EXCLUSIVE: Dulwich Hamlet booted out of ground even though landlords claimed eviction U-turn

Dulwich Hamlet begin a groundshare tomorrow night, Tuesday, after the football club’s board were locked out of their Champion Hill ground last week.
Gavin Rose’s side will play their Velocity Trophy match against Met Police eight miles away from home, at local rivals Tooting & Mitcham United’s Imperial Fields ground (kick-off 7.45pm).
Both the Terrors and Hamlet are appealing for extra volunteer staff for the night, as the hosts have been playing in front of smaller crowds than the average 1,600 fans who have attended Champion Hill games this season.
Hamlet’s board and staff were locked out of Champion Hill by landlords Meadow Residential (MR) on March 5 – and were then told they would be evicted and ordered not to use the name Dulwich Hamlet, the Hamlet or DHFC again.
The latter two threats were lifted in a statement by MR the following day – but club officials have not been able to get back into the ground until today, Monday, and even then only under strict supervision.
So mystery surrounds MR’s continued defiance of their own statement last Wednesday that Hamlet could play home games there for the rest of the season.
Hamlet chairman Liam Hickey said: “Meadow Residential seem to have decided to declare war on us.
“The general manager of the ground has kindly allowed us access – but whether MR will be happy with that is another matter.
“We have been able to take away some club property such as stuff from the kit room today but we do not think we have everything.
“There are a few balls on the roof which may be hard to get down, for example.
“A war memorial to the Hamlet dead of two world wars is also something we will have to discuss.
“We are taking on some very big players, with deep pockets and time on their hands. But we are doing well to hold our own.
“Trying to seize our trademark, name and badge was designed to get us to shut up, but it had the exact opposite effect.
“They have shot themselves in both feet.
“We have had fantastic support from the football community and from Southwark council – I don’t think they could have done more.”
A planned protest march on March 17, starting at Goose Green, Dulwich, from 12.30pm and finishing at Champion Hill will go ahead even though the club’s next home league game, against Worthing, will now take place the following day at Imperial Fields.
“Our fans just want to make a point,” said Hickey. “There is no future for this development so MR need to realise they should just quit while the going is good.
“All MR seem to be good at is creating losses and blaming us for them.”
A post by the Save Dulwich Hamlet campaign on Facebook said of the protest march: “We’ll make a song and dance, listen to a few speakers and then make the short noisy march to Champion Hill.
“We want everybody there. It’s a protest but also a statement of what we are all about as a club.
“Bring your pink and blue colours, musical instruments, face paints, balloons and banners.
“It will be a family-friendly occasion so do bring the kids.”

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