Joint Chairs speak ahead of tonight’s game

As we’re sure you are aware by now, the Club is looking forward to our return to Champion Hill next month.  Last week we put out a request for volunteers to support our ‘making ready’ the ground initiative next Saturday. To say the response has been overwhelming would be an understatement and we can’t thank you all enough for your commitment to the Club. We are still particularly keen to hear from people with specific trade skills – plumbers, electricians and painters. Please do get in touch if you think you can help (info@dhst.org.uk)

Whilst we are obviously delighted that the Club is able to return to Champion Hill, we must acknowledge the months of hard work behind the scenes by so many people.

First, Liam Hickey and Tom Cullen, who stepped up to become the Club’s Directors when we had to leave Champion Hill. Familiar faces to all who attend the matches, Liam and Tom took on the almighty challenge of running the Club when Meadow handed over control. They worked tirelessly to find us our temporary home whilst bringing investment into the Club which allowed us to continue to compete despite reduced matchday revenues. Liam has since stepped down, and been replaced by Ben Clasper (CEO of our shirt sponsors Rogo Scott).

Recently, Ben has been at the forefront of driving negotiations around our return to Champion Hill. The amount of work that has gone into the conversations between Southwark Council and Meadow Partners, alongside the Trust, cannot be underestimated and without Ben representing the Club at the meeting on 22nd October, we are confident that we wouldn’t be returning to Champion Hill on such favourable terms.

On the topic of the meeting on 22nd October, we must acknowledge the instrumental role of Tracey Crouch MP (the former Sports Minister). Everyone connected with the Club was delighted by her statement in the House of Commons in March, offering support and the opportunity for mediation over the dispute. Ideally it wouldn’t have come to it, but to see Tracey follow through on her words and call a mediation meeting, which ultimately led to our return, was fantastic and couldn’t have come at a better time given her resignation last week.

A little closer to home, both Helen Hayes MP and Harriet Harman MP have been immensely supportive of the Club’s return to East Dulwich. Lord Roy Kennedy also spoke up for us in the chamber of the House of Lords and drummed up support in the corridors of Westminster armed only with a smile and a Hamlet scarf!  We look forward to welcoming them all back to Champion Hill when we return.

Finally, so many supporters have been instrumental in driving our campaign. Some, through organised campaigns such as SaveDHFC, have ensured our plight is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. The 12th Man scheme has contributed hugely to the playing budget and allowed the Club to not just survive but also to gain promotion to and compete in the National League South.

Please continue to support these initiatives and support the 12th Man at the East Dulwich Tavern quiz on Thursday (£2 per person, doors at 7pm for an 8pm start). And last but not least… every single fan that has attended our matches at Imperial Fields, particularly those who have volunteered their time to fill any of the matchday roles, and everyone that has kept the faith and supported the Club throughout this time.

In the meantime, let’s focus on what’s happening on the pitch – both in our final two home games at Imperial Fields and our away fixture against Truro City at Torquay!

If you want to book a seat on the coach to Torquay, leaving at 8 am, please visit the Mega-container today (Adult £30, Adult concession £25, Accompanied teen £20 and Child £15) or email info@dhst.org.uk.  Hopefully see you all there!

Alex Atack and Duncan Chapman