Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Chatting to the Gaffer to be!

For those of you hurredly looking in, after having seen my plug for this posting on the unofficial Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' Messageboard- don't worry folks...the panic is over! Craig Edwards will be in the First Team dug out for some time to come. Here I will be interviewing the new head honcho of "The Rabblers". None other that the man with the Pink 'n' Blue scarf that Tom Baker would be proud of: Mick O'Shaughnessy. He will be taking over running the Supporters' Team in January after our next European jaunt is completed, to Namur in Belgium. He will be ably assisted by Mark Hutton. They are replacing Lawrence Marsh & Andrew Tucker, who are standing down after three years of excellent service to the side.
So with his letter to Santa safely in the post asking for a full length managers coat, I took the time to chat to him on the terraces during our one nil home win over Eastbourne Town, just over a week ago.

RABBLER: You've been Chairman of the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' Trust, are their representative on the Club Commitee & now you are going to be in charge of the Supporters' Team. Is it a power thing with you?
MICK: Yes!
(Paul Griffin intervenes-When do you invade Poland? Mick replies: Something to be discussed. When there's disasters in places it's all about knowing when to get in and out. We'll work on it!)
But seriously, it's a desire to help, to do my bit. Others have done their bit in the past. After a few years there will be others to step into the breach when I feel my duty is done.

RABBLER: O'Shaughnessy and Hutton. To be frank it's not a pairing that immediately springs to mind when thinking of a dream team. Are you going to surprise a few people?
MICK: I'd certainly like to think so. With Hutty as my tight hand man, well you'd think he can't really surprise you anymore. But I'm sure he's got a few left hidden up his sleeve. As for our pairing, well it's a phrase that rolls off the tongue. Perfect!
Oh bollocks! Don't quote me on that! (Rabbler: The bollocks thing is referring to the game, not his new role!)

RABBLER: So what's the attraction of supporting Dulwich Hamlet for someone who lives out in the sticks in Purley?
MICK: Although I live a fair way from Champion Hill, I'm orginally a local boy. I'm a Peckham boy through and through. I was born in Camberwell, and as a kid lived in Talfourd Road, opposite Oliver Goldsmiths School, and then Moncrief Street, in Peckham, where the cinema now is. Everyone knew that Millwall was the main Football League club, and Dulwich Hamlet the non-league one. When I was at secondary school I came down, intially, to abuse one of my teachers who played for us, Dave Barker. That was at St. Thomas the Apostle, near Queens Road station, early to mid seventies. I'd always know that Dulwich Hamlet was there, but I stopping coming down for a few years. Then roughly a dozen or so seasons ago I returned, intiially on a bit of an irregular basis. The bug bit as each season went by, and now I go to as many games as I possibly can see.

RABBLER: When did you first turn out for the Supporters' Team? It was quite late in life wasn't it?
MICK: It was. Very late. Against Fulham Supporters', on a very muddy day at Motspur Park. I think we lost 10-0. We ended up staying in the clubhouse for a few jars, I think it was the BBC sportsground, as the First Team game for us had been called off. I thoroughly enjoyed the match. Especially getting to play in the same match as my son James, which cheered him up no end! I'm not entirely sure he thought I was being serious first of all when I told him I was going to have a run out!
I'd actually had no intentions of pulling my old boots back on until Andy Tucker was scrabbling about looking for some 'ringers' for his works team, and he then suggested I play for the Supporters' Team. And to be honest I'm actually really grateful he did. I've thoroughly enjoyed it ever since.

RABBLER: So who did you turn out for in your,erm, younger years?
MICK: Well first of all it was my school team, and then my church team. we stayed together and played fairly regularly until I was about 28 or 29. Although I did suffer a broken leg when I was about twenty. I was six months off work, and three months in plaster. It was my shin bone.

RABBLER: You've mentioned your boy James. No doubt his will be the first name on the team sheet. You're bound to favour your own aren't you? And I supposed he'll be excused paying match day subs too...
MICK: Of course, of course! That goes without saying. With regard to matchday fees I'm sure a generous man like Mr. Wright would be more than happy to 'donate' my sons subs, so that I personally don't have to dip my hand into my own pocket, which was the case when I was a 'mere' player. Who knows if old Wrighties does this he might even see more time on the pitch. And as a player, not just his stints as a referee or lino!

RABBLER: With regard to team selection, will you be using your personal charm to try to pursuade Lee Shailer to return to the side? He used to be one of our top supporters, only missing a couple of games in years, but he's hardly been seen this season.
MICK: No comment on Mr. Shailer's present situation! But I will be making the upmost effort trying to entice him back to the bosom of the squad.

RABBLER: Are you trying to imply that he's the tit of the team?
MICK: (laughs) no comment!

RABBLER: Larry & Andy ran the team for three years. A hard act to follow maybe? Will be be copying their 'tried and tested formula'; or do you have your own ideas for which direction you hope to take the team?
MICK: What 'tried and tested formula'? The fucking muppets! Erm, I mean...
Mr. Marsh & Mr. Tucker performed wonders with the team, & I hope, make that will endeavour, to instil the same traditions, and standards, as well as arranging a friendly standard of opposition, when both myself and Hutty run the show. They have set the benchmark, we will try to equal it, or go higher. Though if it does go a little pear shaped, then bear in mind that's Hutty not me!

RABBLER: You'll have seen quite a few Hamlet managers come and go. Who will you be basing your new role on?
MICK: ...(a big pause)...I'd like to base it on...(a long pause)... Who do I think? Who was a fucking decent Hamlet manager? I'd like to be my own man, I won't be basing myself on any of the others.

RABBLER: So there's no chance of people referring to "O'Shaughnessy and Hutton" as
the new "Ryan and Browne"?
MICK: (grins...) Over time that could well happen...

RABBLER: And as a player which Hamlet players do you model your game on?
MICK: I'd like to say Ossie Bayram, but I feel my speed has deserted me.

RABBLER: So you're more of a Lee Doherty type of player?
MICK: (anger starting to show!) No! Don't you dare compare me to that. An outrageous slur! I'm more of a Harry Cripps with the turning circle of the QEII!!

RABBLER: So who do you wish you could model your game on, given you are 'of the same build' as Peter Garland?
MICK: If I had the talent and looks of Peter Garland I'd have been a very happy man indeed!

RABBLER: So sadly, you can 'only' be plain old Mick O'Shaughnessy. What have been the most memorable moments so far of your Supporters' Team career?
MICK: I know people keep on going on about tours when they answer questions like this, but I simply can't forget Myles Quinn after his shopping trip through the boutiques of Rimini! He wore shirts that would make the most shameless of Hawaiians wear sunglasses! And that Union Jack number for someone half his age and half his size...
Also on that Rimini trip was the sight of us all walking back through a posh shooping district, on the coast, after our last game, when the last bus finished too early in the evening, and we had to walk back the last mile or so. It reall was surreal. It was a very funny moment, I was pissing myself laughing.
And there was of course a memorable moment for my right hand man Hutty, when he scored a goal in the PSG tournament in Namur, Belgium, back in May 2006. I was honoured to witness him become our oldest ever European goalscorer at the grand 'young' age of fity six! My personal aim is to be the oldest player to score a hat-trick, but part of me, deep down, thinks this might not come to pass.

RABBLER: As a team we've toured in a few European countries in the past. Every year at least once since 2002 in fact. But tell us about your ,er, unhealthy interest with Scottish football. What's all that about, and are you going to drag us all up there?
MICK: It's a day out at a new ground, that's all I'm saying. And yes, I would love the idea of a mini-tour up to Scotland some day.

RABBLER: When you take charge will there be a new level of professionalism in our approach to matches? Is there any pre-match sloppiness you will try to eradicate?
MICK: Yes! No hamburgers before games. no smoking & no alcoholic intake!

RABBLER: And where exactly do you hope to get a new squad to adhere to those rules exactly?
MICK: From the local convent by the sounds of it! But no, seriously, I just want everyone to have as much fun and enjoyment being part of the team, and for us to make & bolster friendships with other teams, as we have always tried to do over the years with the Supporters' Team.
(There is a wailing sound in the background, as Mark Hutton bursts into one of his sporadic country and western numbers)
And NO county & Western songs before games!

RABBLER: Whilst it is early days to think about your tenure, what plans are you going to put in play for "THe Rabblers" twentieth anniversary in eighteen months time?
MICK: Ah...I've no idea! I will have to give that some serious thought. Did the First Team play in Germany at the turn of the last century? I think there's an old photo in the boardroom. That's a possibility. Personally I like the idea of playing games in two countries on the same trip. But we will plan something decent, but bear in mind it will be based on a question of time, money, enough people being interested, and arranging the opposition. But I've got the summer tour of 2008 to worry about first!

RABBLER: Thanks for having a chat, good luck Gaffer!
MICK: Thanks. It's been a pleasure!

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Allez Rose et Bleu!

Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' 2, Bromley Supporters' 2.
Internet Football League
Saturday 17th November 2007
At Belair Park, Dulwich.

The Football team of our French neighbours came over the South London borders, and-unlike last season-when we got hit for six, with no reply- we bade the Hayes Lane Ultras' 'au revoir' with a share of the spoils, and our first points of the season!
The visitors arrived with a large squad for this encounter, as-somewhat unusually-did ourselves. Pre-match, based on form, it was a match the visitors would be expected to be quietly confident of bein on top, but this was not to be the case as "The Rabblers" more than matched their old rivals, and dare I say it begrudgingly, friends?
It was the Frenchies who took the lead after about twenty minutes or so. A somewhat scrappy goal, if truth be told, as the Hamlet defence tried to clear the vall out of the box, but failed miserably to do so, to conced the opening goal. This gave Bromley a fillup, and they started to pile on the pressure, but a superb Dulwich defensive rearguard managed to hold firm for a fair while, until finally the Ultras' broke through, and their slight dominance punished our gallant boys with a second goal. Another gift for them as we once again attempted to, but failed, to clear the ball, Matt Hammond made a great save, but could only get his hand on the rebound shot, which was just too powerful for him.
At this stage you might have expected 'game over' with heads dropping, as we head for, what was becoming this campaign at least, another gallant defeat. But, no! We were having none of that! From now it it was a case of: Heads up chaps! Il ne passeront pas!
The fightback had begun, and not too long before the half time whistle we had pulled a goal back when Ian Gannon scored. Game on! We pressured the Frenchies, so much so that they couldn't hold on until the interval, with Chris Garrett bagging the equaliser, to top our goalscoring charts for 2007/08! It was our guests from over the far flung borders of south-east London that looked rather relieved as they enjoyed their half time cigarettes and alcohol.
After a stirring team talk from our gaffer Monsieur LoLo Marais "The Rabblers" re-entered the fray truly believing that we could get something out of this game. And were not to be disappointed. Though no more goals came, we were worth our share of the spoils, with our 'never say die' attitude. In truth it was a fairly even second period, with the men from Champion Hill just edging it over 'les garcons from voie de hayes.' Both keepers had their work cut out, but our class and experience eventually told, even over their slightly better youth and fitness. More chances came our way in the last few moments, but we were held at bay for a very enjoyable, and keen but fairly played, honours even draw between the two sides. Roll on the return encounter at Norman Park later in the season!
Team: Matt Hammond; Chris Garrett; Jon Tennison; Lawrence Marsh; Ferenc Morath; James O'Shaughnessy; Chris Tabrett; Andy Murphy; Jack McInroy; Joel Virgo; Ian Gannon.
Subs:(all used)- John Prendergast; Gary Tabrett; Ian Wright; Kublia Hoare; Dawn Taylor; Darren Nicolas.
Match report kindly supplied by Chris Tabrett, rather belatedly unfortunately, as he's been in hospital, having suffered a clash of heads playing football recently, and recovering from a broken nose, which was why he was dressed up like an Egyptian mummy last night, watching the Eastbourne Town game!
Thanks for the report Chris!
And don't forget to scroll town a couple of posts, if you want to view some snaps of the match.