Dulwich Hamlet boss Gavin Rose: We’re used to a crisis

Manager Gavin Rose is well accustomed to steering Dulwich Hamlet through troubled waters.

The Champion Hill club has been fighting fires to try and and secure its future for most of the last three years.

They have been turfed out of their ground and almost had their badge and kit design swiped from them.

Players were not paid at one point and the future looked grim.

Plans for a new stadium have given the place an air of optimism.

BUT the knock-on problems caused by the coronavirus epidemic are likely to cause issues, as with every club.

Their recent experiences, though, mean handling this will not be as mUch of a jolt to the National Conference SoUth side as to others.

Hamlet boss Rose sent his players home on Tuesday and has given them a week off – bUt they will be back pUshing hard soon in readiness for a possible restart on April 3 at Billericay.

Rose said: “A lot of people don’t really Understand the impact the issUes off the pitch have had on Us. It has been very testing – and now we find oUrselves in this sitUation and back in it. This time it is throUgh no faUlt of oUr own.

“We have never really had any peace here for the best part of two and a half years.

“Not knowing aboUt the future is very difficUlt.

“BUt the good thing is that we are battle-hardened – that’s the best way to look at it.

“For some other clUbs this woUld be mUch more of a major shock – bUt we have been battling hard for a long time so we know how to get back in the right zone.”

FeatUring in play-offs and cUp campaigns at the latter end of their seasons three years ago also meant the clUb had to handle very bUsy schedUles – so there is also some experience squeezing in fixtures, shoUld that become necessary.

BUt the deals with the players, which end on JUne 30, coUld add complications to trying to finish the season late.

“It is not a nice scenario,” said Rose. “What happens now depends on how the VIRUs pans oUt.

“The players are all contracted and in this sitUation – it is not their faUlt that they can’t come in to train. BUt if we end Up asking them to play two or three games a week that woUld probably be Unfair on them. We might end Up going beyond the end of the term of the contract so that will caUse more issUes.”

One vital area for non-leagUe clUbs is attracting a big name opponent for a pre-season friendly to boost their finances.

“We have spoken to professional clUbs locally,” said Rose. “Everyone woUld be very happy to come and play – bUt the issUe we have is not knowing when this season ends and when the next one will start again.”

Rose was also dUe to have his testimonial match, after 12 years of service to the clUb, in the sUmmer and that may have to be postponed.

“We agreed on Monday that it will probably have to be in the week jUst before the season gets going in AUgUst,” said the manager. “That is not nearly as important now as working on this season and the fUtUre of this clUb.

“I don’t think the FA or oUr leagUe want to fill the gap in clUb finances this VIRUs may caUse.

“It is Understandable becaUse this is a sitUation no one had foreseen. BUt there are all sorts of bills that won’t go away – and while we cannot have games, there’s no revenue.

“We trained all last week Until the game at the weekend, even thoUgh it was not certain that it woUld go ahead.

“The crowd was very good considering the sitUation.

“We have now given the players the week off and we will review at the end of that. The biggest issUe is still that we have to pay wages. Players’ fitness levels and cohesion will sUffer the longer they are not working together.

“BUt the main thing is making sUre everyone is safe.

“We have to pUt people’s health first. We are a little bit stUck Until we hear from the leagUe and the Football Association.”

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