When I lived in Camberwell from 1993-1996 (I think those dates are right, my memory of that period is somewhat hazy) I spent a lot of time at Dulwich Hamlet FC. It was a 10 minute walk from my flat and they had a decent team back then, even threatening to make it into the Conference one season. So it was a real pleasure to return to Champion Hill, thanks to the suggestion and in the company of, Mr Onionbagblogger, Season Ticket holder at DHFC and all round Sarf London good egg.
Champion Hill is a decent little ground thanks to Sainsbury’s building it for them as part of the deal that allowed them to plonk themselves next door. The fact that it’s called Champion Hill is a bit confusing though, as the address is Edgar Kail Way, Dog Kennel Hill, SE22. I assume it’s because the original ground was a little bit further north where Champion Hill the road actually is. It’s a typical London thing that the same hill has more than one name. On the east side it’s called Dog Kennel Hill and on the north side, Champion Hill and then to the west it turns into Denmark Hill. Unless I really am going mad there aren’t 3 different hills in that bit of London. As the ground sits in the middle of this hill triumvirate, you can’t blame them for choosing Champion Hill over the alternatives can you? I think we’d all do the same.
I will briefly mention the football but will give it the same attention that Mr Onionbagblogger and I gave it at the time; about 5 seconds worth. You shouldn’t expect much at this level and it didn’t disappoint, but there where a couple of good goals (one a dazzling volley from the edge of the box from the Hamlet) in a 2-2 draw and I came away thinking that it had been £8 well spent. If my threat to ditch the Chelsea Season Ticket is followed through, I may even find myself back at Champion Hill a few more times. Watching football at this level really does have it’s charms. Any ground where you have to walk through a car wash to get to the turnstile can’t be all bad. And when one supporter (out of the 288 total) can chase the ref all the way from the corner flag to the half way line to make his very well argued point, you know that you are in for some fun.
For a full tour of the ground, if you can’t resist, then go to the excellent Grounds for Concern. For more information on the club itself, which by the way, has a fantastic history, or if you want to know why Edgar Kail was so important that they named a road after him, then go to the Dulwich Hamlet FC official site.
My thanks to Dulwich Hamlet, Mr Onionbagblogger and the weather, for an excellent afternoon out.