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Fulham FC

Fulham Football Club – Some History

Ground: Craven Cottage
Capacity: 25,700
Manager: Martin Jol

Fulham can boast the fact that it is the oldest of the original London clubs when it was first started back in 1879 as St Andrews of West Kensington. As was usual in those days it all started with a Sunday school and a few lads kicking a ball around on park pitch.

Some seventeen years after this kick around and the formation of Fulham FC the first game was played at Craven Cottage. Ever since Fulham have been involved in numerous battles to keep playing their football at the Cottage.

12 December 1898 was the date that every Fulham supporter should remember – it is the date that Fulham FC was born. A church side called St Andrews of West Kensington were formed 12 years prior and it was that team that morphed into Fulham FC

During the history of Fulham FC many great players have put on the beloved white shirt. Just a few of these included former England skipper Johnny Haynes (1952-1970). Haynes was the very first player to earn a massive £100 per week. Other ex Fulham greats included England World Cup winners George Cohen and Bobby Moore, Alan Mullery, Rodney Marsh, George Best, Alan Clarke, Sir Bobby Robson, Ray Houghton, Paul Parker and Tony Gale.

In 1975 with the help of Moore and Mullery they managed to secure an FA cup final place which they lost to local London rivals West Ham.

Although Fulham had some of the best names in football during the 1970′s playing for the club it was actually the 1960′s that saw some of the best times at Craven Cottage.

Between 1959 and 1968 football along the Thames was in full flight and some of the most watched in the country. Crowds in excess of 30,000 were common place at Craven Cottage but Fulham didn’t seem to have the staying power and often battled relegation at the end of each season.

1968 saw Fulham only secure 27 points throughout the entire season and down they went. They were to remain in the lower divisions for some 33 years and even after two promotions in two years to get the back to division two and battling for a division one promotion under Malcolm Macdonald, they once again fell at the final hurdle.

With failure on the pitch there came financial difficulties behind the scenes and a succession of owners were more interested in the ‘real estate’ value of Craven Cottage. So began years of battles and demonstrations to keep Fulham at the Cottage. It was actually the efforts of famous football pundit and Fulham supporter Jimmy Hill which helped save the ground.

Fulham however continued their slide from the good times and ended up as low as they could go in 1994. By 1996 they were only averaging crowds of just 4,000 people and only had around 1,000 season ticket holders

Fulham were awful on the pitch and at one stage were a hair’s breadth away from non league football. Former player Micky Adams took control of team affairs in 1996 and managed to turn things around and get them clear of the danger zone. With Al Fayed in place as the new chairman Adams steered Fulham to finish in second place in the third division which was the first promotion under the Al Fayed era.

When Al Fayed took control of the club in 1997 he promised the fans that Fulham would return to the top flight within 5 years – and so began a remarkable era in Fulham’s history.

Fulham literally stormed through the lower divisions and won promotion back to the top flight with a record number of points in 2001.

Al Fayed has been very much a ‘hands on’ chairman and has redeveloped the ground and built state of the art training facilities in Surrey for the team. When things started to go a little wrong on the pitch and relegation looked certain he installed Roy Hodgson to manage the team. Under the new manager Fulham won game after game and secured their Premier League status.

Next Fulham recorded their highest ever league position finishing in 7th place and gaining entry to the UEFA Europa League. In 2009/10 Fulham reached the final of the Europa League having beaten some of Europe’s top clubs along the way. Sadly they lost the final to Atletico Madrid in the last few minutes of extra time.

The Fulham Story continues…

A summary of Fulham FC honours include;

Inter Toto Cup Winners: 2002

Disclaimer: Victor Chandler, trading as BetVictor, is licensed by the Government of Gibraltar.

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