Pride of South London, you know it’s true
Dulwich Hamlet aren’t your average non-league football team. Based in South London, they welcome around 2,500 people to their stadium, Champion Hill, every fortnight. The average attendance for the 6th division is 890.
The Hamlet’s following is diverse. There’s the hardcore fanbase, known as ‘The Rabble’, who bleed pink and blue and never miss a game. Then you have the locals showing their pride for South London, without the astronomical fees of Premier League football, and then you have families getting a taste of the football, groups of friends supporting The Hamlet and the locally brewed beer, and out-of-towners doing a different kind of sightseeing.
The club has been in the headlines for a number of reasons over the last few years. During 2018 they were ousted from their stadium by their landlords, and forced to play their matches at the ground of rivals Tooting and Mitcham. During this 10 month exile, they gained support from all over, including ex-footballer Rio Ferdinand, Southwark Mayor Catherine Rose, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan. And in December 2018, they returned to their stadium after successful talks with their landlords.
They have a blossoming relationship with left-wing German club, Altona 93. The teams regularly attend each others games throughout the season. And The Hamlet also made headlines when they hosted a ground-breaking friendly against Stonewall FC, Britain’s top-ranking gay football team. As the first of its kind in this country, it was referred to as “the biggest ever statement by a UK club in the crusade against homophobia”.
Dulwich Hamlet has a strong fanbase, but by going out of their way to support Stonewall and other charities, they’re also building a community. And this was most evident when an abundance of volunteers turned up to help get Champion Hill ready for the first match after their 10 month absence.
Brightening up their stadium
When we were given the opportunity to sponsor Dulwich Hamlet, we were intrigued by the opportunity to work with a club that mirrored our values. We sensed a little bit of ourselves within the club - a community that was doing things differently and fighting the good fight.
We didn’t want our sponsorship to overshadow the club and take the magic away from Champion Hill. We created a referral link that when switched through, would give £50 to the new member and to the 12th Man Scheme, a trust that helps pay players’ wages and make new signings.
We also dressed their stadium in pink and blue banners - our colours and those of Dulwich’s home kit. Not only were these popular with the fans, but they doubled up as a safety net for the occasional shots that were high, wide and not very handsome.
Looking ahead to next season
With the players on holiday, we’re preparing for our second season of sponsorship. The DHFC referral link is still live, and will continue into the new season. Last year, we raised £2,750 for the club and we’re hoping to more than double that in the next year. As we pointed out in one of our programme ads, we only need 3,000 people to switch to Bulb using the DHFC link and The Hamlet might be able to sign Liverpool’s Divock Origi on a one month loan - although now he's a Champions League winner, we may need a few more signups.
With their first game expected to be in the first week of August, Team Bulb are readying themselves for a promising start to the campaign, and we’ll be there in our pink and blue, cheering them on. If you’re ever visiting London, or live not too far from South London, head on down. If not only for the football, for the diverse selection of food, Peckham Pale Ales, and Hamlet supporting pups.
Season tickets are available to buy now, and tickets for individual matches will be available nearer the time.