I found the list of players with 100 appearances since the War and John Hammond played 247 first team games for the Hamlet. The earliest reference I found to him playing was in September 1961, which was just before the team went into a steep decline that ended with finishing bottom of the league for the first time in 1965/6 and again the following season. Then the club appointed Peter Gleeson, an experienced manager previously with Kingstonian who brought in experienced new players from K's and other clubs, and there was a relative revival with a lower mid-table finish and reaching the Surrey Senior Cup. The last reference I found for John Hammond playing was in the 1969/70 season.
Looking at the other names on the list, John would have started his Hamlet career in a side including a number of experienced players from our stronger teams of the 1950's such as goalkeeper Dave Darvill, left back Reg Merritt, centre half Denis Joyce and forwards John Everitt, Les Brown & Roy Wootton. But the spread of "shamateurism" meant the club struggled to attract the best young players as it used to. Brown left to join Wimbledon, Joyce went to Bromley (although he did briefly return a few years later) and as the rest of the old guard faded away there was a huge turnover of players for several seasons. John Hammond must have been the only player to feature regularly for us throughout the decade, from the dying days of the glory years, through the worst spell in the club's history, through to the relative revival that followed.
As it happens there was a programme article on a match in which John Hammond played only a couple of weeks ago, marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the first floodlights at Champion Hill with a friendly agasint Chelse in October 1964 Chelsea were top of the League at the time and sent their first team, including Peter Bonnetti, Ken Shellito, Eddie McCreadie, Barry Bridges, John Hollins, Ron Harris and Bobby Tambling. In the second half they fielded their entire reserve team, including youngsters such as George Graham, Peter Osgood, and Peter Houseman. There were no formal substitutes in those days and the Hamlet fielded the same XI for the entire ninety minutes which was: Dave Darvill, John Hammond, Reg Merritt, Mike Woollard, Denis Joyce, Jimmy Day, Roy Wootton, Steve Dunwoody, George Nash, Albert Modesto, Dave Le Grice. The attendance was 4,021.
I also forgot to mention the Dulwich Hamlet Vice Presidents club, which I believe is co-ordinated by the aforementioned John Lawrence, whcih seeks to reuinite former Hamlet players and keep them in touch with the club. A couple for times a season they sponsor a match and all meet up at Champion Hill. Roy Wootton, who played in that Chelsea match with John Hammond, is still a regular supporter home and away.
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