FULHAM

 

Born out of a church side, Fulham were the St. Andrew's Church Sunday School and were an early advocate on not playing on the Sabbath, as they were busy attending and had to have notes from their Sunday School teachers excusing them to be able to play.  This continued until 1976.  The original team had a benefactor who was also the local butcher and he encouraged the team by donating his wares to those who performed well, with early club documents showing that anyone scoring thrice would be granted a Full Ham."  Such was the scoring success of some of the players, the team was soon renamed Fulham.

The team's note provoked a move to Craven Cottage in 1896 and much of the ground remains untouched to this day.  Situated on the banks of the River Thames, many a football has ended up in the water from a wayward shot or clearance.  Early on in their occupation, Fulham used to pay mud-larks (young children who scoured the muddy banks of the Thames for anything worth money) to retrieve footballs, which were so heavy in those days that they rapidly sunk.  Four of these young boys lost their lives and a plaque to their memory used to be able to be found just where the current statue of Michael Jackson (a personal friend of current owner Mohammed Al Fayed) stands).

Winning the Southern League twice, the Cottagers achieved League status in 1907, reaching a FA Cup semi-final in the same season, but losing by a competition record semi-final score of 0-6 to Newcastle United.  This is when the evil Henry Norris took an interest in the Cottagers.  This person was not only responsible for Chelsea's formation, when he turned down the option to move to Stamford Bridge, thus leading the Mears family to form their own team, but he was later behind Arsenal's move away from their native South London home.

They stayed in Division 2 until 1928, when they were relegated to Division 3 South and they had to wait until their 111 goals in 1931-32 got them back to the Second Division, with only Spurs and Stoke City denying them a second successive promotion.  With the Second World War interrupting play, Fulham had to wait until 1949 to reach the top flight for the third time and they struggled with only eight wins in 1951-52, that saw them finish 22nd and return to Division 2.

In 1959, Fulham returned to Division 1 and began a golden era, with a tenth place finish in 1960 being their highest until the 2004 team bettered that by one position.  Having reached FA Cup semi-finals before and after the war, the team were in danger of becoming a Cup side, but it was their league form which was most worrying, with some close escapes from relegation before they finally succumbed to Division Two's lures in 1968.

It was during this period that Fulham's greatest player Johnny Haynes rules the Cottage.  Serving the club for twenty years, his midfield play was stylish and effective and his 52 caps for his country may never be bettered by a Fulham player.  Unfortunately, Haynes died in a  car crash in 2005 and the Stevenage Road stand was re-named in his honour.

Haynes' Fulham career took in the rise to Division 1, but also included the drop into Division 3 in 1969, leaving the club at as low an ebb as the Thames that lapped at the club's ground's foundations.  However, it was never a dull moment at the West London club and two years later they were back in Div. 2, with a litany of former top names being brought to the club under the management of Alec Stock (the prototype for Paul Whitehouse's "Ron Manager" character).  Bobby Moore, Alan Mullery, George Best and Rodney Marsh were all brought in to play champagne football, but some of them too the champagne part too literally and became the West London version of the Rat Pack.

It is ironic after their religious beginnings that Fulham were the first team to play on a Sunday against Millwall in 1974.

The team were feted as entertainers and reached the FA Cup final (after several attempts falling at the last hurdle) in 1975, but in the "Cockney" Cup Final against West Ham United, they lost 0-2.  However, the big games and the big names faded away and with them their tenure in the Second Division in 1980, when it was back down to the Third Division and to took a young, talented squad in the 1980s to get them out of that league with former player Malcolm Macdonald was at the helm.  A controversial end to the 1982-83 season saw a fan run onto the pitch to tackle a player as he went down the wing at the Baseball Ground causing the crowd to invade the pitch and the game to be abandoned.  Derby County won 1-0 and with that, the West London side missed out on promotion.  Despite calls for a replay, the result stood and Fulham's promising team was dismantled and soon the team were back in Division 2 in 1982 and the third tier in 1986, as the football team played more like the Rugby League team formed by the club in 1980.

Rumours in 1987 that the club would merge with near neighbours QPR to form Fulham Park Rangers caused a furore, with Fulham leaking money and goodwill after this badly thought out plan.  Former player Jimmy ("Chinny") Hill came in to arrange a re-structure of the club into a new company, but it brought little change in fortune, with Fulham reaching the bottom league (by then renamed Division Three on the formation of the Premier League) in 1994.

Financial strictures meant that the club's actual existence was at threat.  Saving the club from relegation out of the league, Micky Adams turned around the side and got promotion in 1997, but was hoist by the club's own petard in missing out on the title.  It was Jimmy Hill who advocated the abolition of goal difference in deciding positions where teams were equal on points in the league and going for goals scored as the determining factor, thus Fulham missed out by twelve goals.  Funnily enough, that was exactly the number they should have scored in the game against Brighton & Hove Albion, which would have relegated the Seagulls by the same process.

Michael Jackson came close to buying the team in the late 1990s, but, although he liked the name "The Cottagers", the deal demanded that he would changed the club's name to Neverland FC and the purchase was immediately consigned to history.  One other odd clause in the potential deal was the Fulham goalkeeper would have only been ever allowed to wear one white glove.

In 1997, the local corner shopkeeper, Mohammed Al Fayed took an interest in the club and bought it for 6.25 million.  He pledged that the club would reach the Premier League in five years and went about it by sacking Micky Adams and instating Ray Wilkins and Kevin Keegan as the new management team.  He also introduced a discount scheme for his players that saw them have 10% of their salary paid straight to Harrods, in turn for a 5% off all items over 50,000.

Managers came and went, with Frenchman Jean Tigana finally tooth picking the club's way up to the Premier League for the first time in 2001.  But this brought it's own problems, as the ageing Craven Cottage did not have the requisite number of seats for Premier League requirements and thus Fulham decamped from the Cottage to Loftus Road to share a ground with their near merger partner QPR.  Ironically, it was Fulham who were the senior partners now and there were no more suggestions that another joint venture under the title of Queens Park Cottagers might be on the cards.

Fulham established themselves as Premier League regulars, despite Roy ("Woy") Hodgson's last day escape from relegation in 2009.  He also took the club into Europe via the Fair Play league and they went all the way to the Europa League final, playing games in the process, before losing to Atletico Madrid in extra time.  But Hodgson's European success brought interest from a fading Liverpool side and he joined the Anfield outfit, with Mark Hughes, then Martin Jol taking over at the Cottage leaving the club going through a period of change ... hopefully for the better. 

Famous Players : - Johnny Haynes, Jimmy Hill, Gordon Davies, Sean Gore, Ray Lewington, James Dale, Teddy Maybank, Bobby Moore, Ivor D. Engine, George Best, Alan Mullery, Gary Elkins, Donald Cock

Famous Fans : - Hugh Grant (Actor  "Four Weddings and a Funeral", "Notting Hill"); "Diddy" David Hamilton (Radio/TV Presenter); Michael Redfern (The Dad in the OXO commercials); Scorpio (Former star of "Gladiators"); Keith Allen (Actor/Musician - "Shallow Grave" - Film, "Vinadloo" as Fat Les); Lily Allen (singer); Ray Brooks (Actor - "Kathy Come Home"); George Lamb (TV and Radio Presenter - BBC Radio 6; T4 [Channel 4]; Big Brother's Little Brother [Channel 4]); Example (rapper);

Club Records

Formed 1879
Turned Professional 1898
Became a Limited Company 1903
Former names St. Andrew's Sunday School FC  1879-1898
Previous grounds Star Road, Fulham = 1878-1882
Eel Brook Common = 1882-1883
Lillee Road, Fulham Cross = 1883-1884
Putney Lower Common  = 1884-1885
Ranelagh House= 1885-1887
Barn Elms, Barnes = 1887-1888
Purser's Cross = 1889-1890
Stansfield's Field, Fulham Road  1888-1890
Eel Brook Common = 1890-1891
Half Moon Cricket Ground, Putney = 1891-1895
West Brompton =  1895
Craven Cottage = 1895-2001
Loftus Road =2001-2004
Nickname "The COTTAGERS"
Club Colours Home : 
Shirts - White with a black left shoulder and arm
Shorts - Black
Socks - White with black back

Away : 
Shirts - Black with red trim
Shorts - Black
Socks - Black with red back

Kit supplier Puma
Shirt Sponsor dabs.com
Record Football League Win 10-1  .v. Ipswich Town
Div.1   26.12.1963
Record Football League Defeat 0-10  .v. Liverpool
League Cup R2 1L   23.9.1986
Record Cup Win 7 - 0   .v.  Swansea City  FA Cup R1 11.11.1995
Record Fee Paid 11.5 million to Lyon (France) for Steve MARLET (August 2001)
Record Fee Received 2.5 million from Birmingham City for Geoff HORSFIELD (July 2000)
Record Football League Appearances 594  -  Johnny HAYNES  (1952-1970)
Record goalscorer in a season 43  -  Frank NEWTON (Div. 3 (S)  1931-32)
Record all-time goalscorer 159 -  Gordon DAVIES  (1978-1991)
Record Attendance (all-time) 49,335 .v. Millwall
Div 2    8.10.1938
Record Match Receipts 139,235   .v.  Watford  Division 2   2.5.1998
Record total of goals in a  League season 111  -  Division 3 (South)  1931-32
Record League points total 3 pts for a win  -  60  Div 2 (1958-59)  
2 pts for a win  - 
Most Capped player while at club 56  -  Johnny HAYNES   (England)

 

Stadium details

Address : Craven Cottage, Stevenage Road, London SW6 6HH

Telephone :  020 7893 8383
  (Box Office)  020 7384 4710
09068 440044  (News)
  (Ticketline)  020 7957 4005
Fax : 020 7384 4715

Capacity :  19,250
Pitch size :  110 yards  x 75 yards
Official website :  http://www.fulhamfc.co.uk
Unofficial websites :  Ormondroyd's match reports
Fulham Web

Fanzines

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Travel To Craven Cottage

Excellent travel directions can be found at the official Fulham website.

 

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