Dulwich Hamlet 0, Bognor Town 2
To Curva del Transpontine! …on a gloriously sunny South London Saturday afternoon, for the latest installment in the Dulwich Hamlet post-promotion party.
Truth be told and simply surviving the Ryman Premier would have been seen as a result. To be sitting top of the table as the nearby Sainsbury starts to go EASTER EGG CRAZY is quite unthinkable.
But Forest’s big red inflatable ballon continued to rise, much like Gavin Rose’s remarkable team down at the Dulwich.
Two consecutive defeats should lead to a deflating pink ‘n’ blue pop. But somehow the Hamlet are still top of the league, still playing a level of football deserving of a higher level and still continuing to grow within the community.
Bring on, um, Bognor Regis Town.
So yeah – make that three consecutive defeats. But we’re still somehow top of the league and the crowd down at Curva del Transpontine on Saturday was bloody impressive.
The boys from Bognor were equally impressive both on and off the field. I continued with my fashionably late arrival, just in time to see the away team stroke in a goal at the back of the Car Wash End.
Time for something slightly more social.
I often wonder why I bother watching the actual football when Dulwich Hamlet has become something of a South London social club, attracting some lovely, lovely people that fit perfectly into how you go about living your own life.
Which seems a bit heavy, much like the effort that Dulwich were struggling with on the pitch. In the rare moments in the first half when the football was in focus, it was Bognor that were looking the sharpest.
But we make our own fun down at the Dulwich. If the grown up conversations were a little wonky, then why not start your own Hamlet Olympics?
Fine work from the little ankle biters down the back of the Sainsbury’s Side, running 50m sprints until their little pink ‘n’ blue heads turned all, pink.
It was T-shirt weather for the second half when The Rabble gathered down at the Car Wash End. The boys from Bognor had left a little stink bomb to greet us.
At least that’s what I think it was.
With the sun shining across the fields of Champion Hill, those less fortunate to not be wearing a cap were squinting as Bognor kept most of the possession down at the other end.
It was just like being in… TUSCANNY.
An attack of the flags almost impaled my view. There wasn’t a lot to see football wise. I rather enjoyed the frisson of cheap pink ‘n’ blue man-made fibres brushing over my stubbly chin.
The Rabble started to warm up, and soon it was time to get yer keys out for the lads. I feared slightly an adult-style key swapping party.
Don’t fancy yours much, etc.
But I DO LOVE being amongst The Rabble.
The Car Wash End didn’t exactly analyse every move in the final fifteen minutes of the game. The three home points may have been lost, but where’s the joy in pondering what might have been when you can party with The Rabble?
If my Uncle was my Aunty, and if T**t*ng and M*tch*m were geographically a little closer to the Transpontine heartlands.
Who needs football counterfactuals when you are amongst a BONKERS group of fans that just want to have some pink ‘n’ blue FUN?
Despite the 2-0 defeat, this didn’t really seem like a loss.
As the banner so proudly declares:
WE HAVE ALREADY WON THE MORAL VICTORY
So I cycled back up Champion Hill [puff, pant, puff puff, pant] buoyed by a 2-0 pink ‘n’ blue home defeat.
Back in the day down at Trentside and such a calamitous sporting outcome would have ruined my weekend. Instead I felt the opposite. An afternoon down at the Dulwich is always good for the soul.
I felt enlivened; I felt communal. I felt knackered after the Col du Dog Kennel.
Back in two weeks for the pink ‘n’ blue birthday celebrations, Comrades.