Saturday, 13 December 2014

I do love playing away

I do love playing away!

Nothing to see here, just another mighty away day at Peacehaven and Telscombe which ended with a round of 'don the wrestling mask'.  Dulwich Libre!






















Sunday, 20 April 2014

Return of the Ged-Eye. This time, it's serious.


Yesterday, I returned to Champion Hill for the first time in 11 months. It was a day of high drama, an afternoon for which The Stone Roses' “I Am The Resurrection” would make the perfect soundtrack, and not just because it was Easter weekend.

The visit of Leiston marked my season debut at the hallowed ground. The last time I was at the old place, that wondrous final game of the 2012/13 season against Burgess Hill, the beautiful Xavier Vidal sparked scenes of wild celebrations with his equalising pile-driver. That dreamy strike sealed the Hamlet's first championship win for 35 years.

As has been well documented, the mayhem that ensued that day spilled over a little in the dressing room after the game and I suffered a series of horrendous injuries. While rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated, it was touch and go for a while and, as I lay in pools of booze, football boots repeatedly thundering into my cranium, I wondered if I'd ever again be on the railings at the car wash end singing 'Edgar Kail in my heart, keep me Dulwich'.

Let it be known, I hold no grudges towards robust midfielder Luke Hickie for the pain he inflicted that day and the months of corrective plasmatic psycho surgery I have gone through since. In fact, the whole episode has made me stronger. I have grown as the months have passed, both emotionally and physically. Indeed, some of my old chums down at the Hill had trouble recognising me, and no wonder - I'm a good 2ft taller than the last time we danced the terraces together.


Before the game, it was very honourable of the great man Gavin Rose and his coaching team to invite me into the dressing room to meet the players, lay a wreath of leaves at the memorial to my honour in the shower cubicles and deliver a heart-guzzling team talk to the boys. It was highly emotive stuff. Clunis and Ottoway, that fancy-dan new lad with the statement-making surfboy hair, were roaring like lions and punching the walls. I glanced over to the far corner and Okoye and Deen were heads bowed, in floods of tears.

I can only think that had some bearing on events early in the first half. Our lads at the back had barely got into their stride when Leiston smacked in the opening goal. Nay bother, lad. The Turkish magician Erhun Otzumer soon started pulling the strings in the middle of the park. Harry H-bomb Ottoway with his brilliant locks and dazzling ball trickery, and Nyren Clunis, the Messi of the Ryman with his jaw-dropping pace and agility, were on song and giving the Leiston back four a torrid time. Before long, we were 2-1 up, galloping towards half-time and on course for the 3 points our superiority surely merited.

Unfathomably, we were caught cold at the start of the 2nd half as Leiston made it 2-2 and we struggled to re-impose ourselves on the game after that. We went down 3-2 to a stinker of a last-minute concession as the mighty Okoye unfortunately stumbled when some pundits may say he'd have been better off hoofing it. But hoofing it is not our style and I'm happy to continue our pursuit of liquid football perfection and unprecedented ball art if it means the odd slip-up at the back. It's not the result the matters, it's the manner in which you achieve it.

The crowds have gone up quite a bit during my enforced absence from the Hill. The new breed of new-veau are a marvellous bunch of sexy football buggers. They do like a banner (Lord knows what they sleep on – I'd be surprised if they have any bedsheets left) and they sure can belt out a tune. The lady with the drum was my personal favourite for the day. As for moment of the match. I'll never forget the Vornstyle tunnel manoeuvre after the final whistle. A tactical reshuffling of pure genius. 

We will no doubt need to emulate such wizardry in the coming days if we are to salvage a play-off berth and buy ourselves a ticket to the extended season of non-league festival football.

Oh. And we bought a fucking gnome! Brilliant.

#giraffes at the back
#gnomes upfront




Friday, 10 May 2013

APRIL SKIES: WHEN WE WERE KINGS

Dulwich Hamlet clinch promotion after nail-biting draw with Burgess Hill - and Champion Hill goes wild!
The heavens open
"Sometimes it snows in April" Prince once crooned. "Sometimes I feel so bad / Sometimes I wish life was never ending / And all good things they say never last." He also said 'Tracie died soon after the civil war' but I never really dug that bit. What a clot.

Anyhows, after the rollercoaster season we've just rattled through, confusion and craziness come as no surprise. A Shakespearean tragi-comic ending seemed inevitable. Would #wallgate come back to haunt us? Would Herne Bay prove to be one heady coastal trip too far? Could the curse of Burgess strike in the last game of the season?



Ged returned (see below) just in time to see the events of our final furlong unfold and they did so in ultimately glorious fashion.

The month started well. Three league wins out of three (9 goals for, 1 against) were peppered with a valiant 3-2 extra-time defeat in the League Cup Final to Concord Rangers (now promoted to the Conference South).

Then came #wallgate. The replay at Leatherhead was something of a sick joke. Covered in hard hats and high-viz jackets, our gallows humour on a downcast Tuesday evening died amidst the (alleged) racist chants and aggro from the Tanners home support who 'celebrated' their 1-0 win with vile abuse.

In hindsight it may have been the last drop of motivation we needed to haul ourselves across the finish line.

Herne Bay away was a riotous lark about with booze and narcotics flowing in equal measure as our Turkish midfield maestro sealed it yet again with a majestic free-kick and we crushed the bewildered and beautiful Bayers 3-1. We toppled Crawley Down Gatwick by the same scoreline at home. Top of the league. One to go.

Rose OztumerAnd so it came down to the last game of the season. It was such a strange day. While Maidstone were comfortably winning we needed a draw against Burgess Hill to be crowned champions. At 1-0 down it looked ominous. The prospect of another play-off melodrama loomed large. The half-time whistle went. The heavens opened and unleashed a torrent of huge hail stones, the like of which I've never seen, on our 1100-strong effervescent fans. Then the sun came out. And then we sang our ruddy hearts out until another worldy from Xavier Vidal pierced the Burgess defence just after the hour mark and we were suddenly 1-1. It was one-way traffic and party-time from then and the celebrations have barely calmed since.

"We did it for you, the fans" beamed Gavin Rose as he was mobbed on the pitch.
video


Ged was last seen dead on the home team's changing room floor. Police are still searching for midfielder Luke Hickie who has been persistently linked with the incident. RIP Ged. #prayfordeadged

Some pics and reports:
http://www.wimbledonguardian.co.uk/sport/10389686.Champions_Dulwich_Hamlet_are_loving_the_moment/
http://www.urban75.org/blog/dulwich-hamlet-clinch-promotion-after-nail-biting-draw-with-burgess-hill-and-champion-hill-goes-wild/
http://blog.martincloake.com/2013/04/28/champions-at-champion-hill/

Thursday, 28 March 2013

MISSING GIRAFFE: Help find Ged!

My name is Janice and I write to you from deepest Africa with the saddest of news...


I have just heard that my beloved cousin Ged, the hip-hopping crowd-pleaser of Champion Hill and veritable idol to Danny Carr, Erhun Otzumer and – most lately – Junior Kadi, has been reported missing to Brixton police by his adoptive parents. 

Worried sick, they telephoned me just last night with the story as they know it…








Three, that's the magic number
It seems Ged got a little high (and mighty) after Dulwich Hamlet's 3-0 victory over Whitstable the other weekend and decided to pop down the DogStar for a celebratory tipple and a wiggle of his bandy old legs on the dancefloor.

Ged’s a mover and a shaker alright – I remember that well from our youth back in the Serengeti. He could bust a caterpillar and pop a robot like no other beast in that damn jungle.

The Dogstar, Brixton: Scene of the crime
So, it seems he was similarly strutting his funky stuff at 3am in the Dog when some junked up hoodlums decided to make fun of his pink and blue Dulwich Hamlet scarf. CCTV has captured the moment where they then chased Ged into the street and set upon him with a bicycle chain and blow-torch. I can only begin to imagine the utter terror poor Ged endured in those horrific moments.


Throughout all this his parents were sleeping just moments away and were unfortunately too drunk to be awoken by the violent animalistic howls that careered around the streets of Brixton that soggy, angst-fuelled night.

Long train running
A local drug dealer attempted to step in and offer the aggressive youths some weed to chill but they were having none of it. A scuffle with the dealer ensued for a brief moment before police arrived on the scene to add significantly to the chaos.

On the run: Scarf-face
All this mayhem did at least deter the hoodlums sufficiently for Ged to make an escape route for himself. And so he galloped down Atlantic Road, up the stairs to the train platform and along the tracks to what I can only hope now was pure freedom.

Since then, there have been no further reported sightings.

I pray for Ged and hope he is only in hiding and shall return again. Perhaps he is reading this now. If you are Ged, please contact us. We miss you so much and just want to know you’re ok. 

I know you’re as fragile and sensitive to torment as you are embracing of pleasure, and so I still believe you are out there somewhere Ged and shall return again to see your beloved Dulwich Hamlet triumph over their arch-rivals T*****g, rise gloriously above the Stones to the top of the league and, as has been your greatest wish since you started supporting Gavin and his merry band of liquid footballers… CARRY ON UP THE RYMAN!

#PrayForGed #dhfc #KadiIsKing




Sunday, 17 February 2013

This Charming Dan

Hey ho, popsicle toes! 

And greetings from the sun-soaked, promotion-fuelled metaphorical island of 'Las Ryman Premier Here I Come'.


It's been a frenetic couple of weeks, guys and gals. But as my old uncle Jerry used to say, what makes you tired makes you happy; and what makes you happy really should make you tired! So, let me fill you in...

The high price of the fame game
First off, following my last post, I had that lovely little Turkish fella Erhun Oztumer all over my long-legged ass on the social sites and personal email channels. Now, it was very touching for a few days. But it just got too much. He was hounding me for autographs, begging for invites to the top-tier south London celeb-giraffe bashes, subtly arranging accidental meet-ups outside the East Dulwich Dorchester for non-league paparazzi. 

Now look. I love the guy, I seriously do, but I want this to be known and stated on record that the Turkish legend has been mobbing me of late, so I had to tell him to ease back a touch and give me some creative space. Just for a couple of weeks. I can tell you with happy heart that he respected the decision, the legals were swiftly resolved and we move on. He's a beautiful man. Nuff said.

Please, please, please...
Anyhows, following that heady phase, I've been taking in a little “me time” these past few days, I don't mind telling you. Amidst the day job of United Nations diplomatic advisory committees and the rushing wild dreams of promotion of an evening-time - to which I seem to be very partial this month - I have also been frequently diving into my back catalogue of Smiths albums. 

And here's the doobie... I've realised that the connections between our wonderful Dulwich Hamlet and those jovial-yet-melancholic Morrissey and Marr-penned gems are multifarious and spookily striking. Check it out, kids... For Hand In Glove, read Phil Wilson and his masterful, dominant goalkeeping prowess. I hear Panic, and I think of the anxious, dishevelled defensive mayhem I witness every time I see Nyrun Clunis marauding down the wing towards an opposition's penalty box. And above all I see Daniel Carr climb majestically in the air to meet an Ellis Green peach of a cross and the opening chords of This Charming Man just melt through my brain and slide deep into my soul. 

Hot on the heels of that penultimate thought, I leave you with this final one...

Three years of heartbreak. Leatherhead. Injury time. Bognor. Missed penalty. Gavin Rose. Hope. Liquid football. We are ready, my friends. Come join the fucking army! 

video

Carry on up the Ryman.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

My name is Ged. I have an unhealthy obsession with Turkish delight

Now, where do I start with this one? I'm a tad coy, you see. A tiny bit shy. Ok, sod it. I'll start with the fact that... I once heard a rumour.

Yes, a rumour that was all about a lovely little chap called Erhun Aksel Oztumer.

You don't know him?

Ok. Let me tell you a short tale of his footballing journey. He came all the way from Turkey, you see - where he used to play professionally for a wee while.


He came to play a most special, mercurial brand of football and, indeed, bring us a significant amount of happiness, excitement and joy.

Erhun is a diminutive little fella – he claims to be 5ft 3, but the terraces swear blind he's no more than 5'2. But I don't mind that. What's an inch between friends, eh? (Simmer down at the back there).

The only thing that matters is that he's pink and blue. And Gavin, God and all you crazy scouts out there, I beg of you just one thing, on behalf of all us lunatic fringe Hamlet fans and the Turkish Ultras alike... PLEASE DON'T TAKE MY ERHUN AWAY!

So, to summarise...

I heard a rumour
Erhun Oztumer
He came from Turkey
To bring us joy
He's 5ft 2
He's pink and blue
Oh please don't take
My Erhun away

Over and out... Carry on up the Ryman!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Keeping it Casual

I whooped with joy at the weekend. (Some say giraffes can't whoop and that they only snaffle and snuffle like a muffled horse, but they're wrong). So, why did I whoop? Well, a couple of reasons...

First of all, following the 2-2 derby day draw in my first Champion Hill game on Jan 1st, I witnessed my first Dulwich win on Saturday, thanks to their eventually-comfortable 3-0 demolition job of Corinthian-Casuals.

And secondly, it seems I made quite a name for myself on the terraces and in the dugouts, as the trickle of photographic evidence weaving its way around twitter this week suggests.

I must confess I had a spurt of the palpitations at one point when I thought the grumpy Corinthian-Casuals manager was going to knock my block off, but we all came out of it unscathed, a little tipsy and three points to the good.

Top of the table. Carry on up the Ryman!