With Dulwich locked out of their Champion Hill stadium by owners Meadow Residential, fans, friends, rivals and politicians are coming together to save the club
16 March ~ Fans and friends of Dulwich Hamlet will march this Saturday at a community rally to show their support for the stricken club.
Owners Meadow Residential, having had their plans to redevelop the club's Champion Hill stadium for housing withdrawn by Southwark Council, appear to be attempting to force Dulwich Hamlet out of business. Having recently evicted the 125-year-old club from their home, other punitive measures being imposed include the withholding of bar takings and the imposition of back-dated six-figure rent bills.
In recent days a high metal fence has been erected around the ground, with bar staff laid off and the football club's volunteers denied access to retrieve playing kit, merchandise stock and the club's war memorial plaque that remain inside. Meadow have also made a failed legal push to trademark and prohibit the use of club identifiers such as “Dulwich Hamlet” and “DHFC”.
Saturday's event at Goose Green in East Dulwich is being organised independently of the club and its supporters' trust by the Save Dulwich Hamlet campaign, and marks the beginning of a concerted response by fans to the recent escalation of events.
“We can’t sit back and let Meadow Residential destroy our football club. So we’re going to have a day to tell the world why we love Dulwich Hamlet, and we don’t want to see it go,” said a spokesperson.
Southwark Council this week voted to release funds for the potential acquisition of Champion Hill, with the dual aim of securing the club's future and delivering new council homes on the site. Meadow have already turned down a reported £10 million offer from Rio Ferdinand, who has close links to the club and its manager Gavin Rose, via his affordable housing company Legacy Foundation.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and many high-profile figures in Westminster and beyond have voiced their support for the club in recent days, with Dulwich & West Norwood MP Helen Hayes set to lead a House of Commons debate on their plight today.
Still well placed for home advantage in the Isthmian League Premier Division’s promotion play-offs, a groundshare has been agreed with south London rivals Tooting & Mitcham United for the club's remaining home fixtures. Ffion Thomas