Trust Programme Notes – Oxford City

Welcome back to Imperial Fields for our game against Oxford City who come into this game after a three all draw away to Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup last Saturday

Last week we published, on the Supporters’ Trust website, an article from our Joint Chairs, Alex Atack and Duncan Chapman, regarding the club’s return to Champion Hill:

“As we’re sure you are aware by now, the Club is looking forward to our return to Champion Hill next month. At the last match, 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 Liam has since stepped down, and been replaced by Ben Clasper (CEO of our shirt sponsors Rogo Scott).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.”   They continued  “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.”

As mentioned above, the Trust recently put out a call for volunteers to help clean up the stadium for our hoped for return in December. This took place at Champion Hill last Saturday as our away game against Truro City was moved to the Sunday. Over 80 fellow supporters and members of the local community got stuck into tasks like sweeping, scraping and weeding – inside and outside the stadium. I was not able to be present, as I had chosen that weekend to travel over to Hamburg to catch up with friends and obviously take in an Altona 93 game, but it was amazing to see pictures of everyone at Champion Hill on social media. Thanks to everyone who was available to assist on the day – you all fully deserved the fantastic food  provided by local East Dulwich businesses Meat Liquor and Franco Manca.

Finally, we previously published that the annual club Christmas party organised by the Supporters’ Trust will be taking place on Thursday 20 December at the East Dulwich Tavern. This has now changed. With the club moving back to Champion Hill we have decided to host the event at clubhouse bar  in the stadium.  The East Dulwich Tavern has been so supportive  of the club since we left East Dulwich in March, but they completely understand why we have decided to move the event. The date of the party will be published once we have confirmed arrangements  with the football club.

Enjoy the game!

Mark (Scolly) Scoltock