London Borough of Camden.
They cater for youth and adult players with an interesting five year plan to become a semi-professional outfit. Their opponents today – Clapton Community – were formed a year later by former supporters and members of Clapton FC.
This was a top of the table clash with Clapton Community leading the table and second placed FC Soma a point behind. With a decent crowd expected, FC Soma announced in advance that they would be producing their first ever matchday programme and that really captured my interest. An extra incentive for a groundhopper/programme collector like me to attend the game!
So after watching a morning fixture just down the road at Old Harrovian AFC of the Arthurian League, I headed to FC Soma for a 3pm start.
Where was it played?
I have driven past the Bannister Outdoor Sports Centre several times and often wondered if I would ever go to a football match there. It is prominently positioned on the main Uxbridge Road and is named after the world famous British athlete Sir Roger Bannister, who ran the first sub-four-minute mile of course. On arrival for this Middlesex League fixture, entrance was through the sports centre reception. I then walked past an eight lane, 400 metre athletics track which doesn’t seem to have enough room for a football pitch to be marked out in the middle. Just beyond is a new 3G artificial playing surface which was opened in May 2021. This is the home venue of FC Soma with floodlights and provision for spectators to watch from one side. It was funded by Harrow Council as well as a grant of £380,000 from the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund via the Football Foundation.
What’s in the programme?
Eight colour pages and good value at £1. The contents included histories of both teams, the Middlesex County League table, the line-ups, plus fixtures and results.
And the match itself?
FC Soma laid on plenty of food and refreshments for the crowd including delicious slices of tiramisu cake. The football action was very competitive. Clapton Community opened the scoring through Arthur Wright on 18 minutes, but FC Soma battled back to win 2-1 courtesy of strikes by Emmanuel Yeboah (36 mins) and Mohammed Hassan (54 mins). The Clapton Community ‘Ultras’ added to the occasion with an array of melodious songs.
Facts and figures
Score: FC Soma 2 Clapton Community 1
Where: Bannister Outdoor Sports Centre, Uxbridge Road, Harrow, Middlesex HA3 6SW
Competition: Cherry Red Books Middlesex County League Premier Division
You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo