Joining the Club in November 1907, the prolific goalscorer was lauded across the land for his powerful shooting and strong aerial ability. As a youth, he began his football career at Southampton and once hit seven goals in a reserve match before Fulham picked him up for a princely sum of £1,000 – the first time we had ever handed over money for a player. Nicknamed ‘Buzzy’, the forward went on to net 61 in 138 appearances for Fulham before opting to move to West Ham United in 1911. He was badly gassed when serving in the First World War, but lived until the ripe old age of 89 and, 90 years after he joined, the Club’s first-ever £1m signing arrived: Paul Peschisolido in 1997.
The identity of a club always goes hand in hand with that of its badge, so it’s no surprise that the Fulham crest has undergone some changes over the years. From the early days of two crossed swords in 1898, to the one you currently see today, every badge has a meaning to the Club. In 1931, one with a picture of the Cottage was used as the first to appear on the players’ shirts and, after the Second World War, a copy of the coat of arms of the London Borough of Fulham appeared in its place. The 70s and 80s saw the badge change somewhat before a modern take on the 1945 version was created in 1995. Upon achieving promotion to the top flight in 2001, however, a new shield with an angled red FFC on a black and white striped background was the design chosen to take Fulham through into the next Millennium and it has stayed with us ever since.
On 12th December 1898, Fulham finally joined the fast-growing ranks of the professional game and also made our first-ever professional signing the same day, J H Love from Trowbridge. A club which had begun life as a church side, St Andrew's of West Kensington, 19 years earlier was finally admitted to the Southern League’s Second Division and adopted a kit of red and white in a rather flagrant attempt to copy Woolwich Arsenal – London’s premier side. The Club’s first result as a professional side was a 4-0 win over Harrow on 8th January 1898.
If a club is defined by the people who work for it, then you can draw your own conclusions from the fact that Sandra Coles had been with Fulham for 40 years before her retirement from the Ticket Office at the end of this season. Sandra first joined the Club back in the Pools Office in the early 70s, was promoted to the Commercial Department and thenended up running the Ticket Office where she has been a part of the Fulham fabric ever since. She can now be found supporting from the stands in Block H4 - finally able to watch a match in its entirety - and her over-and-above attitude to helping supporters throughout her time in SW6 embodies the Club’s values perfectly.
A commitment to youth is one of the key ambitions for a developing football club and Fulham’s Academy has blazed a trail, even more so since it was given Category One status in July 2012 under the new Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). The Under-18s have won back-to-back National titles and have topped their league table for the past three seasons, while the March success in America’s prestigious Dr Pepper Dallas Cup – impressively beating Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol 5-0 in the Final - has cemented our status as one of the best places for young players in the country. “It was a journey that began 18 months ago when Kit [Symons] first won the league,” Manager Steve Wigley said. “It’s a real global competition and it was a fantastic achievement for the Club to come home with the trophy.”
Be sure to check back on fulhamfc.com as numbers 45-41 are up next on Friday, 7th June.