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28 October 2014

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You are in: London > Radio > The Non League Football Show > Fan of the week > Fan of the week: Lee Shailer

Lee Shailer, Dulwich Hamlet

Lee Shailer, Dulwich Hamlet

Fan of the week: Lee Shailer

Find out about our fan of the week Lee Shailer, who makes a three-hour round trip to watch his beloved Dulwich Hamlet. Want to be our fan of the week? Email your nominations to nonleague@bbc.co.uk

By Stuart Croll

Every home game, Lee Shailer makes a three-hour round trip to watch his beloved Dulwich Hamlet.

As the crow flies it should just take half an hour from Lee's home in Bracknell to South East London but that's London traffic for you. But just travelling and supporting one of the most famous Non League teams in London isn't enough for this 36 year-old administrator.

Working fan

His devotion to the Hamlet has seen him work as the secretary of the Supporters Trust since it was set up in January 2003.

On behalf of his fellow supporters, Lee is an event organiser, fundraiser and website developer.

He liaises with financial services, town planners and politicians including Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell. He also mans the club shop on match days when required.

Basically I'll do anything - within reason - to make sure the supporters voice in our beloved club is heard.

Brought up in a family of Manchester United fans, despite being brought up nowhere near Manchester, Lee liked his football but had no affection for any team.

"Anyone who claims politics and sport shouldn't mix doesn't live in the real world and certainly not in the world of nonleague football. "

Stuart Croll, Non League Today

From Manchester United to Dulwich...

This all changed eight years ago when he moved to East Dulwich and started heading down to watch his new local team.

All he knew of Dulwich Hamlet was that they famously wore pink and blue shirts and that the old stadium was demolished to make way for the Sainsburys superstore he shopped in.

But as soon as he saw his first game he was hooked: "I immediately felt at home, fell in love with the side and felt part of the club."

Within a couple of months Lee became a regular face on the terraces and increasingly interested in the politics of the club. Anyone who claims politics and sport shouldn't mix doesn't live in the real world and certainly not in the world of non league football.

Lee is now well aware they are joined at the hip.

Life on the terraces

The Supporters Trust was formed in 2003 hoping to influence the future of the club and in particular the future of the Champion Hill Stadium. Lee is proud of what the DHST have accomplished in those four years.

They have raised nearly £10,000, which is earmarked for investment into the club for shares, have a representative on the football committee that runs the club's day to day affairs, and got the Champion Hill ground designated as Other Open Space by Southwark Council that prevents developers just walking in and selling or redeveloping the ground without finding the club another home.

Lee is at pains to point out that all his campaigning off the pitch hasn't overtaken his love of the team on the pitch. But even when discussing the future of the team Lee's conversation turns political.

Dulwich Hamlet FC

Fisher-y future

He is a little concerned about their growing association with their grounds-sharing tenants Fisher Athletic. He said: "We have no history of animosity towards Fisher but they have poached our manager, chief executive and a number of players this year and there has become more Fisher bric-a -brac around the clubhouse than before. Dulwich fans wont be welcoming any amalgamation." He added "Many fans fear these are worrying times for Dulwich Hamlet."

Despite moving out of the area in 2003 and living in Bracknell, his fanaticism has not decreased. Lee has only missed one Supporters Trust meeting since then and only a couple of games.

As his election statement stated: "It is an honour to serve the supporters of Dulwich Hamlet."

Lee also took recruiting new Dulwich fans and members of the supporters trust to a new level in December last year.

Weighing in at a half-time pie eating 8lb 10oz, his son Teddy became the youngest member of the DHST after only four days on the planet.

last updated: 13/02/2008 at 14:29
created: 27/08/2007

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