Welcome to today’s final home league game of the season against Woking. Today’s visitors are looking for an immediate return to the National Conference. With Torquay sealing top spot last week however, promotion will need to come via the play-offs.
With the 3-1 victory over Hungerford Town at Champion Hill, on 13th April, Gavin and his squad have all but mathematically secured our second season in the National League South. At the time of writing, a number a fixtures were due to take place mid-week and so you may be reading this pre-game with our league status already guaranteed!
Recent form would suggest that the team have started to find their feet in this league – in particular at home with the last defeat coming against Chelmsford City at the end of January. Despite our away form, supporters have continued to travel in numbers (many by supporter coaches organised by the Trust) and I am sure that this is one area that Gavin and Junior will be working on improving next season.
It has been another eventful season, starting with our first ‘home’ fixture taking place at Tooting and Mitcham’s Imperial Fields ground. It has been a long road back to East Dulwich, but Boxing Day saw The Hamlet once again running out at Champion Hill against a back drop of 3,000 fans
There have been so many people who have given up their time this season to assist the football club to not only get back to East Dulwich, but assisting with match day operations at both Imperial Fields and Champion Hill. Who can forget when over 80 fans turned up at Champion Hill to assist with the Trust initiative of cleaning up the ground before a ball was even kicked!
With attendances regularly hitting around the 3,000 mark since our recent return, it is no surprise that merchandise sales from both the Trust’s match day shop (the Mega-container) and online store have surpassed all previous sales since being back home.
Please note that the shop will only be open before the game and at half-time today.
Another important way in which DHST raises funds is through our 100 Club lottery. The 100 Club was founded in 2004, and pays out 40% of monthly contributions in prize money (25% first prize and 15% second prize). The remainder goes into a ring-fenced account to be used by the Trust to fund meaningful investment into DHFC.
This season, in addition to other financial and non-financial support, the Trust made two significant lump sum investments into DHFC from its non-100 Club reserves (which have since been converted into shares in the football club). We are currently consulting 100 Club contributors on the future use of the ring-fenced fund to increase the Trust’s shareholding in DHFC.
As a Community Benefit Society, the Trust’s shares in the football club are held on behalf of our 700 Trust members, all of whom can vote and stand in the annual election to the Trust board (more on this later).
Looking to the future, the Trust hopes to expand the 100 Club, increasing prizes for contributors as well as supporting the Trust’s aims. I would ask all supporters to consider signing up – which you can do so for as little as £1 per month. Just pick up a joining form from the Mega-Container, or visit www.dhst.org.uk/100club.
Finally, as another season is coming to an end, it’s time to start thinking about the Trust Board annual elections. Before standing for election three years ago, I was told that being on the DHST Board would be a great way to volunteer time to help the Club, meet new people, and learn new skills.
Whilst this has been certainly been true and as my current term on the Board comes to an end, I could never have imagined what a roller coaster of a ride the past three years would have been for Dulwich Hamlet. I would certainly recommend getting involved and the Trust welcomes nominations from anyone who is over the age of 18 and is a paid up Member of DHST.
More information, on elections, will be published in May via our website and social media. In the meantime, if you are thinking about putting yourself forward, please do come and have a chat to me and any other member of the current Board.
Enjoy the game and have a great summer!
Mark (Scolly) Scoltock