Rabble Rouser column: No holds barred for Forward the Hamlet

Sports Desk (17 January, 2019) Sport Dulwich Hamlet Football

Why the podcast set to be more 'sombre' when it returns

25177Dulwich Hamlet players and fans celebrate promotion in May 2018. Image: Duncan Palmer Photography

OUR DULWICH Hamlet reporter, Ben Henderson, on the history of the popular podcast Forward the Hamlet and why it is an important medium.

Dulwich Hamlet’s  very own podcast, Forward the Hamlet, is set to return over the upcoming weeks.

Those familiar with the podcast will be aware of its entertaining and occasionally auspicious contributors. Henceforth, listeners will have to get used to a new voice on the team – yours truly, but don’t let this fact dampen any enthusiasm!

Long-term hosts Hugo Greenhalgh and Ben Sibley will still be present. Hugo, one of the podcast’s founding fathers, recounted how it all began.

The Stockwell resident first attended a Hamlet game on the opening day of the 2013-14 season. He recalled his first taste of the club and how he caught the Hamlet bug.

“I went down with a few friends and absolutely loved it,” he said. “I realised that I had a great non-league club right on my doorstep, so I started coming more and more regularly.”

Hugo soon befriended a fellow fan named Jack McInroy, son of the locally renowned ‘Hamlet Historian’ – also called Jack McInroy. Jack (junior) hosted a podcast dubbed ‘South London Hardcore’, which was the precursor to Forward the Hamlet.

“On the last day of that season he suggested to me that we should do a Dulwich Hamlet podcast, and we just took it from there, Hugo explained.”

The podcast covers all things Hamlet – from player, management and fan interviews to off-field projects such as fundraising and charity awareness events.

Hugo underlined the elements that make the podcast special.

“I think first and foremost Ben Sibley and I are Dulwich Hamlet fans. We love this club and we put a lot of time into following this team. In that sense, I think we’re able to give something a bit different [to the club’s other media] – we are able to provide the voice from the terraces.

“The format allows great scope for humour…and telling the stories that might not be heard in the official match programme or highlights.”

Hugo alluded to some of his personal highlights from the podcast.

“I’ve really enjoyed speaking to some of the players over the years, particularly those who have been at Premier League academies or have had the opportunity to play abroad. They’ve always got such great stories, but perhaps haven’t had the media exposure of professionals, so you never quite know what you’re going to get when you stick a microphone in front of them.

“I found out a few weeks ago that [Hamlet goalkeeper] Preston Edwards listens to the podcast, which was quite gratifying. He says that he really likes what we’re doing. I’m sure not every player listens, but it’s nice to know that at least some do.”

However, Hugo’s greatest personal highlight came when the issue of Dulwich’s stadium was taken to parliament and MP Helen Hayes ended her speech by addressing the Deputy Speaker with the proclamation: “Forward the Hamlet!”

Hugo cast light on what listeners can expect from upcoming episodes.

“We’re in a bit of a strange situation with the jubilation of returning to Champion Hill bringing three sell-out games, but equally the performances have been pretty bad.

“I think we need to hold people to account, which is another role that the podcast can play.

“Unfortunately, we’re going to have to muse over where it’s gone wrong recently and what we can do to try and get things back on track. So, the next podcast will be a bit more sombre than previous ones, but that’s football, isn’t it?”

Forward the Hamlet is available on all the major podcast platforms including Itunes, Acast and Mixcloud. The specific release date of the next episode will be announced on the Forward the Hamlet website and Twitter feed (@ForwardHamlet).

It seems only right that the supporters, to which the survival of Dulwich Hamlet owes so much, are given a medium through which to express their views. On my part, I am thoroughly looking forward to contributing to it.

Image: @photodunc

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