25. Phil Kelso takes charge – 1909
To this day, Phil Kelso remains Fulham’s longest serving Manager, following his 15-year tenure at the Club.
The Scotsman had never played professional football but was appointed Hibernian manager for the 1903/04 season, before making the move to Woolwich Arsenal where he was relatively successful. He guided them to two FA Cup semi-finals during his four years with the Gunners, before returning to Scotland to run a hotel in his hometown of Largs.
However, he was persuaded to return to London by the Fulham Board in 1909 to take over from Harry Bradshaw. Known for his stern approach to management, Kelso instilled a disciplined philosophy in his side, and he held firm views on players smoking and drinking.
He kept Fulham in Division Two throughout his time in SW6, with almost every season seeing us finish in a mid-table position, although the Club peaked with a sixth place finish in 1920. His final season (1923/24) required a 1-0 victory on the final day of the campaign to avoid relegation, though.
Kelso remained in the area following his retirement from the game, becoming landlord of The Grove pub in Hammersmith, and then The Rising Sun on Fulham Road. He died at the age of 64 in February 1935.
24. Fulham’s top flight debut – 1949
Fulham won the old Division Two in dramatic fashion on the final day of the 1948/49 season. We capitalised on leaders West Bromwich Albion’s defeat by Grimsby Town to take top spot with a 2-0 victory over West Ham United, with the prolific Arthur Rowley notching a brace.
And so we embarked on a First Division campaign for the first time in our history. 41,699 fans turned up at Craven Cottage to watch our opening game of the season – it was a sign of things to come as we secured our highest ever average attendance of 33,030 throughout 1949/50; it’s a record which remains intact today.
Wolverhampton Wanderers were the guests on 20th August, although they spoiled the party somewhat with their 2-1 victory. They were a strong outfit, though, and finished the season as runners-up behind Portsmouth, having won the FA Cup the previous year.
A soft long-range shot from Jimmy Mullen handed Wolves the lead on 25 minutes, before Johnny Hancocks doubled their advantage shortly after half-time. Fulham fought their way back into the match, though, with full-back Joe Bacuzzi (pictured) firing in an effort from distance that found the back of the net shortly after. Bacuzzi played almost 300 matches for the Whites but that was only his second goal, although the fact it was our first ever in the top flight meant it was one the defender could cherish.
We remained a Division One team for three seasons, but finished bottom of the league in 1951/52.
23. Micky Adams lifts the spirits – 1996
When Fulham lost 2-1 to Torquay United on 3rd February 1996, we plummeted to 23rd position in the Third Division – that’s second bottom in the entire Football League. The only team below us? Torquay.
It was our lowest ebb. Just days before, we’d seen the smallest ever attendance for a first-class game at Craven Cottage when only 2,176 people turned up to see us lose to Scunthorpe United. Something had to be done, so the decision was made that Ian Branfoot would relinquish control of team affairs to player/coach Micky Adams.
It was Adams’ first managerial experience, but the 34-year-old was a natural. We were unbeaten in his first five games in charge, drawing against Hartlepool United, Cambridge United and Rochdale, before securing back-to-back victories over Exeter City and Doncaster Rovers. It was form that saw us rise to a much healthier position of 18th.
A further five victories followed before the end of the season as we comfortably avoided relegation. Safety was a huge relief having previously occupied 91st position in the Football League – our lowest ever placing.
Unsurprisingly, Adams was kept as Manager for the 1996/97 season - one which proved to be a monumental campaign in Fulham’s history.
22. First silverware – 1887
After initially being known merely as St Andrew’s, at the start of the 1886/87 season we became known – for the first time – as Fulham St Andrew’s Cricket and Football Club (it would be a few years yet before the simpler Fulham Football Club was adopted).
They enjoyed a highly successful campaign under their new guise, winning 21 of the 22 matches played, whilst they also lifted the West London Association Cup in February 1887 when they beat St Matthew’s 2-1 in the Final.
It was the first silverware to be won by the Club, although the first significant trophy came when we won the Division Three South in 1932.
21. Davies breaks Haynes’ goal record – 1989
On 11th February 1989, Gordon Davies scored his 159th goal for Fulham in a 5-2 defeat by Wolves at Molineux to take him above the legendary Johnny Haynes at the top of our goal scoring charts.
After signing for the Club for an absolute bargain price of £4,000, he notched his first goal for his new side away to Blackpool in a 2-1 win at the back end of the 1977/78 campaign, before hitting 11 the following season. He found the net 16 times in 1979/80 and 22 times the following year, before a clinical 81/82 campaign saw him score 25 goals as we won promotion from Division Three.
The man was unstoppable now and 52 strikes over the course of the next two (and a bit) seasons caught the eye of local rivals Chelsea who tempted Davies across South-West London. Despite boasting a respectable goal ratio at Stamford Bridge, he was swiftly moved on to Manchester City.
His time in Manchester was brief too, though, and he was back at Fulham 14 games into the 1986/87 campaign. The subsequent term saw him forge a lethal partnership with Leroy Rosenior as the pair notched 37 times between them, before Davies followed that up with 20 goals over the next two seasons – this would have inevitably been a greater number had he not missed 28 matches during the 1989/90 season.
The following campaign was his last for Fulham and he scored seven times before his final match against Rotherham United, leaving him with a career total of 178 goals in 450 games for the Whites – a tally that’s unlikely to be beaten any time soon.