Why I chose Dulwich Hamlet for 'My 5'
I was a little skeptical at including Dulwich Hamlet from a blogging perspective. They are a popular club and many people, more able than me, have told and continue to tell their story. From a fans perspective, however, they're is too interesting not to follow as they take their first steps into the National League. They also play great football and were also my local non-league club during the five years I lived in South London. I have to confess, however, to never seeing them play before last season.
Who are ya, Dulwich Hamlet?
Dulwich were founded in 1893 and joined both the Isthmian and Spartan Leagues in 1907. They left the Spartan League at the end of that season and remained in the Isthmian structure until 2018. The Hamlet, as they are known, have won four Isthmian Championships, the last being in 1949. They've also won the FA Amateur Cup on three occasions, in 1920, 1932 and 1937.
Dulwich earned promotion to the Isthmian Premier Division in 2013 after a long period in the second tier of the structure. They finished sixth in their first season back in the Premier Division, just missing out on the promotion play-offs. They rectified this the following season and began a run of four successive seasons battling for promotion in the play-offs. They finally made it to the National League South in 2018 following a penalty shoot-out win against Hendon.
Prospects for 2018/19
This season is a step into the unknown for the club that have never previously been outside the Isthmian League. Dulwich's strong squad, that finished 10 points ahead of third place last season, should see them perform well at step 2. Havant & Waterlooville, previous Isthmian winners, topped the division at the first attempt last season and both Dulwich and Billericay will hope to go some way to matching them. Hopefully, the off field struggles that galvanised the club last season won't begin to take their toll on the players if they drag on.