Happiness is a game at Hamlet

When London hosted the summer Olympics in 1948, the football tournament was spread around the capital with a few detours down to the south coast. At the time the amateur game had never been so popular, coming after the war when football-starved Londoners had been denied their regulars fix of the beautiful games, so the decision to use some of the classic old-school grounds was very popular with the public. Games were played at Lynn Road, Ilford, Green Pond Road in Walthamstow and Champion Hill in Dulwich.

dulwich 4The first two grounds no longer exist, their history buried beneath supermarkets and executive-style apartments. But football is still played every week at Champion Hill although the ground has gone through a number of changes over the past 65 years. Home of Dulwich Hamlet, and their tenants, Fisher Athletic, crowds are a modest few hundred rather than the thousands that flocked here in the old amateur days in the innocent age of football including that gloriously typical English summer’s day in August 1948 in driving rain when South Korea beat Mexico.

Dulwich Hamlet are one of the oldest clubs still knocking around the London Non Leagues. The club was formed in 1893, by Lorraine ‘Pa’ Wilson when Dulwich was an affluent village-like suburb of London, hence their rural name. Their greatest ever player was Edgar Kail, who scored over 400 goals for the club as an amateur who went on to win three caps for England in 1929, and turned down moves to professional clubs to stay playing for Dulwich, loving life at this level. Despite winning the Isthmian League just after the war, it’s been a story of near-misses characterised by the last few years which has seen play off defeats to Leatherhead and Bognor Regis Town in the past two seasons for a spot in the Ryman Premier League. Continue reading

The Battle of Southwark

Trivia question for the day.

Q: Name a football team named after a person?

I am sure in years to come we will see Dave Whelan Athletic instead of Wigan judging by the subtle changes he is making in Lancashire, and who would begrudge Roman slipping in an Abramovich into Chelsea as a thank you to the hundreds of millions he has “invested” there.  But I could not think of one team named after a person.

That was until I was researching games for this Saturday.  I have been using the Octopus prediction system for years.  I bought it back from Korea in 2002 and I don’t understand what all the fuss is about.  It’s just one of those paper things you used to make when you was at school but with legs – you remember – pick a number, then a colour and it would always say something like “you smell” or ” you fancy Debbie” even if you actually were Debbie.  The TBIR prediction model helps us chose which games to go to.  Today the criteria was a)within 10 miles (have to be back by 5.30pm), b) somewhere new and c) near a supermarket as I have to get some bits in for tea……And the answer today was ……Fisher FC v Millwall XI. Continue reading