Monday 14 August 2023

John Hammond, Rest in Peace.

It is very regretful that we have to report the death of another former Dulwich Hamlet footballer. 

This morning saw the peaceful passing of John Hammond, The 84 year old had been taken seriously ill a few weeks ago. Coming only a week after the sudden death of Kimm Connett it has been a very sad period for the club. 

John was born in Islington on 27 Oct 1938 and became a Dulwich player in the late 1950s. 

Victorious captain Hammond held aloft by his Army Pay Corps teammates 
including Roy Wootton, second from right.

During his National Service – when young men in their late teens were conscripted into the Armed Forces for a couple of years – John served in the Royal Army Pay Corps. It was whilst playing for the football team that he met and became close friends with Roy Wootton. Roy encouraged John to get a trial with Dulwich Hamlet as soon as he finished his service. Both Roy and John went on to have good careers with the Hamlet. 

His position in the Dulwich side also meant a job opening as a junior clerk with Office Cleaning Services. OCS were connected with Dulwich Hamlet for decades and many players worked for the company. 

A solid defender, right fullback or centre half, John was elected the club’s vice-captain several times over a career that spanned the 1960s. John’s son Richard told me that although his father escaped major injuries …he did manage to collect several broken noses!

One of the highlights of his playing days was the opening of the Champion Hill floodlights in October 1964, when Football League leaders Chelsea brought their first team squad of professionals to take on the Hamlet amateurs.

He retired from his playing career with Dulwich Hamlet at the end of the 1969/70 season, having made 247 appearances. He then became an active member of the board. His achievements included organising the building of the squash courts at the old Champion Hill ground. 

Our deepest sympathies to son Richard and the rest of the family.

John Hammond, second player from left middle row.

John Hammond’s Dulwich Hamlet career. Seasons in which he made more than 10 appearances.

1959/60           12        

1960/61           26        

1961/62           29

1962/63           39

1963/64           24

1964/65           30


1966/67           35

1967/68           26

1968/69           14


Wednesday 9 August 2023

The Passing of Kimm Connett

 Kimm Connett

It was with the greatest of sadness that we learned of the passing of former Dulwich Hamlet player Kimm Connett at the age of 65. Only a few days ago I was wishing him a happy birthday on social media.


Kimm was often updating his Facebook groups and Twitter page. Whether it was promoting Hug A Bug World which he co-founded, a parent-run organisation that encourages the well-being and natural emotional development of children, or flagging up anything Dulwich Hamlet related, Kimm was there posting and tweeting.


A meek and caring individual online, he was the same in the flesh. It was a real pleasure when he sought you out in the crowd to have a chat. In the last seven or eight years Kimm reacquainted himself with the club he had held dear to his heart from a child, setting up the Dulwich Hamlet Former Players Association and creating a network of links to encourage and inform. In so doing he reunited many old teammates from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and on to the present day.


And yet he never hogged the limelight and certainly didn’t ask financial help in organising a number of events that brought other former stars together. These included golf days against ex-Sutton United players that were very popular. Kimm, in fact, had been the chairman of the Dulwich Hamlet Former Players Golf Society for more than a quarter of a century. His father Pat Connett was one of the founder members in 1960. Kimm was a little boy at the time and spent many a Saturday afternoon in the sixties roaming round the vast edifice that was the Hamlet’s previous Champion Hill ground, where Pat, had moved upstairs to an officer role at the club. 


Despite having been a playing legend himself during the immediate post war period, Pat Connett said in later life that his greatest memory was when his son Kimm pulled on the pink and blue shirt for the first time.


That moment took place in 1977 when Dulwich Hamlet manager Alan Smith plucked the nineteen year old centre forward from Charlton Athletic where he had begun his career. I’m not sure if Kimm ever played a first team game for Charlton, but not long ago he produced the team sheet for his professional debut match in the reserves v Millwall. Strangely his captain that day in 1975 was the iconic 'Lion' Harry Cripps playing against his old club. And in the Millwall side, two of Kimm’s future teammates at Dulwich, Alan Hart and George Borg! For the record Kimm bagged a brace in a 5-4 win.

Kimm Connett standing 4th from left

Over the five seasons from 1977/78 to 1981/82 Kimm amassed 63 goals in 191 games. In his first season Dulwich achieved promotion from the Isthmian League Division One back to the Premier. Other highlights would have included participation in the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1979/80, with trips to Italy to play Triestina and Mantova, and Cavese and Campobasso at home, and in reaching the quarter final of the FA Trophy that same season. Dulwich were overcome by Boston United of the Alliance League, whose manager commented at the time that Connett was one of the best headers of a ball he had seen. Like most of us who saw Kimm play, he could not for the life of him understand why he was taking all the throw-ins when his aerial ability suggested he should be in the penalty box himself.


Bitter rivals Tooting and Mitcham United signed Kimm for the 1982/83 campaign but he was back at Dulwich before the season was out, re-joining in March to bump his appearances up to 202 and his goal tally up to 64.


The close season saw him represent Middlesex Wanderers in a tournament in Dhaka, Bangladesh ,where he played matches against the home nation, Malasia, China, India and Iraq.


Then he was gone, crossing the Thames to East London and Walthamstow Avenue.

On his return to Champion Hill in September 1983, as a member of the opposition, Kimm played in a game that is now part of Dulwich Hamlet folklore. The Avenue were leading 2-0 at half time before Dulwich reduced the arrears early in the second half. Cometh the hour-mark cometh the man. Off the bench comes Karl Richards and in a twelve minute spell scored four goals to win the match for the home side. I’m sure Kimm would have had a wry smile at that comeback.


Kimm kindly put so much back into his beloved Dulwich Hamlet in the last few years. His contributions have been appreciated by dozens, if not hundreds of people. He will be sorely missed, not just by his close family and friends, to whom we offer our deepest condolences, but by many of us, supporters, staff and ex-players.


May he rest in Peace.

Monday 10 July 2023



Pa Wilson, the founder of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club, perceived early on that his young players might like to see their names in print. A keepsake, something to file away in a drawer or in a scrapbook and show their parents and friends. After all, most of them were still teenagers.

Pa arranged for local printers Lydall & Sons to print the matchday programmes with team line-ups, and a paragraph or two introducing the visitors and a brief report of the previous week’s game. And when his charges went off to war Pa produced regular information sheets – ‘News of the Pink and Blue Brigade’ – which were mailed to the Hamlet boys on the Western Front. Lydall’s was there from the club’s inception right through to the 1970s churning out the annual handbooks, season tickets, stationery and all other club literature.


Pa Wilson was long gone by the fiftieth anniversary of his club. By then another world war was raging. Celebrations were understandably muted, and as far as I am aware there was nothing printed up. That had to wait for another 25 years.


The ‘75th Anniversary’ book was published in 1968, with over a hundred pages of text charting the history of the Dulwich Hamlet Football Club from its beginnings in the late Victorian period to the swinging sixties. The book is split into three sections: ‘The Growth of the Club’ tells the story of the early days, and the rise from a junior side to become one of the most respected teams in the south east. The ‘Success Between the Wars’ chapter shows Dulwich Hamlet as arguably the finest Amateur club in the country.  In ‘The Struggle After the War’ the club is in real decline, having to seek re-election on more than one occasion to remain in the Isthmian League.


The book’s content is really made up of text from the annual handbooks, and in many cases verbatim. All the Hamlet results in the Isthmian League from the 1907/08 to 1966/67 season are documented. Players’ individual honours are also listed, as are the names of every club officer from 1893. The foreign tours record long forgotten wins against some well-known European clubs like Borussia Monchengladbach, Ajax and Athletic Bilbao. 

The preface by Sir Stanley Rous, Head of FIFA, who in his earlier days had refereed at Champion Hill, shows he held Dulwich in very high regard, despite the barren period they were going through.


This publication is well worth seeking out and adding to your collection. 


It was a further quarter of a century before the next official publication. The ‘100thAnniversary Centenary Brochure 1893 – 1992’ was a great disappointment and a wasted opportunity. The booklet, A4 in size, gave a potted history of the club and reproduced a handful of rare photographs. But 18 of those 32 precious pages …were advertisements! Presumably to pay for the printing. 


The centenary ushered in a new era for Dulwich Hamlet, and took place at the time of demolition of the old Champion Hill ground and the building of the present one.


At this point it may be worth mentioning John Lawrence. John took over producing the programme in the early 1970s, and until his recent ill health had faithfully written all the copy, updated all the stats, arranged the printing, and so on for nigh on 50 years. His sterling efforts have been very much appreciated far and wide and if anyone is worthy of the moniker Hamlet Historian, it is JL. We trust he makes a speedy recovery.


In the 1980s another club legend, the young Mishi Morath took it upon himself to produce, almost single-handedly, a fanzine dedicated to Dulwich Hamlet. After a couple of attempts he came up with the ‘Champion Hill Street Blues’, the king of the Hamlet fanzines, a title that ran for over a decade. CHSB was far from official, and was initially sub-titled ‘the independent supporters magazine.’ It allowed contributors to make fun of the club, the players, officials and fellow fans, as well as make necessary or unnecessary criticism. And there was always the right to reply, which Mishi would always publish. Sometimes we went over the top – it seemed like fun at the time – and we may now be slightly embarrassed at one or two of the things we published.


Other notable fanzines include Four Goals With His [H]’ead, Thinkin’ Pink n’ Talkin’ Blues, Pink n’ Booze and The Moral Victory. 


By the mid-nineties I had started to gain an interest in the history of the club. I read the 75 Year book at the Local Studies Library at the Borough, and dug deep through untold microfilms of old local newspapers. This resulted in my first professionally produced book ‘The Story of a Season’ about the 1919/20 campaign when Dulwich won the Isthmian League and FA Amateur Cup double. The print run was 600 and to our amazement they sold out.


I followed this up with something similar about the ‘1912/13 Season’. Produced on the office ink duplicator, collated and stapled, with a print run of 100, it went like hot cakes. It was clear there was an interest in the history of the Hamlet. What better time to produce a magazine called the Hamlet Historian. Again, this was another of Mishi’s initiations. ‘The occasional magazine for those interested in the history of Dulwich Hamlet’ as he called it, was exactly that. I am extremely proud of my association with the HH, especially some of the books that have sprung from it.


The ‘war dead’ books by Roger Deason (When Shall Their Glory Fade) and Steve Hunnisett (For Freedom) commemorated over two dozen players who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the two World Wars. These books were notable for delivering fresh information of the lives and service records of those whose names we only really knew from the bronze war memorial located in the foyer at the entrance to the present ground. It is now in the boardroom and was originally above the players’ tunnel at the old ground.


Roger’s interest in the period, combined with his excellent research skills, saw him put together much information about football at Champion Hill during WWI, when Dulwich were depleted of playing staff and eventually had to rely on a group of teenagers. Led by the legendary Edgar Kail the youngsters filled the boots and pink and blue shirts of those on active service. The result was another book ‘Quite Wrong To Do So’. Although this was published independently, the HH did commission Roger to write a book about the football teams in Dulwich in the 1870s and 1880s before a certain Dulwich Hamlet FC was formed in 1893. ‘Before The Hamlet’ is a welcome addition to the library.

The Only Way Is Up’ is a lovely book, recounting the extraordinary Isthmian League Division One South championship winning season of 2012/13. It has a proper fanzine feel about it, with its different styles of writing and contributions from both nouveau and old school Rabblers.


A handsome full colour photo essay ‘Home – Dulwich Hamlet 10 Months In Exile’ by club photographer Duncan Palmer, chronicles the club’s fight with property developers to remain at Champion Hill, and the tenure at Tooting & Mitcham United’s Imperial Fields. It was there, at the home of our bitter rivals, that Dulwich won the Isthmian League play-off final and promotion to the National League South in 2018.


For another HH project we teamed up with former Finnish footballer Harri Laine to recount the amazing career of one of Finland’s pioneer sportsmen. ‘Niilo TammisaloHamlet Stroller to Hall of Famer’ is a concise biography of the acclaimed bespectacled goalkeeper, who spent several months in England in 1922 and made a number of appearances for the Dulwich Hamlet Reserves and the Strollers team. 


Edgar and Adolf’ by Phil Earle and Michael Wagg is a fictional account of Dulwich Hamlet’s greatest son and the friendship he had with his Altona 93 counterpart. Kail and Jager did actually play against each other in 1925 – between the wars – in a friendly match during the Hamlet’s Easter tour of Germany. The book is aimed at teenagers but is just as easily enjoyed by adults. Almost a century after that original game took place the two celebrated figures names still live on. Altona 93 play at the Adolf Jager stadium whilst the Dulwich ground is located at Edgar Kail Way. Even more importantly is the wonderful friendship which has developed over the past decade between the two clubs following the chance meeting of Mishi and Jan Stover.


Most of the above books from recent times are out of print and very difficult to find. The exception is Waggy and Phil’s book which is available on Amazon and from all good booksellers. However, my ‘Hussein Hegazi – Dulwich Hamlet’s Egyptian King’ from 2019 has taken on a life of its own. Hegazi was a pre-First World War sensation at Champion Hill and marvelled fans at home and abroad with his great skill and trickery. Aside from Dulwich he also represented Cambridge University, the Corinthians and the English Wanderers. On his return to Egypt he was one of the key figures in the development of Egyptian football. Earlier this year an Egyptian publisher made a request to translate the book into Arabic. We gave them permission and it has now been showcased at the Cairo International Book Fair and in Abu Dhabi. Absolutely amazing!


Jack McInroy,

June 2023.    

Thursday 6 July 2023

Dulwich Hamlet in Print

Dulwich Hamlet in Print

This evening (6July 2023) 8:00pm at The Shirker’s Rest, New Cross, will be an informal meeting to chat about books. 

See poster attached for details. 

The Hamlet Historian has produced a little booklet for the occasion marking some of the literature that relates to Dulwich Hamlet FC. 

I hope to have some at Saturday’s game against Altona 93.

£1 each / cash only.

This evening's gig is part of a wide range of events to coincide with the visit of Altona's team and supporters from Hamburg, Germany.  

The most important part of course is Saturday's match at Champion Hill. Please turn up for that as our visiting friends have come a long way.