BY EDMUND BRACK
Hakan Hayrettin wants to become a legend at Dulwich Hamlet.
The 53-year-old announced recently that he will be staying on at Champion Hill despite the club suffering relegation from National League South on the final day of last season.
The former Barnet and Wycombe midfielder was Dulwich’s third boss of the season and came in for the final 13 games of the campaign.
Hayrettin, who won promotion to the National League with Maidstone United in the 2021-22 campaign, which saw him voted as the manager of the season in the division, now has to guide Dulwich back out of the Isthmian League Premier Division.
“I haven’t worked at this level for more than 10 years,” Hayrettin told the South London Press.
“I have been privileged and lucky enough to work in the Football League and National League, so I see this as an exceptional challenge but also an excellent opportunity.
“This club is a sleeping giant. Others may see differently, but that’s my view.
“I want to be a Dulwich legend and make sure this club gets back to where it belongs.
“I want to be here for a long time. I don’t want to be here for just one season, but to be here for a few seasons and make sure that we lay the foundations and try to do the right things to get the football club where it deserves.
“We have a top-10 fanbase in the country for non-league clubs. We even have higher attendances than most National League clubs and even a higher average attendance than some Football League clubs.
“So why wouldn’t it be an honour and a privilege for anyone to come and ply their trade here?
“I understand some players are going to say it’s about levels, we understand and respect that. But will you ever get the opportunity to do that again? Because once we get it rocking and rolling and get it right here, there is no turning back.
“It’s going to be a tough challenge, and there are going to be ups and downs. We will never be too high with success or too low with failure, but we’re going to work hard.
“We will instil some pride back into Dulwich and make sure that when the badge is worn, it’s respected. I’ll make sure that the supporters will see every player do that.”
Dulwich have released Will Wood, Jack Holland, Kalvin Kalala, Frankie Raymond, Nana Owusu, Aaron Jones, Quade Taylor, Andre Blackman, Omari Hibbert, Dan Smith, Josh Fawole, Johl Powell, Ronnie Vint, Nebay Haile and Kristian Campbell ahead of the next campaign.
When asked how crucial his experience in the game will be when rebuilding the squad, Hayrettin, who also had spells at Cambridge and Torquay as a player, said: “Vitally important.
“I feel I have found a home and a project. This is a big project. It’s not going to be all roses, there will be thorns along the way.
“We have to accept that, abide by it, and go with it.
“The culture – from top to bottom – has to change at the club.”
PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD
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