Sunday 29 June 2008

Dulwich Hamlet FC, Champion Hill Stadium.

You'd think this would have been the first ground I'd have covered really, but it was only a couple of weeks ago that I had one of those 'Doh!' moments & realised I'd better do some in depth snaps of my own club!
A club I've supported since 1974, when my older brother took me down to watch the local team, & I've been cheering them on ever since!
This is of course, the 'new' Champion Hill. The previous one being a huge old cinder terraced stadium, that would have been capable of holding thirty thousand in it's heyday. That was opened on 10th October 1931, in front of over eighteen thousand fans, versus Nunhead.
The current one, which I will 'take you round' here, staged it's first game on 3rd October 1992, with a bigger than usual crowd, of over seven hundred, versus Hendon, with the local London TV news cameras present.
Yes it is home, and I've got used to it, but to be honest I don't like the place. It's one of the best 'one sided' grounds around. There's no cover behind either goal, and some of us refer to the cover along the side as the 'bus shelter'. Funnnily enough visiting fans seem to like it more than us, perhaps the memory of our old ground still lingers on for too many of us...

This is the best view of the ground:

But I'm going to show you it in depth, so indulge me as I include more snaps than I have used for any ground so far!

These signs have been up since the ground was opened in
1992, but-thankfully-is NOT the actual name of the ground!

If coming by train from East Dulwich, turn left, past the
chip shop (only if starving, it's a bit ropey!) and turn left
into this park.

Stick to the curvy footpath, not the one straight across
the grass, and you'll see this piece of public art, commissioned
by Sainsburys back in 1992. The main road is called Dog Kennel

If walking down the Hill you will turn into this road, named
after our greatest player. This was the result of a campaign by
our fans, after signs went up asking if there were any objections
to it being called 'Sport Road'. As suggested by John Beasley, of
the unrepresentative & unelected middle class group the
Peckham Society, who was the person who led the campaign
to prevent our current ground being built! Too right we
bloody well objected to 'Sport Road'!

Come out of the park, or along Edgar Kail Way, and you
see our car park. Home of a car wash. It's looks unsightly,
and rather 'Essex', but it helps pay the bills, by renting out
the land.

Our turnstiles, with the Fisher Athletic sign on the side of
the squash courts. I'm not going to take you through the
turnstiles. But we're going to go up the steps by the side
of the squash courts, and walk through the main entrance.

On the side of the squah courts is this old sign, from when
the ground opened, but never used to advertise games as
nobody could be bothered to make, or put up, posters.

The upper car park, towards the entrance.

Note the two plaques below the crest & DHFC

A Southwark Council blue plaque. Voted for by local people
every year. When they were first instigated a few years ago
twenty were up for grabs, and out of the most popular our
fans' choice came sixth, getting more votes than the Rio
Ferdinand one in Peckham. The wording, by the Council, is
wrong though. Edgar was the last amateur to play for England
whilst solely with an amateur club. The last ever amateur to
appear for the Full England side was Bernard Joy, of Arsenal &
The Casuals, in 1936.
Still it annoys Corinthian-Casuals fans every time they visit...

This was unveiled two seasons ago, following public fund-raising
by Hamlet fans.

Just inside the main entrance is the Club War Memorial,
remembering our fallen from both World Wars. The plaque
to the right of it was added two years ago, to 'correct' a
spelling mistake on the original.

Sadly it is currently obscured by a pile of assorted clutter.
I have asked members of the Club Committee to raise this
at meetings, and get the junk removed, so our fallen players
are offered the respect they deserve, but I've grown fed up
mentioning it, so don't bother anymore. Quite sad really...

And we turn left, through the door into the main stand. I will
take you round the ground clockwise. Here we look down to
the turnstiles, and the club shop,formerly the Supporters' Trust
one. The Trust say they happily gave the shed to the Club, when
they wanted it to sell their own souvenirs. Others say the Trust
were told to stop selling their stuff on the premises as they offer
nothing to the Club. You decide...

As we start walking round we look back at the main stand,
and the tea bar hatch. Note the blank black on the side.
The idea was to have this as a space for memorial plaques, for
supporters' who have passed away. The outside company
that did this never got any business, as the initial cost was
reasonable, but the annual charge was a rip off, so there
were never any takers, it's still referred to by some of us as
'the wall of death'.

This is the open terrace behind the goal.

With it being close season the goalposts were leaning on it.
I'd not noticed this sticker on them, from the 'health & safety
police' before!

Looking back to the side, from behind the goal.

And looking down the far side, again very little terracing,
but hard standing, with space to add more steps, if ever
needed in the future, I suppose.

And looking back behind the goal, from the side.

Our only bit of covered terrace, along the side. Referred by
some of us as 'the bus shelter'.

And a view of it from on the pitch.

Continuing past it, not the old floodlight pylon. Clearly
OUTSIDE the current ground, but within the boundary of
the old Champion Hill. Which was on a different level, with the
pitch in a different place too. This pylon is the ONLY thing that
remains from the old ground, which was completely
demolished. EVERYONE at Dulwich Hamlet considers our current
Champion Hill to be a new Champion Hill, yet there are a
few groundhoppers out there who, bizarrely, count it as the same

Note this turnstile block. The Isthmian League insisted we built
it to get our grading for the ground in 1992. You can count the
number of times they've ever been used on the fingers of
one hand!

And so behind the far goal. Identical to the other one.

And a view down the main side,again just hard standing,
no actual steps of terrace.

In the corner is the ld groundman's hut, and a load of old junk.
We had to fence this bit off to get the current grading.
Our very own 'Steptoe Corner'!

Looking at the main stand.

In the main stand. The front few rows were rotting away,
and then ripped out. Ruined by pigeon droppings, from the
roof. But now netting has gone up, and the new blue ones
installed by Fisher last season, to get their Conference South

Another view from the back, showing the press area.

And looking down to the touchline, and behind the far goal.

The half way line view from the stand.

And looking up to the players tunnel, and the boardroom
area. We'll come back to them later.

The new, larger dugouts, installed at the start of last
season, to satisfy groundgradings.

One final look along the new blue seats, before we head inside,
to go through the bar, and head towards the boardroom, through
the door at the far end of the bar.

In the corridor through thr door, is the old Club honours

The Club Crest on it.
The helmet,cross & feathers come from the crest of the Champion de
Crespigny family, on whose ancient land the ground is built; and Champion
Hill is named after, along with several other local roads.
The four crests incorporated into ours are:
Top left: The County of Surrey. Of which Dulwich was once part.
Top right: The badge of Dulwich. Associated with the College, where some of our founder members attended.
Bottom left: The old crest of the Borough of Camberwell, within whose boundaries the club played, unitl it was swallowed up by the London Borough of Southwark.
Bottom right: The badge of Westminster. Where some of our founder members went to, like Dulwich College.

The Club colours of Pink and Blue are from the pink of
Westminster College, and the Blue of Dulwich College.

And so into the boardroom, so many old photos on display, but
sadly rarely seen by fans. It is a shame that at least a selection
of these are not copied and put on display in the bar.

And dome of the commemorative scrolls, from the various
County FAs & the Football Association.

The Club Person of the Year award. A small indulgence on my
part by showing this. As my name is on it, and I am extremely
proud of that.

And before we leave the boardroom here is a gift from our
Estonian friends to the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' Team, when we
visited Tallinn for the first time in July 2007.

And so down the stairs, to the players' tunnel.
Looking out towards the pitch, with the Conference
'interview board backdrop', in case Setanta were ever to pop

This is the tunnel itself.

And this is the home dressing room, with the away one
at the end of the corridor being a similar size.

Despite thinking otherwise after some matches, there does
appear to be a 'gameplan'! ;-)

And that ends your visit to Champion Hill.
Before we go, i leave you with a few snaps I took on a Sunday
morning in April, when there was a rare snowfall in London.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Mishi.

Top tour of the club.


Rabbler said...

Blimey! Good detective work! ;-)
Hope you & all the family are well!

TerryM said...

Great site, cannot believe how much Champion Hill has changed from when I used to live next door to it in the 1970's. As a Palace fan am hurt that there are no photos of the superstadium that Selhurst park is not !

Rabbler said...

TerryM: It hasn't just was completely demolished! We moved away for a season, while the new ground was built.
Perosnally, I'm not too keen on Palace, I'm afraid. my Football League'soft spot' goes the other way along the line from East Dulwich station to South Bermondsey! :-)
But I do have a set of snaps from Selhurst Park, taken at an FA Youth Cup game last season, & will add them in the near future.
Thanks for looking in.

Robert Vaughan said...

Great post, full of information I had been pondering about since moving to Dog Kennel Hill a couple of months ago... But you forgot to point out the "MFC" on the dog statue!!

terry thatcher said...

Sorry, I know its a strange question to ask but are there any images of the showers and are they communal or set out. into cubicles or whatever. its just i always wandered this...

Rabbler said...

The showers are communal, in the same area as the changing rooms, next to them through a door, in both the home & away ones. About half a dozen in each, in a squareshaped tiled shower area. The old ground,demolished, in 1991, had the old fashioned traditional sunken baths!

terry thatcher said...

thanks for replying...

Roland Alcock said...

Interesting to see these pictures of the new ground and to see that Dulwich FC is still going after all these years. I used to be taken to the old "cinder terrace" ground as a boy by my dad in the late 1950's. He was a fan from the heyday 30's when there were huge crowds for the games and his eyes used to light up when he described those days. By the 1960's he had lost interest and we never went again. I live in Canada now and will never see the old or the new ground again. Thx for the photos.

Rabbler said...

Roland: Many thanks for your feedback, it was wonderful to read! If you ever look back at this post I'd love it if you could send me an email, so we could chat more about your Hamlet memories...just drop me a line at:
In hope, many thanks! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Where was the old ground position wise to the new one ? Great pics

Anonymous said...

Just came across your site and I'm enthralled. Yours is clearly a labor of love and it shows. Great job, mate! I had no idea until now that your club founder was Laurence Fishburne!

Anonymous said...

Just to say I was lucky to have visited you old ground in the fifties.I believe it was a cup game perhaps the London senior cup.
I was supportins Hayes FC and still do.Cant wait for our new ground to be finnished,it's too far to travel all the way to Woking.Great site I enjoy looking at the grounds I've never visited.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

In response to the query of 15th Dec 2011, the position of the new pitch is only about 10 yards 'sideways' from the old one, as can be seen from the photo of the old floodlight pylon. This why some hoppers refuse to count it as a separate ground from the old one, although of course everyone is entitled to their opinion.