With over 100 years of history playing in the Isthmian football League, Dulwich Hamlet are a familiar name around the non league scene in the south of England. In recent years Dulwich have developed an outstanding reputation for producing youth players not only for the Dulwich team but also players who they have been able to move on to Football League clubs.
Academic and Sporting Inspired Routes to Excellence (A.S.P.I.R.E) was set in 2002 with the aim of giving young males aged between 16 and 18 years of age the chance to improve their education and give them a chance to play professional football. It’s very easy for young players to become distracted around the age of 16 and some can lose focus on their football. These distractions can lead to youngsters becoming involved in crime. Most football clubs think that if you are not at a big club by the time you are 16 to 18 you are not good enough.
That’s where Dulwich Hamlet come in. Dulwich offered these young players a chance to stay in football by getting involved with the Dulwich Hamlet youth system. Over the last few years Dulwich have had a lot of success moving players on to football League clubs. Chris Dickson signed for Charlton Athletic in 2007 for £35,000. At Dulwich Hamlet’s level that type of money can go a long way. Players like Carl Asaba, George Ndah, George Elokobi and Leon Cort have all worn the pink and blue of Hamlet.
In recent seasons Dulwich seem to have benefited well from their relationship with A.S.P.I.R.E. Last season Dulwich only lost out on promotion after losing the Isthmian South Division Play-Off final to Bognor Regis and the season before that they lost the Play-off final to Leatherhead.
In the last two seasons two of Dulwich Hamlet youngsters have moved to Crystal Palace. Quade Taylor joined the Eagles after impressing for the Hamlet youth team in the FA Youth Cup. Michael Chambers is another to move from Hamlet to Palace, making the same journey as legendary Palace and Arsenal striker Ian Wright.