All but a few standing with the Rabble will know of the true origins of the Rabble, for that we must look back into the mists of the clubs history, nearly thirty years.
February 1990 marked one of those monumental periods in world history, Nelson Mandela had just been released from Roben Island. Thatcher had taken time off from her fight with the Jacques Delors in Europe, to lecture Hermit Kohl over German reunification and attacking NHS ambulance workers on strike to buy a house in Dulwich(a house she never set foot in) and Snead O'Connor's "nothing compares to you" was number one ..oh and “The Rabble” was established.
This was a period when dark clouds were descending over Champion hill, with the old stadium literally falling down and large sections cordoned off on safety grounds. The Hamlet were experiencing one of those all to familiar post Christmas dip's in form which left them languishing close to the relegation zone.
It was against this backdrop that on a cold and very wet Tuesday night in February (13th February 1990) a small group of hard core Hamlet fans choice to miss their weekly dose of TV viewing (Porridge and The Bill) and instead venture deep into the home counties to watch a London Senior Cup 2nd round game against Hoddesdon Town, a team comfortably a number of steps below them in the South Midlands League .
The Dulwich Hamlet team sheet that fateful night at the Lowfield stadium that read
Perry Skinner, Terry Gale, Wayne Kerrins, Ronnie Stevenson, Ray Purvis (Captain), Paul Docherty, Ian Paterson, John Egan, Matt Norris, Martin Gillings, Chris Sharpless
Subs: Andy Gogan and Phil Smith
with John Langford newly appointed manager that season
Although according to the match report Dulwich Hamlet enjoyed more possession Hoddesdon had more pace and took the lead in the 8th minute with a 20 yard shot from Swaby. Dulwich Hamlet responded after 63 minutes when Ray Purvis applied the finishing touch to a left wing cross. Only for Cumins to restore the hosts lead. Hamlet drew level again on 73 minutes when Matt Norris converted a low cross from the right wing. The game then went to extra time and Hoddesdon ran out winners with a further two goals in each period of extra time
Shaun Dooley who is now a pillar of the establishment at the Club heading up the 12th man and Herculean task of away day coaches recalled
“It was a night game, It was pouring with rain all night, but we stood behind the goal in the mud, and (Bill Andrews – Dulwich Hamlet Treasurer) apparently looked over in disgust, and said 'look at the state of that rabble behind the goal!'. After that the name stuck. That is the game that after we really all started pulling together behind the goal, and started friendships that last to this day."
Mishi “Previously some of us knew each other to chat to, or just to say hello to....but adversity in being totally shit and ending up comfortably bottom of the table brought us collectively together.”
After this defeat things spiraled downwards, With the Hamlet from February 17th to the end of the season on 5th May, securing not a single victory and being forced to play its remaining fixtures at Bromley due to the ongoing safety concerns. Dulwich Hamlet finally and unsurprisingly were relegated with 26 points, ironically along with their ground hosts Bromley. Fortunately, Bromley bounced back the following year and Dulwich Hamlet the year after
However, it is from this ignominious defeat on 13th February 1990, that on a cold wet night, forged in adversity and passion "The Rabble" was born a flame that ignited a passion for the Club that would one day propel Dulwich Hamlet and the Rabble to new levels of support for the club
"we score a goal and the Rabble go wild"