Early Days

Fulham's second successive Southern League championship gained them admission to the Second Division of the Football League in 1907. The Club's league career began inauspiciously, however, with a 1-0 home defeat on a Tuesday evening in September against Hull City.

The first victory, courtesy of a Walter Freeman goal, came at Derby County four days later, and the following week, the Club recorded a first home win with a resounding 6-1 triumph over Lincoln City. By the turn of the year, they were in top form and made a serious challenge for promotion. In the end, three defeats in their final six matches consigned them to fourth place, three points short of a promotion spot.

It was, nevertheless, a splendid debut and was as close as the Club came to promotion to the top flight for a quarter of a century. The key to Fulham's high position in 1907/08 was their away form. The 10 away victories in a 38-game season set a record that was not beaten until 1996/7, and only then by a Team playing two divisions down in a 46-match campaign. In addition to their league placing, the Whites reached the Semi-Final of the FA Cup. It was exactly 50 years before they were to do as well in both competitions in the same season again.

From then until the outbreak of the First World War, Fulham settled into a comfortable mid-table position, finishing between seventh and 12th. If promotion was never a realistic prospect before 1915, then relegation wasn't a serious threat.

The surprise departure of Manager Harry Bradshaw in 1909 made little difference to the Club's progress. His successor, Scotsman Phil Kelso, was equally experienced and his tenure in the job lasted until 1924, making him Fulham's longest-serving Manager. 

Although only one minor cup (the London Challenge Cup in 1910) came Fulham's way during Kelso's stewardship, he helped start the tradition of Whites sides that comprised a mix of big names, loyal Club stalwarts and a few eccentric individuals. 

Craven Cottage 1923