The oldest of London's oldest first class football club. Its long history
began back in 1879 with Sunday-school boys knocking a ball around
on a long-forgotten park pitch, a far cry from the international stars
who make up the Premier League team of today.
Fulham's home ground since 1896. After major refurbishment work was
carried out in 2004, the ground's capacity has increased gradually from 22,000 to
its current capacity of 25,700. Fulham recorded 4 record attendances in the 2009-
2010 season, in their 0-1 loss to Arsenal and their 3-1, 3-0 and 2-1 victories over
Liverpool, Man. Utd and Hamburg SV respectively, each of which drew full
capacity crowds. The official record with standing room remains 49,335 for the
game against Millwall Dockers, 8 October 1938. It is located next to Bishop's
Park on the banks of the River Thames. 'Crave Cottage' was originally a royal
hunting lodge and has history dating back over 300 years. The stadium has been
used by the Australian national football team for some friendly matches due to a
large expatriate population living in England (mainly in London). Ireland’s
national football team also played two games at the venue during the construction
of the Aviva Stadium.
The original 'Cottage' was built in 1780, by William Craven, the sixth
Baron Craven and was located on the centre circle of the pitch. At the time, the
surrounding areas were woods which made up part of Anne Boleyn's hunting
grounds. Several other sports may have taken place here, such as lawn bowls,
croquet and possibly a version of the Aztec game called 'tlachtli' (scoring a ball
through a hoop using your hips). This game is thought to be a distant cousin of
association football and is arguably one of the earliest codes of organised football.
The Cottage was lived in by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (The Last Days of
Pompeii author). Other somewhat notable (and moneyed) persons until it was
destroyed by fire in May 1888. Many rumours persist among Fulham fans of past
tenants of Craven Cottage. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jeremy Bentham, Florence
Nightingale and even Queen Victoria are reputed to have stayed there, although
there is no real evidence for this. Following the fire, the site was abandoned.
Fulham had had 8 previous grounds before settling in at Craven Cottage for good.
Therefore, The Cottagers have had 12 grounds overall ( including a temporary
stay at Loftus Road), meaning that only their former 'landlords' and rivals QPR
have had more home grounds (14) in British football.
When representatives of Fulham first came across the land, in 1894, it
was so overgrown that it took two years to be made suitable for football to be
played on it. A deal was struck for the owners of the ground to carry out the work,
in return for which they would receive a proportion of the gate receipts.
The first football match at which there were any gate receipts was when
Fulham played against Minerva in the Middlesex Senior Cup, 10th October 1886.
The ground's first stand was built shortly after. Described as looking like an
"orange box", it consisted of four wooden structures each holding some 250 seats,
and later was affectionately nicknamed the "rabbit hutch".
In 1904 London County Council became concerned with the level of
safety at the ground, and tried to get it closed. A court case followed in January
1905, as a result of which Archibald Leitch, a Scottish architect who had risen to
prominence after his building of the Ibrox Stadium, a few years earlier, was hired
to work on the stadium. In a scheme costing £15,000 (a record for the time), he
built a pavilion (the present-day 'Cottage' itself) and the Stevenage Road Stand, in
his characteristic red brick style.
The stand on Stevenage Road celebrated its centenary in the 2005-2006
season and, following the death of Fulham FC's favourite son, former England
captain Johnny Haynes, in a car accident in October 2005 the Stevenage Road
Stand was renamed the Johnny Haynes Stand after the club sought the opinions of
Fulham supporters. Both the Johnny Haynes Stand and Cottage remain among the
finest examples of Archibald Leitch football architecture to remain in existence
and both have been designated as Grade II listed buildings.
Fulham Football Club were founded in 1879, they play in the English Premier
League, currently in their 11th consecutive season in the division. They are the
oldest established football team from London playing in the Premier League
The club has spent twenty-four seasons in English football's top division, the
majority of that in two spells during the 1960s and 2000s. The latter spell was
associated with chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed, after the club had climbed up
from the fourth tier in the 1990s. Fulham have never won a major honour,
although they have reached two major finals. In 1975, as a Second Division
team, they contested the FA Cup final for the only time in their history, losing
2–0 to West Ham United. Fulham reached the 2010 Europa League final, which
they contested with Atlético Madrid in Hamburg, losing 2–1 after extra time.
The club has produced many English greats including Johnny Haynes, George
Cohen, Bobby Robson, Rodney Marsh and Alan Mullery. They play at Craven
Cottage, a ground on the banks of the River Thames in Fulham which has been
their home since 1896. Fulham's training ground is located near Motspur Park,
where the club's Academy is also situated
© 2013 PJAllen Copyright. All Rights Reserved Paul J Allen 2013