Our most recent Summer newsletter ‘The Hamletter’ included an end of season round up of our community and outreach work from outgoing Trust Board member, Walter Johnson…
It’s the end of another amazing season both on the pitch and off it! The team performed admirably well on four fronts but ultimately ended with no silverware to show for their efforts. We reached the semi-finals of the Alan Turvey Trophy going down 3-1 against Tonbridge Angels. We narrowly missed out on reaching a home final in the London Senior Cup, agonisingly going down 3-2 in extra time against Cray Valley Paper Mills. Who could forget our epic cup run in the FA Trophy which ended at the quarter final stage? After a thrilling match at Champion Hill in which Dulwich came back from 2-0 down to force a replay they eventually bowed out at Macclesfield Town losing 2-0. Our run in the FA Trophy reignited our season with Gavin Rose’s men in superb form coming into the home strait. With games in hand mounting up because of our cup exploits the team showed great belief and strength and managed to propel ourselves into third place and into the play-offs before sadly losing out to our old foe, Bognor Regis Town in the play off final.
Off the pitch we have had an incredible season too. Back in September the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust (DHST) sent a small group of fans to Grande-Synthe in Dunkirk to participate in the inaugural Liberté Cup to represent the Club. The Liberté Cup was a football tournament which brought together refugees from the La Linière refugee camp in Grande-Synthe and football fans from France, Ireland and England. The group that went had an amazing time engaging with the refugees from the camp, along with meeting aid workers from the camp and other football fans. This was an excellent example of the Club enhancing its reputation as a caring community club.
In October the club commemorated 80 years since the Battle of Cable Street and the start of the Spanish Civil War. In a collaboration with the Dulwich Hamlet Football Club Committee, Trade Union members were able to attend our home fixture against Bognor Regis Town at a concessionary rate which resulted in one of our highest attendances of the season. We invited the International Brigades Memorial Trust to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, through bucket collections. The match was sponsored by ASLEF and Hope not Hate and local trade union branches proudly displayed their banners at pitchside.
In late October, DHST arranged an interview with our former player and legend Benjamin Odeje. Benjamin Odeje is recognised as the first black footballer to represent England at any level, having represented England Schoolboys on five occasions. Benjamin represented Dulwich Hamlet, as well as Hendon and Charlton. He now works part time as a teacher and football coach. It was inspirational to hear his stories about what is was like to represent the club at a time when football supporters had much to learn about the way we should treat footballers on the field.
In December we organised our annual Christmas party which was enjoyed by all who attended and again featured excellent musical entertainment from Dulwich fans, And Other Nihilists and Brixton Buzz’s Mike Urban on the decks. We held an auction and raffle with 50% of the proceeds going to the Football Club’s charity partner for 2016/17, Football Beyond Borders.
In the spring we helped to celebrate International Women’s Day by highlighting the contribution that women have made to Dulwich Hamlet FC, our local community and the game as a whole. On the match day itself the First XI wore a special all purple kit, the primary colour of the International Women’s Day organisation (IWD). The kit was specially produced for the occasion and featured IWD’s charity partners Catalyst and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts’ (WAGGGS) logos. Following the match a number of shirts were auctioned raising over £2000 for the charities. In addition to this DHST interviewed a number of women participating in football including actress and activist, Adrienne Alcover, World Player of the Year, Carli Lloyd and our very own First Team physio, Toni Miller.
With the season over the Trust turned its attention to summer community events with Goose Green Fair being the first off in May. It felt like a real curtain call, with fans new, old and prospective all coming over to our stall for a chat. It was great to hear their season in review and also good to sign up some new members. In equal measure it was great meeting new residents to the area and being able to tell them all about our fantastic Club and inviting them to the Champion Hill for the first time with the offer of a free ticket thanks to the Football Club.
To illustrate the fantastic work that DHFC does in and for the community, the Club was awarded the Barry East Community Club of the Year award at the Isthmian League’s annual dinner. This is the second year in a row that the Club has won this award and really does prove that the great work that the Supporters’ Trust, Football Committee and our fans do does not go unnoticed. Well done to everyone who has played a part in this and long may it continue.