Former footballer Peter Crouch has promised to help save Dulwich Hamlet from financial ruin after being appointed as director, admitting the club’s future “looks bleak”.
The 40-year-old was appointed to Hamlet’s board this week, having started his professional career at the club before becoming a Premier league star.
But the former Tottenham Hotspur and England striker was downbeat over the club’s immediate future, saying that coronavirus restrictions has left the club with serious financial struggles.
With lower league grounds closed to supporters because of the coronavirus pandemic, he claimed Dulwich Hamlet has been forced to sell beer to passers-by just to stay afloat.
Speaking to ITV News London, Crouch said: “At the moment the future’s bleak, I’ve got to be honest.
“They are struggling to make ends meet and that’s the same for most non-league clubs now, it’s something we don’t often see.
“So if we can highlight that these clubs need help as there is a lot of money in the game and sometimes it might not filter down.”
“The former England international played at the South London club on loan from Tottenham aged just 17.
He went on to play for Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, before his playing career ended in Burnley in 2019 where he retired at the end of his contract.
Having worked as a pundit for the BBC since and launched a successful podcast, the appointment to Dulwich Hamlet’s board is the first time Crouch has taken a backstage role at a football club.
He added: “The club’s in a lot of trouble and if I can help in any way, I want the people of Dulwich to know I’m taking this seriously.”
Grassroots football has really suffered since the pandemic. We looked round the stadium and it’s falling to bits really.
“The only money they can generate now because there’s no fans allowed in is selling beer for the Euros – literally people buying beers and watching their TV.”
It’s been a difficult few years for Dulwich Hamlet, with the club having been forced to leave its home ground of Champion Hill in 2018.
After a legal battle, the club was allowed to return and has built a huge fan base for a non-league side.