By David de Winter – Sports Editor
As National Supporter Ownership Week comes to a close, Dulwich Hamlet FC and Hadley Property Group have announced exciting plans for a new stadium and for the south London club to be majority-owned by the supporters. The Hamlet, currently fourth in the Ryman Isthmian Premier League, hope that this initiative will enable the club to flourish in the coming years with the supporters trust retaining casting voting rights. Better still, Hadley Property Group is bearing the costs for the provision of the new stadium, is committed to building a brand new state of the art 3G pitch as well as offering additional funds to deal with any teething issues.
Matt Rimmer, Head of Communications for Hadley Property Group stated: “Here at Hadley Property Group, we want to hand the club over voluntarily, in a sensible, phased approach, provided that we are able to provide a new, fit-for-purpose facility. More and more clubs exist due to the revenue that a 3G facility provides, and this will definitely work here at Dulwich Hamlet. We look forward to moving forward with this as well as being able to offer a more rounded community benefit to local schools and residents within the new facility.”
James Masini, Chair of the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust was equally positive: “A sustainable future for Dulwich Hamlet Football Club remains one of our key objectives and fan ownership is central to this. We are delighted that Hadley Property Group are committing to ensure this happens and look forward to continuing to work in partnership with both them and our Trust membership to best ensure the smooth transition towards full fan ownership. However, in order for fan ownership to work at a new stadium, the club would require security of tenure on the portion of Greendales that the proposed new stadium will be situated on. We urge the Council to negotiate with Hadley Property Group as a matter of urgency.”
The Hamlet have gained a sizeable following in recent years, down in no small part to their dedicated ‘Ultras’ (appropriately called ‘The Rabble’) and their active anti-racist and anti-homophobia stance (they recently played a friendly against Stonewall FC, London’s most well-known gay football club). They are looking to capitalise on their newfound popularity and build a football club not only for the future but for the community. Therefore it is all the more important that Southwark Council get on board with the project to ensure that football club can continue to grow in the area.
Ben Westmancott, from Fisher FC Society Limited, a local fan owned football club that currently ground shares with Dulwich Hamlet FC added: “Fisher FC Society Limited support increased fan involvement in the running of Dulwich Hamlet FC and encourage the Council to work with the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust and Hadley Property Group to secure the future of the football club in the Champion Hill area.”
These are undoubtedly exciting times for Dulwich Hamlet FC and their supporters. The success of the club off the field is being mirrored by the team on the field and with the backing of Hadley Property Group, a new stadium in the pipeline and the possibility of becoming fan-owned, the future is looking bright for the Pink and Blues.
For more information on the Hadley Property Group, visit www.hadleypropertygroup.com
Sign the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust Greendale Petition here: www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/dhstgreendale