Thursday, 14 July 2016

A Dulwich Hamlet photo essay (part two)

Welcome to part two (read part one here) of a collection of photos that I hope will give existing Dulwich Hamlet fans a welcome journey down memory lane, and potential new fans a glimpse into the absolute madness of the past few years celebrating England’s finest non-league football team. Scrap that, England’s finest football team.

In my three seasons of supporting the Hamlet, the experience has changed exponentially. My first experiences of Saturdays at Champion Hill were spent with 400-500 fellow onlookers (already a 25% attendance increase – I don’t pretend that I was part of the very first wave of newcomers). There was ample room all around the pitch for OTT supporter celebrations, for games of keep-ups with stray match balls, for the setting up of outdoor paddling pools in the summer months. You could hear every word of Rob, Michael and G-Man’s hilarious, bizarre, blue, insults directed (playfully) towards opposition goalkeepers. You could swap ends at half-time without queuing in an orderly fashion for 5 minutes before you made any headway. You could sit down if you wanted, hell you could lie down. With a fat suit on. Wrapped in thick cheese.


I was hooked. And the more months that passed, the bigger the crowds grew. The bigger the crowds grew, the more we couldn’t believe what we were seeing. 1,000… 1,500… 2,000… 2,500. They came, and they came, and they came. And the less I wanted to come. The matchday experience at Champion Hill changed. Where once I sat down and laughed at Rob comparing the opposition keeper’s kit to an ironing board cover, I now stood packed in like a sardine surrounded by day-tripping Chelsea and Arsenal fans necking cans of Stella and laughing at Nyren’s slightly overhit cross.


In the final weeks of the 2015-16 season, with the Hamlet team going through a tough period on the pitch, the Rabble sang and sang and sang. It banged advertising boards, it hit (sometimes rhythmically) corrugated iron, it hoisted aloft flags of 30ft x 20ft, it gave its all. I gave my all (Brentwood away, anyone?)


Before I knew it, the Hamlet had made the playoff final. As quickly as it had come around, it had slipped away. 3-0 down after 30 minutes was too big a mountain to climb and East Thurrock grabbed the final promotion place into the Conference South.


I write this opening passage as an insight into why I am writing any of this at all. The end to last season, and the change in the “Dulwich Hamlet Experience”, made me question my commitment to this incredible club. That then made me question what DHFC actually means to the newer supporters – is it something you can walk away from? This would certainly give validity to many critics’ views of us. But you know what, it isn’t. Despite how much it has changed, despite the heartbreak of last season, Dulwich Hamlet is my club. I can’t walk away.


I hope you enjoy viewing these photos, and reading my (often useless) anecdotes. Collating them further confirmed to me that I’ll see all you beautiful bastards behind the goal on the first day of the 2016-17 season.


A huge big up to the photographers whose work over the past few seasons has done so much to help grow crowds and promote the club online. Namely: Mike Urban (Brixton Buzz); Joel Virgo (Joel Virgo Photography); Duncan Palmer (Duncan Palmer Photography); Laraine Bateman and David Bauckham. I have absolutely no doubt that without your hard work and amazing talents, the club wouldn't be where it is today.





As if I wasn’t going to include Erhun Oztumer… Saturday 12th October 2013… It’s the third qualifying round of the FA Cup and Hemel Hempstead goalkeeper Laurie Walker is being Oztumered. After collecting a return pass from Ian Daly of dialectic destroying cobra moprh fame, Erhun assessed the situation and opted for the most luxurious of options – the chip. With poor Laurie caught in no-man’s land like an otter cub adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, Erhun clipped the ball over him and it took a single bounce before resting in the home team’s net. Almost as good as the goal is Nyren Clunis’ reaction in the foreground… total disbelief. See the goal and Ny’s reaction for yourself here. DHFC would eventually lose the tie 3-1 but Erhun had once again shown his outrageous talent (this time in front of the BT Sport cameras).

Photo credit: Joel Virgo



Here the Turkish wizard flies through the air in celebration after drilling home the opening goal away to Hampton and Richmond Borough on Easter Monday, 21st April 2014. With the Hamlet needing all three points to stay in the race for a playoff spot, it was no surprise when, during a tight and tense game, Erhun came up with the goods moments before the break. He had been missed terribly during the weeks before the game as a bad injury kept him on the sidelines. Still not match fit, he made the difference once again as Dulwich left The Beveree with the win. After scoring over 60 goals in two seasons from midfield (including this belter against East Thurrock United), Erhun would leave the club at the end of the season to join Peterborough United.


Photo credit: Joel Virgo

Just for the hell of it, here’s Erhun’s best bits for Peterborough United. He recently left Posh to join fellow ex-DHFC player Simeon Jackson at Walsall.


5pm, Saturday 18th April 2015, Champion Hill, East Dulwich. Having played out numerous memorable matches over the previous few years, somewhat of a friendship began to form between the supporters of Maidstone United and Dulwich Hamlet. Throughout the 2014-15 season, Maidstone had set the pace at the top of the Premier Division and came to third-placed Hamlet needing just a point to secure the title. Regularly attracting over 3,000 fans to their home games, Maidstone brought the biggest away following I’ve seen at Champion Hill – the Hamlet’s home attendance record (for the current stadium) was smashed. 3,000 was the official figure given but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more….

With a gloriously sunny spring day as the backdrop, the two teams played out a relatively nondescript 0-0 draw – giving the visiting side the point they needed. It was to be what followed the final whistle that has stayed in my mind, and the minds of many other DHFC supporters. With hundreds of Maidstone fans sprinting onto the pitch to celebrate with their team, a small number of Dulwich fans decided to vault the pitchside railing and join in. Within a minute, there were hundreds of us on the pitch hugging Maidstone fans and toasting their league triumph.

As cries of “You won the league, at Champion Hill, you won the league at Champion Hill…” rang out across the turf, one Dulwich Hamlet-supporting gentleman came in with a drum solo. Pictured here, Michael Shaw resembles a character taken straight from Jim Henson’s The Muppets. If he appeared in an episode of the show, I genuinely would not bat an eyelid. Michael is a divisive character, prone to blunt insults and misinformed accusations. I could not stand the man for a good season and a half. Now, as we approach the 2016-17 season, I consider him a friend, a gentleman and an absolute liability on away days. I’d hope he’d say the same of me. Part of the original group of ‘nouveaux’ fans who descended on the Hamlet, his presence is crucial to the Rabble. Admit it, it wouldn’t be the same without him.

Check out Brixton Buzz’s photo match report of the game.

Photo credit: Mike Urban / Brixton Buzz


Saturday 11th July 2015. Following a chance meeting between Dulwich Hamlet fan Mishi Morath and Altona 93 fan Jan Stover a few years previous, a friendly between the two clubs is about to get underway. After Mishi bumped into Jan at Altona’s Adolf-Jäger-Kampfbahn while on a German ground-hopping trip, it transpired that the two clubs had played each other way back in 1925 during the Hamlet’s Easter tour of Europe.

From this point on a friendship was formed and Jan would regularly make the trip over to South London, with Mishi heading out to Hamburg at least once a year. More and more fans from both clubs would get involved until in 2015, someone (sorry, I forget who – I think it could be Mishi) proposed a pre-season friendly between the two. Manager Gavin Rose accepted the proposal and this photo is from that incredible day.

The game attracted huge attention, with both Mishi and myself being interviewed by Eli of Copa 90 during their coverage of the game. I’ve also been lucky enough to head over to Hamburg four times in the past three years and have made a number of close friends. A true football friendship.

For more on this, check out this article on the Hamlet’s website. We also spoke to Jan during a visit to Hamburg later in 2015, listen here or search for 'Forward The Hamlet' in iTunes or any other podcast platform.

Photo credit: Joel Virgo


Saturday 10th October 2015, Cherrywood Road, Farnborough. Dulwich Hamlet skipper Danny Waldren has just thumped a 28th-minute header past Farnborough’s Joe Tupper to give DHFC a 2-0 lead over the Hampshire club. Signed from Bromley in the summer after leading them to the Conference South title, Danny formed a formidable early season centre-midfield partnership with Ashley Carew and The Hamlet would go on to win 4-1 here, both players on the scoresheet.

The passion of Danny in this shot is indicative of his attitude, both on and off the pitch. We interviewed him for the podcast just after his arrival at the club and a quote of his sticks in my mind: “If we’re 1-0 down away from home and it’s going against us, I will lead this team. If we’re struggling and we need to dig in, I will lead this team.” There were several occasions when Danny put his money where his mouth was but unfortunately he never got the chance to fully shine in the pink and blue. Subsequently, in June 2016 he joined Welling United just a year after arriving at Champion Hill.

Photo credit: Duncan Palmer

Saturday 21st November 2015, Nyewood Lane, Bognor Regis. Dulwich Hamlet, top of the league, made the trip down to second-placed Bognor without having won on the south coast in their previous TWELVE attempts. All of this was to change on this famous winter’s evening. With recent signing Ryan Moss supported by Nyren Clunis, Rhys Murrell-Willamson and Dan Sweeney, the Hamlet’s attacking flair was too much for bogey-team-Bognor.

After going a goal down 32 minutes in, Dulwich equalised through Nyren six minutes later – the winger getting on the end of a whipped cross from RM-W. Four minutes after the break and Moss had poked home DHFC’s second, the keeper just failing to keep the whole ball from crossing the line. This snap was taken in the 67th minute as Nyren returned the favour to RM-W, tearing down the right and cutting the ball back across the six-yard box where Rhys was waiting to sweep home Dulwich’s third goal at the back post.

I can never get enough of this photo. Rhys in the background, wheeling away in celebration in front of the jubilant Rabble. Nyren in the foreground, arms outstretched as he heads off to join in. The Bognor player and goalkeeper, distraught in the goalmouth. The pink and blue flag billowing in the harsh November wind. There’s a fleet of foot about the shot that captures perfectly the performance of both Nyren and Rhys in the first few months of the 2015-16 season. They tore teams to shreds. A Bognor fan claimed that we were the best attacking side he’d seen at Nyewood Lane in years. I think we probably were. A fine photo and an amazing away trip.

Photo credit: Duncan Palmer


Thursday 28th April 2016, Nyewood Lane, Bognor Regis. The Isthmian League Premier Division Playoff Semi-Final. Six months after breaking the Bognor hoodoo, the Hamlet are once again celebrating a famous win on the south coast. A 93rd-minute Ashley Carew free-kick sent the travelling Rabble absolutely fucking bonkers and kick-started a party that lasted long after the final whistle that blew moments after the ball nestled in the net.

This photo is of former Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust board member Jack Bagnall and myself. Perhaps slightly self-indulgent, rest assured I would’ve included this shot if it had been two total strangers. As mentioned in the introduction to this piece, the Rabble put their all into the final weeks of the season. At every game there was an increased sense of siege mentality… it became tribal. Twice during this period we sang without (literally) a second’s pause for the entire second half (Brentwood and Wingate and Finchley*) – this photo captures the moment it all became worth it.

*Ben Caldecourt – “HO HEY… HEY HO!”

Photo credit: Mike Urban, Brixton Buzz

I think that’s pretty much it… I could have included at least another 15 photos from the past few years but I work 9-5 and it’s sunny outside so this is all you’re getting… for now. As I said, I hope these photos have given DHFC fans an enjoyable trip down (recent) memory lane, and might tempt potential new fans to come down and watch a game. Just don’t turn up with a crate of beer and take the piss out of our players, yeah?

See you all behind the goal in Sudbury on Saturday 13th August!

Ben
FTH
x


Ps - Hugo Greenhalgh, the other half of Forward The Hamlet over the past few years, is to leave the country to explore California. Sad face :(

I'm @vicar_of_sibley on Twitter - let me know if you enjoyed the photos.

Follow Forward The Hamlet.


Find Forward The Hamlet on Facebook.



A Dulwich Hamlet photo essay (part one)


Welcome to part one of a collection of photos that I hope will give existing Dulwich Hamlet fans a welcome journey down memory lane, and potential new fans a glimpse into the absolute madness of the past few years celebrating England’s finest non-league football team. Scrap that, England’s finest football team.

In my three seasons of supporting the Hamlet, the experience has changed exponentially. My first experiences of Saturdays at Champion Hill were spent with 400-500 fellow onlookers (already a 25% attendance increase – I don’t pretend that I was part of the very first wave of newcomers). There was ample room all around the pitch for OTT supporter celebrations, for games of keep-ups with stray match balls, for the setting up of outdoor paddling pools in the summer months. You could hear every word of Rob, Michael and G-Man’s hilarious, bizarre, blue, insults directed (playfully) towards opposition goalkeepers. You could swap ends at half-time without queuing in an orderly fashion for 5 minutes before you made any headway. You could sit down if you wanted, hell you could lie down. With a fat suit on. Wrapped in thick cheese.

I was hooked. And the more months that passed, the bigger the crowds grew. The bigger the crowds grew, the more we couldn’t believe what we were seeing. 1,000… 1,500… 2,000… 2,500. They came, and they came, and they came. And the less I wanted to come. The matchday experience at Champion Hill changed. Where once I sat down and laughed at Rob comparing the opposition keeper’s kit to an ironing board cover, I now stood packed in like a sardine surrounded by day-tripping Chelsea and Arsenal fans necking cans of Stella and laughing at Nyren’s slightly overhit cross.

In the final weeks of the 2015-16 season, with the Hamlet team going through a tough period on the pitch, the Rabble sang and sang and sang. It banged advertising boards, it hit (sometimes rhythmically) corrugated iron, it hoisted aloft flags of 30ft x 20ft, it gave its all. I gave my all (Brentwood away, anyone?)

Before I knew it, the Hamlet had made the playoff final. As quickly as it had come around, it had slipped away. 3-0 down after 30 minutes was too big a mountain to climb and East Thurrock grabbed the final promotion place into the Conference South.

I write this opening passage as an insight into why I am writing any of this at all. The end to last season, and the change in the “Dulwich Hamlet Experience”, made me question my commitment to this incredible club. That then made me question what DHFC actually means to the newer supporters – is it something you can walk away from? This would certainly give validity to many critics’ views of us. But you know what, it isn’t. Despite how much it has changed, despite the heartbreak of last season, Dulwich Hamlet is my club. I can’t walk away.

I hope you enjoy viewing these photos, and reading my (often useless) anecdotes. Collating them further confirmed to me that I’ll see all you beautiful bastards behind the goal on the first day of the 2016-17 season.

Edit: A huge big up to the photographers whose work over the past few seasons has done so much to help grow crowds and promote the club online. Namely: Mike Urban (Brixton Buzz); Joel Virgo (Joel Virgo Photography); Duncan Palmer (Duncan Palmer Photography); Laraine Bateman and David Bauckham. I have absolutely no doubt that without your hard work and amazing talents, the club wouldn't be where it is today.




Saturday 27th April 2013. Dulwich Hamlet captain Peter Adeniyi roars in celebration in the Champion Hill tunnel after a Xavier Vidal goal clinches the Isthmian League Division One South title on the last day of the season. I wasn’t there that day but this shot by the excellent non-league photographer David Bauckham surely captures the raw emotion, the relief, and the pride felt by all. Pete left the Hamlet a couple of years ago but he is still a popular face around the club – running school holiday football camps at Champion Hill and regularly attending home games. He has recently taken up his first management position, with Carshalton Athletic.

Photo credit: David Bauckham



Saturday 10th August 2013. After 12 seasons away, Dulwich Hamlet have returned to the Isthmian League Premier Division. Nerves over what was supposed to be a daunting opening day fixture at home to Lowestoft Town – thrice playoff finalists in the previous three seasons – are banished as winger Ellis Green smashes home after 25 minutes. Green would be sent off early in the second half after reacting to a particularly bad challenge but Erhun Oztumer would bury a 74th-minute penalty to hand the Hamlet a hugely impressive 2-0 win.

Photo credit: Joel Virgo



It’s Saturday 26th April 2014 and Dulwich Hamlet’s 1-1 draw at home to Kingstonian means they slip out of the final playoff spot on the final day of the season. Taken around 20 minutes after the full-time whistle, DHFC fan Robert Molloy-Vaughan and his bottle of £3.99 prosecco dominate the photo. A common theme throughout recent years, Hamlet fans still managed to have a pitch side party despite the result on the pitch. This author openly admits that Robert (or at least photos of his face and infamous voodoo stick) is one of the main reasons he first ventured along to Champion Hill. If I hadn’t already caught the Hamlet bug, this photo would’ve done it. Where the fuck else would you see a 30-something man dressed in an outfit of a plastic lilac wig, leopard print felt and shoulder spikes spraying a bottle of cheap fizzy wine in front of a homemade pink and blue banner? Answer? Absolutely nowhere.

Photo credit: Joel Virgo



4.41pm, Saturday 29th November 2014. Continuing his comeback from a horrendous leg break almost a year previous, Hamlet striker and Patrick Bateman-in-American-Psycho-lookalike Harry Ottaway has just slammed home an equaliser at home to Kingstonian. Admit it, we all winced as he landed back on the turf given his injury record… Land he did though, and ten minutes later he combined with Ashley Carew to set up Nyren Clunis to grab a 2-1 victory for DHFC. This photo sums up Harry. Athleticism, style, and passion. Fuck I miss you, Harry.

Photo credit: Joel Virgo



I must admit I have absolutely no idea of the exact date that this shot of Hamlet fan Rod Laird was taken – sometime in 2015, I reckon. There are many reasons why I love this photo… Firstly, Rod is one of the most genuine guys I’ve ever met. A friendly, compassionate, humble, dependable man who is now an important component of the idiots (come on, we are) behind the goal both home and away. Secondly, with his downward-facing pose and the light illuminating the left-hand side of his face, the photo looks like a scene from a 1940s Chicago backstreet. It’s the most atmospheric shot out of the lot – I was taken aback the first time I saw it and it still stops me in my tracks. Thirdly, it’s a glimpse of a facet of the recent increase in crowds that is oft forgotten – it’s not just 20-somethings with b*ards drinking craft beer who have found a football home in East Dulwich. It is all. In this case, an older gentleman whose love of the game forced him away from the Sky Sports/Gary Lineker/Opta Stats/Barry Glendenning wankfest and into the arms of the Rabble. Long may it continue.

Photo credit: Joel Virgo


Saturday 17th January 2015. Playing in Margate’s orange away strip after the referee took a dislike to the Hamlet’s Altona-inspired striped number (fool), Dulwich Hamlet have just taken the lead at Hartsdown Park thanks to a 56th-minute Ethan Pinnock header. With the home team sat in second place and DHFC in third, the glee on the faces of Aspire Academy graduates Nyren Clunis, Xavier Vidal and Ethan tells its own story. Hamlet held on for a famous 2-1 win and it was genuinely one of the best days of my life. In the days and weeks after I wondered if I’d got caught up in the emotion of it all and overstated what an incredible trip it was… But now, 18 months on, it still stands as one of the most memorable 12 hours of my life. Turns out the Deserter lads enjoyed it, too. See?

Photo credit: Joel Virgo



I’m not done with the Margate trip yet… Just over an hour earlier, Nyren Clunis had swept DHFC into a 1-0 lead on this bitterly cold January afternoon. Now, he’s swamped by the jubilant Rabble moments after the full-time whistle. I love this shot for so many reasons – Nyren’s closed, happy eyes; Grotty’s outrageously good pink camo cap; and the sea of outstretched arms hinting at the imminent arrival of more celebrating Hamlet players. Moments like this are why you sit on a shitty, slow train for three hours in the depths of the English winter to watch a game between two teams playing 7 levels below the premier league. Give me this over Soccer Saturday any day. Any day, in fact, for the rest of my life.

Photo credit: Joel Virgo


We'll post part two in a week or so - come back for more amazing photos and average anecdotes.


Thanks for indulging me, Ben.

I'm @vicar_of_sibley on Twitter - give me your memories/abuse!

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Find Forward The Hamlet on Facebook.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

FTH 27 - Altona special



A special episode recorded during a recent visit to Hamburg. Includes a chat with our great friend and Altona fanzine editor Jan Stöver. There's a chance meeting with ex-Dulwich Hamlet and current Altona player Malik Issahaku. Then a chat with Hamburg-based football writer Ceylan Hussein and finally we meet Hamlet fan and world-famous actor Michael Wagg.

If you enjoy the episode, or would like to make a suggestion for future episodes, please let us know on Twitter: @ForwardHamlet or Facebook. You can also give us an email: forwardthehamlet@gmail.com.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Hosted and produced by Ben Sibley (@vicar_of_sibley).

Monday, 26 October 2015

FTH 26



In this episode we speak to DHFC GK Phil Wilson on the day of his 33rd birthday. We then meet Aspire Academy graduate Jamie Mascoll. Finally, Jack McInroy speaks to his dad Jacko McInroy about Black History Month and an Egyptian superstar who once wore the pink and blue.

If you enjoy the episode, or would like to make a suggestion for future episodes, please let us know on Twitter: @ForwardHamlet or Facebook. You can also give us an email: forwardthehamlet@gmail.com.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Hosted and produced by Ben Sibley (@vicar_of_sibley) and Hugo Greenhalgh (@HugoGreenhalgh).


Thursday, 8 October 2015

FTH 25 - a match day at Champion Hill

↓ DOWNLOAD  ♫ iTUNES


To celebrate our 25th podcast, we've tried a slightly different approach. We knew last Saturday's game at home to VCD Athletic would be a hugely busy day for us. Prior to the game, the club opened an exhibition of past and present black players to mark Black History Month 2015.

During the game, a huge crowd was expected due to the 'pay what you want' initiative to mark the Hamlet's contribution to this year's Non League Day. After the game, the club were to come together to say goodbye to Bar Manager Stephen and to hand out several player of the month awards. We round the day off by speaking to Aspire Academy graduate Josh Fernandes after his first senior goal for the club earlier in the day.

All in all, there was a lot going on. We decided to try and capture as much as we could to give you an insight into a day spent at Champion Hill. Some bits work better than others so please bear with us and let us know what you think! All criticism, constructive or otherwise, is welcome. We produce the podcast for you, so your opinion is vital.

If you enjoy the episode, or would like to make a suggestion for future episodes, please let us know on Twitter: @ForwardHamlet or Facebook. You can also give us an email: forwardthehamlet@gmail.com.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Hosted and produced by Ben Sibley (@vicar_of_sibley) and Hugo Greenhalgh (@HugoGreenhalgh).


Monday, 28 September 2015

FTH 24

↓ DOWNLOAD  ♫ iTUNES

Photo: @hawksultras

In this episode we meet Duncan Palmer - one of Dulwich Hamlet's two official photographers. We also took advantage of a recent FA Cup trip to Whitehawk to chat to three fans of the most upwardly-mobile non-league team in the country.

PLEASE NOTE: the chat with the Whitehawk guys and girls does contain very explicit language - from both ourselves and our guests. We have kept it in as we feel it helps give context to the conversation topics.

If you enjoy the episode, or would like to make a suggestion for future episodes, please let us know on Twitter: @ForwardHamlet or Facebook. You can also give us an email: forwardthehamlet@gmail.com.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Hosted and produced by Ben Sibley (@vicar_of_sibley) and Hugo Greenhalgh (@HugoGreenhalgh).


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

We love you, left-foot curler


Ben Sibley, one half of Forward The Hamlet, writes...

Until the last five years or so it was generally perceived that playing a left-footed attacking player on the right-hand side of the pitch put your team at a disadvantage.

A winger beats his man and whips in an out-swinging cross, surely? How could you expect a left-footed player to swing in a dangerous cross with his weaker foot? Angel Di Maria’s right foot is so poor that he favours a completely unnatural movement to deliver from his weaker side.

Hang about, does the winger need to beat his man at all? Why can’t he cut inside and significantly increase his possibilities for distribution?

If he was feeling particularly devil-may-care, he could even take a shot at goal. Arjen Robben feels this way 98% of the time, occasionally leading to spectacular scenes.

As it turns out, new Dulwich Hamlet loan signing Rhys Murrell-Williamson is just as guilty of this feeling as the chocolate-ankled Dutchman.

It was a predictably physical and tight affair as Billericay visited Champion Hill on Saturday 5th September 2015 – it was a game that needed a moment of magic. And a moment of magic it got.

Billericay number one Jack Giddens' bedroom window might overlook the greenest fields in all of Essex. He might be in a happy relationship with a partner he considers his soulmate.

There’s a possibility he drives an Aston Martin DB6 in gun-metal grey. Of a Sunday he may just tinkle the ivories of an 80 year-old Steinway. But, ol’ Giddens has never seen anything as beautiful as Rhys’ ninetieth-minute winner.

Rhys’ goal left a huge impression on us - it could be the delicious arc of the ball; it could be the gawping mouth and despairing eyes of the static goalkeeper; it could be the balletic follow-through. It could be all three. Yeah, it’s all three.

These components make up what is the most beautiful shot in all of football – the left-footed curler into the far top corner.

When executed perfectly, the ball wraps itself sensually into the side-netting. Like an otter cub curling up into its mother’s warm, fluffy stomach. As the ball enters the goal just inside the post, it traces the curve of the net into the literal back of the net before nestling at ground level and occasionally, teasingly, rolling back out across the goal-line. A final tongue stuck out at the stranded goalkeeper.

You’ve enjoyed every tantalising second of this due to the ball’s arced flight – the shot has been hit at a pace and angle which grabs your attention and allows you to dream.

A thunderbastard of Steven Reid proportions is all killer no filler, it’s a shot of absinthe. You can’t admire it as you consume it. Without big-screen replays, that shot disappears into the record books before you’ve even acknowledged it.

A left-foot curled shot is a drop of single malt. It’s cultured, it’s layered and most of all – it’s fucking delicious.

Just minutes into his Dulwich Hamlet debut and with seconds left on the clock, Rhys collected a Kevin James headed pass out on the right flank. He moved towards the penalty area before squaring up his marker, cutting inside and curling, caressing, stroking, pouring a left-foot shot into the far top corner.

Moments before he made contact with the ball, Kev fell flat on his face – paralysed with anticipation of such beauty. Himself motionless, Giddens watched, mouth gaping, eyes despairing as Rhys’ single malt hit the spot.


All four of these photos are Duncan Palmer's

Anyone can smash a shot at goal and hope for the best - Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have made careers out of it (don’t @ us).

Rhys took the tougher path, he reached for the aged, dusty bottle way above the brightly-coloured optics, he took care of that ball like it had never been taken care of before. He had full confidence that his accuracy would negate the need for power – even on his debut in the dying moments of a goalless game.

Rhys Murrell-Williamson – you devil-may-care legend.




Watch highlights of Dulwich Hamlet 1-0 Billericay town.

Follow Rhys on Twitter: @RhysMurrellW

Follow Forward The Hamlet on Twitter: @ForwardHamlet

Like Forward The Hamlet on Facebook: Forward The Hamlet

Follow Dulwich Hamlet on Twitter: @DulwichHamletFC

Follow Ben on Twitter: @vicar_of_sibley

Friday, 4 September 2015

Good old fashioned football


This piece is authored by Dulwich Hamlet fan James Portland. Originally posted on his blog, he has kindly allowed us to repost here. It should be read as a response to the tripe recently published in the Guardian.


There’s a lot of stuff in the media about the growth in Hamlet’s support, and how supporting the club is about fighting fascism and eating bratwurst. It got me thinking about what attracted me to the club.

I’ve always been left wing, and it’s nice to know a sizable contingent of Dulwich fans are likely to share my views on a number of social issues. That’s not always been the case when, at Premier League grounds, you can find yourself surrounded by furious men shouting their way through questionable ditties.

The club and its fans laudably strive for positive action within the community and, well, stickers bearing a fist bashing Nigel Farage’s face are always going to be a winner.

But what about the actual football? The Communist Party of Britain has its headquarters in Croydon, and the Socialist Party of Great Britain is based in Clapham. If you’re purely looking for left wing political movements to join, it would make more sense to contact one of those groups and get involved in their activities.

If the media reports are to be believed, the new wave of fans at Dulwich aren’t interested in football, they’ve just seen another facet of working class life that can provide a bit of fun for a while.

Quaffing “craft” ale (when did it stop just being ale?), and penning slogans about the coming emancipation from wage slavery, are noble pursuits, of course, and the “H word” has quickly been drained of all meaning by the late-to-the-party mainstreamers who, seemingly unaware of the irony, now dispatch it indiscriminately against anyone they want to disparage in order to feel better about themselves.

But is there any truth to the notion that people start following the club simply because it seems trendy, or because they just like the idea of waving Pride flags around and getting smashed on Buckfast?

Well, who gives a shit?

Perhaps it’s not really for a newcomer to say it but, if people are attracted to the club, let them come. If they enjoy the feeling of being welcomed into a community more than they care about the quality of the football or the results, who cares?

There is always a large number of salt-o-the-earth supporters at Premier League grounds who complain about the numbers of “day trippers” and yet get so smashed in the pub before the game, they barely register what happens on the pitch. Do the journalists write about those fans? No, because there is no story there.

And even if there was, no middle class journalist is going to write an article that draws a caricature of working class fans as boorish drunkards who can barely stand up straight during the match.

But there is a story to be had when the journalist hears about “hipsters” suddenly turning up in their droves to chant about socialism while watching a team that wears pink and plays in Dulwich, because “hipster” is a buzz word that the journalist has recently learned, and those middle class lefty types won’t be up in arms if you dismiss them in such an ignorant way.

It’s the journalists themselves who are the hipsters, isn’t it? Jumping on any cultural meme they think they can get a bit of currency out of, using it for their own benefit without a fuck given for the accuracy of their articles, exactly as they accuse the new Dulwich fans of doing the same to the club.

But if those Dulwich fans are turning up to games regularly, perhaps even getting involved in activities organised by other supporters, then they’re doing a lot more than this dictionary definition of “hipster” suggests:

1. a person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream.

In fact, following a football club is by no means a latest trend, and it isn’t outside of the cultural mainstream. Unless, that is, you read “cultural mainstream” as “corporately commandeered cultural pastime that has become little more than a means of exploiting working people for every last penny you can squeeze”.

In which case, yeah, non-league clubs in general are outside the cultural mainstream.

And what about the Hamlet fans who aren’t there for the politics, and happen to support Dulwich the same way (or, more likely, not the same way) that the journalist supports Arsenal? Supporters who, irrespective of class, turn up each week solely for the enjoyment of watching the team play football?

I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of the new wave of Hamlet fans have turned to the club because they became aware of an alternative to the experience as a customer of Premier League clubs.

Fifty quid for a ticket, fifty quid each year to be a “member”, entitling you to the square root of being a mug, crowds that bitch and moan all the time unless they’re winning 5-0, players strutting around the pitch looking useless, safe in the knowledge they’ve just stashed another fifty grand in the bank, and the constant barrage of football “banter” that permeates every aspect of life, an endless stream of people who never actually watch the club they “support”, but will bend your ear eight hours a day in the office about Man United or Liverpool.

Yeah, watching Nyren Clunis tear down the right wing at Kingsmeadow in front of 442 of us was much more fun, actually. If that makes me a hipster, sign me up.


As mentioned, this piece is James' own and was originally posted on his blog. He echoes many of our own views and as such, we stole it. Because we're lazy.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

FTH 23

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This photo of Danny Waldren is Laraine Bateman's

We caught up with manager Gavin Rose and new club captain Danny Waldren at the Dulwich Hamlet 2015-16 kit launch at Champion Hill (photos by Duncan Palmer here).

Gavin takes us through several of his new signings, a number of departures, and looks ahead to the forthcoming season. Danny sheds light on his decision to move to DHFC, his playing style, and his determination to lead the team to a serious title challenge. There's also chat from us regarding the playing squad and our thoughts for 2015-16.

If you enjoy the episode, or would like to make a suggestion for future episodes, please let us know on Twitter: @ForwardHamlet or Facebook. You can also give us an email: forwardthehamlet@gmail.com.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTuneshttps://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/forward-the-hamlet/id898556234.

Hosted and produced by Ben Sibley (@vicar_of_sibley) and Hugo Greenhalgh (@HugoGreenhalgh).