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PICTURE SPECIAL: Dulwich Hamlet return to Champion Hill

(Picture: Duncan Palmer)

Dulwich Hamlet celebrated their return to Champion Hill with a Boxing Day win over Eastbourne Borough in front of 3000 fans.

The resilient South London club finally returned home for Christmas after being kicked out of their ground earlier this year by bully-boy owners Meadow Residential.

The property development company became embroiled in a dispute with Southwark Council over plans to redevelop land near the stadium and subsequently Hamlet were forced to leave.

WE’RE HOME! The shutters are opened on Boxing Day for Dulwich’s triumphant return. Picture: Duncan Palmer.

Tooting and Mitcham kindly agreed for Dulwich to groundshare at their Imperial Fields home while the club battled for a return to Champion Hill.

The club still managed to win promotion last season via the Bostik League play-offs despite not playing on their own patch.

HOME SWEET HOME: A crowd of 3000 packed into Champion Hill to see them beat Eastbourne. Picture: Duncan Palmer.

PARTY TIME: Jubilant Dulwich fans back inside Champion Hill. Picture: Duncan Palmer.

The club’s campaign to return home was galvanised by a number of large scale protests organised by supporters, which received the backing of Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn and other local politicians and public figures.

HALLOWED TURF: Players walk out onto the pitch for the first time since March. Picture: Duncan Palmer.

Following a meeting between Meadow Residential and Sports Minister Tracey Crouch in October, a deal was struck to allow Dulwich to return home.

The club’s loyal volunteers then spent weeks tidying up the stadium and treating the pitch to have it match-ready for their Boxing Day fixture.

PLAY ON: A 2-1 win moved Dulwich well clear of the relegation zone. Picture: Duncan Palmer.

Ashley Carew struck Dulwich’s first goal back at Champion Hill in the second half before Nyren Clunis added another with 15 minutes left.

Charlie Walker netted a late consolation for Eastbourne, but it did little in dampening the home fans’ spirits.

HAPPY HAMLET: Ashley Carew celebrates his opener. Picture: Duncan Palmer.

HEAD FOR HEIGHTS: Nyren Clunis adds Dulwich’s second. Picture: Duncan Palmer.

FOR THE FANS: Captain Michael Chambers thanks Dulwich supporters. Picture: Duncan Palmer.

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