Upwards of £50k has been paid out for historical debts, confirm Dulwich Hamlet owners
On the pitch, Gavin Rose’s side just missed out on a place in the play-offs, finishing in sixth-place in the table with 82 points from 46 games, just one point adrift of fifth-placed AFC Hornchurch.
The Essex side will travel to Lowestoft Town to contest the play-off final on Bank Holiday Monday (3pm), which means the two highest placed clubs, Kingstonian and Bognor Regis Town both missed out on a chance of winning promotion along with Wealdstone, who go up automatically as league champions.
Matt Rimmer, speaking on behalf of The Hadley Group, issued an open letter to supporters on Dulwich Hamlet’s website today.
He said: “Since assuming the running of facilities at Dulwich Hamlet there have been many changes and so it is now a good time to bring you all up to date.
“We thought we should write and bring you up to speed with some of the things that have been happening at the ground since our arrival as property managers.
“Much of the first few months of our stewardship of the site has been spent resolving longstanding financial issues with the authority of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club Limited, and then, in turn, installing processes which will stop these same (or similar) issues from rearing their heads again.
“Payment of the outstanding invoices and dealing with the historical debts, we’ve had some sizeable invoices to contend with (both utilities and otherwise) and these continued to rear their heads for some time after the date on which we first became involved in the site.
“Upwards of £50k has been paid out for historical debts to date, without even considering the existing rental of the ground itself which is massively in arrears.
“We’re slowly getting a handle on the finances and the regular visits from bailiffs to the property have now stopped.
“Sorting this has been a full-time job, but slowly and surely the finances are getting close to being turned around.”
Fisher, who rent Champion Hill for their first team games, have also been given a major boost to remain there for next season, thus securing their status in the Southern Counties East Football League.
“Dulwich Hamlet Football Club Limited has entered into a ground-sharing agreement with Fisher FC so that club can continue using the Champion Hill Stadium while their own stadium is finished,” confirmed Mr Rimmer.
“A low fee is being charged, which just about covers overheads – the last thing that anyone wanted was to see Fisher in trouble when they’re so close to completing their move.”
Mr Rimmer wants to improve the facilities for football supporters on a match-day.
He said: “The refreshment arrangements on site have also been replaced. Apologies for any teething problems, but, hopefully, things have now settled down and you all find the food to your tastes!
“There wasn’t really any revenue for Dulwich Hamlet FC Ltd in the existing agreement, and so a change of personnel and some improved terms seemed the best step forwards.
“Thanks a lot for your patience whilst all this has been going on.
“We’ve also had to take steps to deal with the threat of the bar’s imminent closure.
“Previous management had meant that one of the first tasks was to attend a licensing committee, whose purpose it was to judge whether the club’s bar was even fit to continue serving alcohol.
“We have had to make several changes to the operation, including an immediate stop on the late-night parties, which had deservedly damaged our reputation with our neighbours.
“The track record of Hadley’s management in running high-class venues in London was an important factor in preventing the loss of the licence.
“In line with the above, we’ve also commissioned extensive works on the CCTV on the site, the alarm system and the security around the building.
“The new owner of Champion Hill Stadium has removed the uncertainty surrounding the occupation of the stadium and facilities by Dulwich Hamlet FC Ltd by granting a new licence.”
Mr Rimmer added: “We’d also like to extend sincere thanks to the volunteers on the football committee, who have been doing a great job holding the ship steady during some troubled times; and of course, to the supporters for bearing with us through undoubted teething problems.”
To read the statement in full, please visit Dulwich Hamlet’s website: