Programme notes V Wealdstone

The Supporters’ Trust is pleased to sponsor today’s match against old rivals Wealdstone who we welcome to Imperial Fields.

It’s our third successive Saturday home game and whilst our crowds have been good at Tooting and Mitcham during a traditionally quiet period, they are currently below what we achieved at Champion Hill. We seem to be enjoying the company of far fewer family groups than we did when we were at our home in East Dulwich.  The previously short walk down Edgar Kail Way has been replaced with an 8 mile drive in busy Saturday afternoon south London traffic, or a trip by public transport.

With this in mind, the Trust will be encouraging local East Dulwich families to make the journey to the next home game by running a family day at the game against Chippenham Town on 29 September. One of the areas where we are seeking to support the club this year is by helping to ensure that our supporters have a good match day experience.  By holding a family day, we hope to ensure that our younger supporters enjoy their visit to Imperial Fields and leave wanting to come back for more.

You may have noticed at the last home game that the Supporters Trust Club Shop has now moved to the far end of the main stand. It was becoming increasingly difficult to transport and carry the vast amount of Ikea bags and boxes of scarfs, T-shirts and caps.  It therefore made sense to relocate the shop closer to where our stock is stored which is also where the Mega-container will eventually be relocated – hopefully more news on that soon.

Last week we introduced two of our four new Board members, Michelle Chapman and Paul Griffin.

The third new Board member is teacher Alex Smith, who grew up in Liverpool and learned from an early age that football is more than a game. “As a city, it was part of our blood, our identity.  Since first seeing Dulwich Hamlet play in 2015 on a visit to London while I was living in Brighton, I was drawn to the club’s inclusive and fighting spirit.”

In reference to the club having to play away from its traditional home of East Dulwich, Alex believes that it “just makes it all the more crucial that the club and the Trust fight to keep the club alive and the community engaged. And that’s what good football clubs are all about: community. From promoting grassroots competition and coaching, to providing a safe space where everyone can feel welcome and valued, to engaging and supporting local businesses, clubs are about more than what happens on the pitch. But the thrill and the promise of what happens on the pitch is so often the magic that breaks down barriers and gets people talking. That’s the beauty of football.”

Our fourth new Board member is Mark McCann.  Although a Nottingham native, Mark has lived in London since 1991 and in south-east London since 2005; first in Peckham, now in Forest Hill. He  stumbled into his first Hamlet game by accident in 2007 after a particularly harrowing shop at Dog Kennel Hill Sainsbury’s and gradually cranked up his attendance so that by the promotion season of 2012-13 he was hooked and a regular.

He’s worked in the public sector for nearly 30 years, first as a Whitehall civil servant and more recently for the public body that distributes National Lottery funding to charities and community groups.

“I’m a great believer in making the very best out of adversity. And this season is testament to how a football club and its supporters can do that. The Trust has terrific people behind it; supporting Gavin and the team, while helping to stick it to Meadow.” Mark added that “everyone’s priority this coming season is to secure the club professionally and financially and get it back into Champion Hill.”

Finally, thank you to all those supporters who donated items to last week’s food bank collection.  In recent years we have seen that more and more people are having to rely on food banks to supplement their weekly groceries, so it was good to see that, yet again, the generosity of supporters of Dulwich Hamlet attending the game and donating to the Wimbledon Food Bank.  I understand that it’s planned to hold another food bank collection later in the season, this time for Southwark Food Bank.

Enjoy the game!

Mark (Scolly) Scoltock