Welcome to the second game back at Champion Hill during this festive period. Today we welcome Slough Town who we visited on August Bank holiday, with the Hamlet running out 2 -1 winners on that occasion.
Today’s game sees the last Dulwich Hamlet fixture of 2018 – the football club’s 125 anniversary year – of which the big moment of the year was the club’s tour to Hamburg which took place last July. I think it was John Lennon who said “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans”, certainly nobody could have predicted what 2018 brought along.
The issues the club faced in the past 12 months have been written about on numerous occasions, now with the security of a minimum 18 month lease to return home, it’s time for us all to focus on the future of Dulwich Hamlet rather than recent past events.
This year also provided us all with many highs. Who could ever forget that moment when we finally secured promotion in the play-off final at our temporary home of Imperial Fields. From the moment Dipo stepped up and put the deciding penalty kick into the back of the net, the weight on everyone associcated with this great football club lifted (be it temporarily) and celebrations carried on through the night on that now famous roundabout in East Dulwich.
For the 2018/19 Season the club would now be finding itself playing in the National League South, a level it has never been in before. But before this season started, a part of South London would be making its way over to Hamburg by train, plane and bike, to play our good friends Altona 93 in the much anticpated pre-season friendly. The occasion, like the play-off final win, will remain in the memory of all those Hamlet fans who made the trip and today we welcome a number of our fellow supporters from Altona 93 who have made the journey over for the holiday period.
Starting the season at Imperial Fields was not ideal. Despite being local, the 8 miles distance between there and Champion Hill was a journey too far for many (for many reasons). Our crowds were significantly less than the club would have wished for and that brought with it further financial troubles. The return home could not have been more timely.
The process of returning to Champion Hill has been a long one. One particularly poignant moment of the campaign was the day that supporters and the local community came together at the SaveDHFC rally held on Goose Green in March. I, like many attending that day knew, in that instant, the importance of this commnuity football club to the area and vowed to do as much as I could to help get the club back to where it belongs. Being on the Supporters’ Trust Board, I have witnessed first-hand the hours put in by just this group of people, add to this the work of the Football Club, 12th Man Scheme and the staggering amount of people who voluteered their time through-out the year. Collectively we fought one hell of a campaign.
As mentioned above, the Football Club has now signed a lease with Meadow Partners to play at Champion Hill for the next 18 months. This is concurrent with a lease that the Football Club have also signed with Southwark Council for Green Dale. The Supporters’ Trust are aware that Meadow Partners are planning to submit another planning application for the Champion Hill site in the new year, this has also been written about recently in the local press. Whilst steps have already been taken to provide short term security to the club, we will be working closely with all concerned parties to ensure that its long term future at Champion Hill is also secured.
Enjoy the game and Happy New Year to you all.