Dulwich Hamlet aiming high after securing Bostik Premier promotion

Dulwich Hamlet want to take the National League South by storm after beating Hendon in the play-off final to secure promotion from the Bostik Premier Division last Monday.

The score was locked at 1-1 after extra time, but Hamlet won 4-3 in the penalty shootout with Dipo Akinyemi converting the decisive spot kick.

Ashley Nathaniel-George had given Hendon a first-half lead after Amadou Tangara’s mistake but Gavin Tomlin scrambled home the equaliser to ensure the game went the distance.

On the club’s ambitions for next season, chairman Liam Hickey said: “We’re ambitious, we have to remain ambitious, we have a very ambitious manager who if he thought we didn’t have the same aim he wouldn’t be with us.”

“If you stand still you go backwards.”

The club had been beaten twice in the play-off final in the last two years.

This season, they pushed Billericay Town for the title but finished second and so had to face the play-offs once more.

With that in mind, the club does not want to sit back next season, especially after all they’ve been through this year.

“Our aim is not to consolidate because if your aim for the bottom, you may hit rock bottom,” said Hickey.

“We believe that we can finish up at the top of the league.”

The play-off final was played Tooting and Mitcham’s home ground, Imperial Fields — Hamlet’s adopted home.

Dulwich were evicted from their home ground, Champion Hill, by Meadow Residential in March.

The American-based firm plan to develop on the ground, although they had their proposal rejected by Southwark Council.

Meadow remain adamant that they do not want to sell the land and have ceased communication with Dulwich Hamlet.

“I cannot understand why Meadow won’t talk to us to try and change the narrative to something that looks more favourable to them,” said Hickey.

“Lots of bridges have been burnt but at the end of the day, my aim is to bring Dulwich Hamlet back to Champion Hill.

“If I have to do a deal with Meadow than I will do that deal.”

The fans and social media presence of the club has been a huge part in gathering outside support for the club said Mr Hickey.

He believes that if it were not for the Hamlet fans, the club may not have survived.

As it stands Dulwich will likely be playing their home games at Tooting and Mitcham next season, however the club are adamant that they will return to Champion Hill soon.

Mr Hickey said: “This is a battle we ultimately will win.

“It’s not if we return to Champion Hill, it’s when.”

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