Champion Hill – Dulwich Hamlet

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Ground number 141

First visit – 25/2/17 (Dulwich Hamlet 2-2 Macclesfield – FA Trophy Quarter Final)

Dulwich Hamlet v VCD Athletic, Ryman Premier Division
Copyright – Keith Gillard (2015)

FA Trophy final quarter final day and the draw had thrown up a tricky encounter at Dulwich Hamlet. Another in the category of may not get chance to watch Macc here again – so best go just in case.

This is a ground with a long history, which currently is home to Dulwich Hamlet, who share with Millwall Lionesses. A bit of research will tell you that The Hamlet have been playing here for over 80 years; although it has changed much in that time.

This is effectively a new build ground, with a large Sainsburys store directly behind the stand you can see in the picture, which is built on some of the land the football club had sold off to balance the books in the 1990s . The old Champion Hill stadium was much larger, and the held many Amateur Internationals and other important matches, including the FA Amateur Cup Final between Kingstonian and Stockton in 1932/33 that attracted a record crowd of 20,744. It also hosted an Olympic football game in the 1948 event.

The capacity now is a more modest 3,000, and with progress on the field and excellent engagement with the local community, the ground is starting to see more games in front of near capacity crowds.

It is a fairly basic set up, but tidy for a side that are in the seventh tier. The main stand provides the only choice of seated accommodation and there is a good bar area above this which all fans can access. The remainder of the ground is open to the elements, apart from a small covered terrace opposite the main stand.

The catering on the day I visited was certainly interesting as well, although not you’re typical football fayre; with grassfed beef burgers and Thai street food proving popular with the locals.  Another thumbs up is the club shop, complete with a selection of programmes – although I thankfully managed to resist bringing any home on this occasion.

Overall, a friendly set of fans with decent facilities for the level they play at, makes this a good visit. If they continue to draw the crowds in it might not long before we see Dulwich in the Conference.

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