Fulham were formed in 1879 as Fulham St Andrew's Church Sunday School F.C., founded by worshipers (mostly adept at cricket) at the Church of England on Star Road, West Kensington (St Andrew's, Fulham Fields). Fulham's mother church still stands today with a plaque commemorating the team's foundation. They won the West London Amateur Cup in 1887 and, having shortened the name from Fulham Excelsior to its present form in 1888, they then won the West London League in 1893 at the first attempt.
One of the club's first ever kits was half red, half white shirts with white shorts worn in the 1886–87 season. Fulham started playing at their current ground at Craven Cottage in 1896, their first game against now defunct rivals Minerva. Fulham are one of the oldest established clubs in southern England currently playing professional football, though there are many non-league sides like Kent side Cray Wanderers who are several decades older.
The club gained professional status on 12 December 1898, the same year that they were admitted into the Southern League's Second Division. They were the second club from London to turn professional, following Arsenal, then named Royal Arsenal 1891. They adopted a red and white kit during the 1900–01 season. In 1902–03, the club won promotion from this division, entering the Southern League First Division. The club's first recorded all-white club kit came in 1903, and ever since then the club has been playing in all-white shirts and black shorts, with socks going through various evolutions of black and/or white, but are now normally white-only. The club won the Southern League twice, in 1905–06 and 1906–07.
Fulham joined The Football League after the second of their Southern League triumphs. The club's first league game, playing in the Second Division's 1907–08 season, saw them lose 1–0 at home to Hull City in September 1907. The first win came a few days later at Derby County's Baseball Ground by a score line of 1–0. Fulham finished the season three points short of promotion in fourth place. The club progressed all the way to the semi-final of that season's FA Cup, a run that included an 8–3 away win at Luton Town. In the semi-final, however, they were heavily beaten, 6–0, by Newcastle United. This is still a record loss for an FA Cup semi-final game.
Two years later, the club won the London Challenge Cup in the 1909–10 season. Fulham's first season in Division Two turned out to be the highest that the club would finish for 21 years, until in 1927–28 when the club were relegated to the 3rd Division South, created in 1920. Hussein Hegazi, an Egyptian forward, was one of the first non-British players to appear in The Football League, though he only played one game for Fulham in 1911, marked with a goal, afterwards playing for non-league Dulwich Hamlet.
During this period, businessman and politician Henry Norris was the club chairman and curiously he had an indirect role in the foundation of Fulham's local rivals Chelsea. When he rejected an offer from businessman Gus Mears to move Fulham to land where the present-day Chelsea stadium Stamford Bridge is situated, Mears decided to create his own team to occupy the ground. In 1910, Norris started to combine his role at Fulham with the chairmanship of Arsenal. Fulham became the first British team to sell hot dogs at their ground in 1926. Fulham had several high-profile international players during the 1920s, including Len Oliver and Albert Barrett.
After finishing fifth, seventh and ninth (out of 22 teams) in their first three seasons in the Third Division South, Fulham won the division in the 1931–32 season. In doing so they beat Torquay United 10–2, won 24 out of 42 games and scored 111 goals, thus being promoted back to the Second Division. The next season they missed out on a second consecutive promotion, finishing third behind Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City. A mixed bag of league performances followed, although the club also reached another FA Cup semi-final during the 1935–36 season. Fulham were also to draw with Austria in 1936 before Anschluss. On 8 October 1938, Craven Cottage saw its all-time highest attendance at a match against Millwall, with a crowd of 49,335 watching the game.
League and cup football were severely disrupted by the outbreak of World War II in 1939, with the Football League split into regional divisions temporarily, with a national Football League War Cup and a London War Cup up for grabs. Craven Cottage was used like many grounds for fitness and training of the army youth reserves. Post-war, a full league programme was only restored for 1946–47.
In the third season of what is now considered the modern era of football, Fulham finished top of the Second Division, with a win-loss-draw record of 24–9–9 (identical to that which won them the Third Division South 17 years previously). John Fox Watson made a pioneering transfer to Real Madrid in 1948, becoming one of the first players from the United Kingdom to sign for a high-profile side abroad.
Promotion to the top tier of English football saw the club perform poorly, finishing 17th in their first year and 18th in their second. In only their third season of First Division football, Fulham finished rock bottom of the 22-team league in the 1951–52 season, winning only eight of 42 games. On 20 May 1951, Fulham played one of their first ever games in North America in an exhibition match against Celtic at Delorimier Stadium in Montreal in front of 29,000 spectators.
A few seasons of mediocrity in the Second Division followed, but then the club reached the FA Cup semi-finals in 1958 and used this momentum to win promotion back to the First Division in the following season, having finished second to Sheffield Wednesday. Also joining Fulham in 1958 was Graham Leggat, who went on to score 134 goals in 277 appearances, (making him the club's fifth all-time top scorer). In the 1959–60 season, they achieved tenth position in the First Division, which until finishing ninth in the 2003–04 season was their highest-ever league position. This accompanied another appearance in the last four of the FA Cup in 1962. By this time, the club were regularly playing in front of 30,000 plus crowds at Craven Cottage, despite struggling in the League.
The club experienced several close escapes from relegation, none more spectacular than in 1965–66, when the club, rooted at the bottom, went on an astounding run beating all the top sides with a few games to go. On the morning of 26 February 1966, Fulham had just 15 points from 29 matches. The last 13 games saw Fulham win nine and draw two to reach safety. Eventually, however, the club suffered relegation in the 1967–68 season, having won just ten out of their 42 games. Even that, however, was not as catastrophic as the calamity of next season. Winning only seven in 42, the club were again relegated to the Third Division. (Note that this is not the same as the Third Division South, as the regional Third Divisions had been removed with the 1959 creation of the Fourth Division).
Possibly the single most influential character in Fulham's history is Johnny Haynes. "Mr. Fulham" or "The Maestro," as Haynes later came to be known, signed for The Cottagers as a schoolboy in 1950, making his first team debut on Boxing Day 1952 against Southampton at Craven Cottage. Haynes played for another 18 years, notching 657 appearances (along with many other club records too), his last appearance for Fulham coming on 17 January 1970. He is often considered as the greatest player in Fulham history, and never played for another team in Britain.
He gained 56 caps for England (22 as captain), with many being earned while playing for Fulham in the Second Division. Haynes was injured in a car accident in Blackpool in 1962, amd, by his own admission, never regained the fitness or form to play for England again, missing out on England's victory in the FIFA World Cup 1966 for which he would have stood a chance of being selected. The Stevenage Road Stand was renamed in his honour after his death in a car crash in 2005.
The aforementioned Third Division hiatus lasted only two seasons before the club was promoted back to the Second Division as runners-up in 1970–71. This spell also saw Fulham invited to the Anglo-Italian Cup, which saw the club draw four out of four games in the 1972–73 season. This preceded a period of high-profile signings for the club under Alec Stock in the mid-1970s, including Alan Mullery and Bobby Moore. Fulham reached their only FA Cup final in 1975, having won their first semi-final in five attempts. The club then lost to West Ham United in the final. This gained the club qualification to another European tournament, the Anglo-Scottish Cup, where they made the final, losing to Middlesbrough.
George Best played 47 times for the club in the 1976–77 season. Rodney Marsh, who having grown up with Fulham in the 1960s went on to play First Division football and play for England, rejoined the club in the same season, playing only 16 games. This capped one of the most successful eras in Fulham history.
The club were relegated again after winning only 11 in 42 matches in the 1979–80 season, which eventually resulted in Bobby Campbell's sacking in October 1980, to be replaced by Malcolm Macdonald. With a strong squad during his 1980–1984 period in charge (with players such as Ray Houghton, Tony Gale, Paul Parker, Gerry Peyton and Ray Lewington), they won promotion again in 1981–82 back to the Second Division, although the promotion was overshadowed by the suicide of former defender Dave Clement a few weeks before promotion was sealed.
In 1980, Fulham founded the rugby league club that is now London Broncos, designed to be an extra stream of income for the football club, but which made financial losses every year while linked to Fulham F.C. Then called "Fulham Rugby League," they played at Craven Cottage until moving away from the parent club in 1984.
In 1978, Fulham had signed Gordon "Ivor" Davies who, during two spells at Fulham, became the club's leading goalscorer of all time with a total of 178 goals in all competitions; the record still stands. Fulham narrowly missed out on back-to-back promotions to the First Division, losing 1–0 to Derby County away on the last day of the 1982–83 season – although the match was abandoned after 88 minutes due to a pitch invasion and inexplicably never replayed or finished.
The side which had shown so much promise was quickly sold off as the club were in debt, so it was little surprise when the club were relegated again to the Third Division in 1986. The club nearly went out of business in 1987 via an ill-advised merger attempt with Queens Park Rangers. It was only the intervention of ex-player Jimmy Hill that allowed the club to stay in business as a re-structured Fulham FC 1987 Ltd. In 1987, the club took part in what was then the longest penalty decider ever recorded – it needed 28 spot kicks to sort out a winner between them and Aldershot following a Freight Rover Trophy match.
In 1992, the foundation of the Premier League, and the resignation of 22 clubs from The Football League, restored Fulham to that league's Second Division. However, the club were relegated to the new Third Division after a poor 1993–94 season, following which Ian Branfoot was appointed as team manager.
After an eighth-place finish in Branfoot's first season in charge, the club hit its lowest-ever final league position in the 1995–96 season, finishing 17th out of 24. Branfoot was sacked as manager, but remained at the club in other capacities for a short while. In February 1996, Micky Adams became player-manager. Adams oversaw an upturn in form that lifted the side out of relegation danger. The next season, he engineered a second-place league finish, missing out on first place because several years previously the league had dropped the old "goal difference" system in favour of a "goals scored" tally, meaning Fulham finished behind Wigan Athletic. The club's chairman Jimmy Hill had argued that goals scored should decide places of teams tied on points, and the Football League clubs had voted the system in.
Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed bought the club for £6.25 million in the summer 1997. The club was purchased via Bill Muddyman's Muddyman Group. Micky Adams was replaced by Al-Fayed in the aftermath of a mid-table start to the season. He installed a two-tier management "dream team" of Ray Wilkins as First Team Manager and Kevin Keegan as chief operating officer, pledging that the club would reach the Premier League within five years.
After an argument over team selection, Wilkins left the club in May 1998 to hand over the full managerial duties to Keegan, who helped steer the club to promotion the next season, winning 101 points out of a possible 138, after spending £1.1 million to sign Paul Peschisolido from West Bromwich Albion, who was top scorer and captained by Chris Coleman – then the most expensive footballer outside the top two divisions of the English league.
In 1999, Keegan left Fulham to become manager of England, and Paul Bracewell was put in charge. Bracewell was sacked in March 2000, as Fulham's promising early season form dwindled away to a mid-table finish. Frenchman Jean Tigana was put in charge and, having signed a number of young stars (including French striker Louis Saha), he guided Fulham to their third promotion in five seasons in the 2000–01 season, giving Fulham top-flight status for the first time since 1968.
Fulham once again amassed 101 points out of a possible 138 in their scintillating title run, which was crowned with an open-top bus parade down Fulham Palace Road. They are the only team to have twice reached 100 points in a season. During the season, Chris Coleman was involved in a car crash that put him out of action for well over a year and eventually ended his playing career after he failed to make a sufficient recovery. Fulham's run through the divisions saw a large turnover of players, with the only player to play for the club in all four leagues being Sean Davis.
Fulham returned to the top division of English football, and competed in the Premier League for the first time. The club finished the 2001–02 season in 13th place. Fulham were the only team to host top-flight football with some standing areas in the 21st century, but due to restrictions on standing, this was not allowed to continue; clubs promoted from the second division had only three years to make their grounds all-seater. Fulham were forced to groundshare with QPR at Loftus Road during the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons while Craven Cottage was rebuilt as an all-seated stadium. There were fears that Fulham would not return to the Cottage, after it was revealed that Al-Fayed had sold the first right to build on the ground to a property development firm.
In 2002–03, Fulham spent most of the season in the lower half of the table. Chairman Al-Fayed told manager Jean Tigana that his contract would not be renewed at the end of the season. However, with five games left to play and relegation still possible, Tigana was sacked, and Chris Coleman was temporarily put in charge. Fulham won 10 points from a possible 15 and managed to avoid relegation. Coleman was appointed manager on a permanent basis in the summer of 2003, guiding them to a club record ninth-place finish in his debut season. This might have been greater had the club not come under significant financial pressure to sell Louis Saha to Manchester United, for whom they received a club record £13 million.
Coleman notched up another satisfactory performance in the 2004–05 season and guided Fulham to a secure 13th-place finish. The following season Fulham improved by one place, finishing 12th – the high point of the season was a 1–0 win over local rivals and reigning champions Chelsea in the West London derby – Chelsea had only lost two games in two and a half years. The 2006–07 season proved to be Coleman's last, as on 10 April 2007, Fulham terminated his contract with immediate effect. His replacement was Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez. Fulham only gained four points from five games with Sanchez as caretaker manager. They ensured top-flight survival that season by defeating a weakened Liverpool side 1–0 in the penultimate match of the season, and Sanchez was appointed manager.
Sanchez received strong financial backing from the board and made a number of signings during the summer break, but, after just two league wins in the first five months of the season and with Fulham in the relegation zone, he was dismissed on 21 December 2007 after a defeat to Newcastle United. Roy Hodgson was named as the new manager of Fulham on 28 December 2007 and took up his contractual duties on 30 December, just two days before the January transfer window opened.
Hodgson's tenure did not start well and it took a month to secure his first win, against Aston Villa, courtesy of a Jimmy Bullard free-kick. Fulham continued to struggle and a 3–1 home defeat in April at the hands of fellow strugglers Sunderland left Hodgson on the verge of tears in the post-match press conference and many pundits writing off Fulham's survival chances. The turning point of the season came in the third-to-last match, against Manchester City. Fulham trailed 2–0 at half-time and had the Premier League scores at that time become results, they would have been relegated. However, the introduction of Diomansy Kamara heralded the start of a fantastic comeback — Kamara struck twice as Fulham registered an amazing 3–2 victory. Fulham then won a crucial match against fellow strugglers Birmingham City at Craven Cottage, leaving survival in the club's own hands.
With 15 minutes to play at Portsmouth, Fulham were drawing, and with Birmingham City and Reading leading comfortably against Blackburn Rovers and Derby County respectively, they looked likely to be relegated. However, Fulham earned a free-kick with 76 minutes played; Jimmy Bullard's delivery found Danny Murphy, who headed home the decisive goal, sparking manic celebrations from the travelling fans. Hodgson had ensured survival against all odds, breaking several club records in the process and cementing his place in Fulham folklore. Fulham narrowly missed out on a UEFA Cup place via Fairplay by a dubious 0.8 of a point behind Manchester City, who lost 8–1 at Middlesbrough.
2009–10 was arguably the most successful season in the club's history. They were eliminated from the FA Cup in the quarter-finals for the second year running, and finished 12th in the Premier League, despite fielding weakened teams in the last few matches. In the inaugural Europa League season, however, Fulham reached the final, meeting Spanish club Atlético Madrid, who had dropped down from the Champions League, at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg. In their first European cup final, the Cottagers were beaten 2–1 after extra time, having drawn 1–1 after full-time.
The achievement of taking Fulham so unexpectedly far, beating famous teams like Hamburger SV, Juventus, holders Shakhtar Donetsk and Basel in the competition, led to Roy Hodgson being voted the LMA Manager of the Year by the widest margin in the history of the award. The home match in the round of 16 was arguably Fulham's greatest result in the history of the club. Despite losing 3–1 in the first leg at Italian giants Juventus and falling behind minutes into the second leg at Craven Cottage, Fulham scored four goals with no reply from Juventus. At the end of the season, Hodgson left Fulham to manage Liverpool.
On 29 July 2010, Mark Hughes was named the successor to Hodgson, signing a two-year contract with the club. Hughes had previously managed Manchester City, the Welsh national team and Blackburn. Hughes' first match in charge was against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium. The highlight of the season was a 4 – 0 win in the FA Cup over London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, all goals coming in the first half. Hughes resigned as manager of Fulham on 2 June 2011, having spent fewer than 11 months at the club. The Whites had an encouraging finish in eighth position and qualified for the Europa League via Fairplay.
On 7 June 2011, Martin Jol signed a two-year contract with Fulham, becoming successor to Hughes. Jol's first match was a 3–0 Europa League win against NSÍ Runavík of the Faroe Islands on 30 June. Fulham then navigated their way with some ease to the group stage in the Europa League through late summer. However, the Cottagers were knocked out with the last seconds of the group stage matches, Odense BK equalising to make a draw, leaving Fulham in third place, with Polish side Wisła Kraków instead progressing to the next round.
Fulham's Premier League form in the 2011–12 season was mixed, with the continuing away-record hangover of previous seasons dragging on. In October 2011, Fulham had an emphatic 6–0 home win over neighbours QPR, with Andrew Johnson scoring a hat-trick for Fulham in the match. The January 2012 transfer window saw Bobby Zamora move over the Hammersmith flyover to Loftus Road, with Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak coming in place from VfB Stuttgart.
The New Year saw two further hat-tricks scored by Clint Dempsey. On 11 February 2012, Progrebnyak scored on his debut in the 2–1 win over Stoke City. In March 2012, a 5–0 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers saw a hat-trick from Pogrebnyak. The Cottagers broke their historic drought on Merseyside with a 1–0 win over Liverpool at Anfield on May Day and another win against Sunderland in the last home game meant Fulham were only one point short of equalling their largest points haul in the Premier League, with just one game remaining. However, they failed to achieve this after losing their last game away at Tottenham.
In the 2012–13 season, Fulham ended a seven-match winless run by beating Swansea City 3–0 away at the Liberty Stadium on the final game of the season on 19 May 2013. Fulham finished the season in 12th place.
Shahid Khan took over as chairman in July 2013, but after a poor start to the 2013–14 season, having only amassed 10 points from 13 games, Martin Jol was sacked as manager on 1 December 2013, with René Meulensteen taking charge as head coach. On the "deadline day" of the January transfer window, Fulham reportedly broke their transfer record to purchase Greek international Kostantinos Mitroglou for £12.5 million from Olympiacos. Meulensteen was replaced by Felix Magath after just 17 games in charge, but fortunes did not improve, and Fulham were eventually relegated to the Championship after a 4–1 defeat away to Stoke on 3 May.
Fulham broke the Championship transfer record that summer in a restructuring of the squad by Magath, purchasing, amongst others, Ross McCormack for a reported £11 million. However, after an alarming start to the new season, amassing just one point in seven games, Magath was sacked in September 2014, with Kit Symons appointed as caretaker manager. Former captains Brede Hangeland and Danny Murphy slated Magath, claiming that Magath ignored doctors and instructed Hangeland to place a block of cheese on his thigh to make him fit for the next match. Murphy suggested that this was "ridiculous," before Magath later admitted that he did suggest cheese as a remedy. Fulham eventually finished the season in 17th place.
Fulham made their second squad overhaul in as many years, adding 12 new players to the first-team squad, but were forced to sell several key players, such as Bryan Ruiz, Hugo Rodallega and Patrick Roberts. Fulham suffered an inconsistent start to the season, with results such as a 4–0 against local rivals QPR countered by results like a 0–3 home loss to Wolves. After a 2–5 loss at home to Birmingham City, and lying in 12th place, Kit Symons was sacked as Fulham manager in November 2015.
It took 49 days to find a replacement, the club using Peter Grant and Stuart Gray in the interim, before appointing the Serbian Slaviša Jokanović on 27 December 2015. Fulham's fortunes did not improve greatly following Jokanović's appointment, with no league wins until their 3–1 victory over QPR on 13 February 2016. This poor run of form brought Fulham down to 18th position in the Championship. Aside from a further victory against Charlton Athletic on 20 February 2016, the club again went winless until their 2–1 victory over relegation strugglers MK Dons, on 2 April 2016. Fulham finished the 2015/16 Championship season in 20th place, avoiding relegation by 11 points.
After yet another squad overhaul, the following season saw huge improvements in both results and performances. After a good start, which included a 1-0 win over newly-relegated Newcastle, Fulham found themselves in 2nd place at the end of August. A poor September followed, but a significant improvement from October onwards, which included the 5-0 thrashings of high-flying Huddersfield Town and Reading, got Fulham back into play-off contention. Fulham secured a 6th place finish after an impressive finish to the season, which saw Fulham collect 37 points out of their last 17 games, and entered the play-offs, where they were undone by a controversial Yann Kermorgant penalty, which saw Reading triumph 2-1 on aggregate.
After a poor first half of the 2017/18 season, which included a 1-0 loss away to bottom placed Sunderland on 16 December 2017, Fulham struggled to break the top half of the table. Following that loss at Sunderland, Fulham went on a club-record 23 game unbeaten run in the league, which included a 6-0 romping of Burton Albion and wins against fellow promotion rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, Aston Villa and Cardiff City. The run ended on the final day of the season, as Fulham fell to a 3-1 defeat against Birmingham City. They had to face the play-offs for a second season running. After overcoming a 1-0 away defeat to Derby County in the semi finals, Fulham won the EFL Championship play-off Final against Aston Villa to return to the Premier League on 26 May 2018, after securing their first win at Wembley in their 139 year history.
Following a poor start to the following season, Jokanović was sacked on 14th November 2018 and replaced with Premier League-winning manager Claudio Ranieri, after a start of 5 points in 12 games and conceding 31 goals in that period. Results ultimately didn't improve under Ranieri and following a 2-0 loss to fellow relegation rivals Southampton, Ranieri too was sacked in February 2019 - after just 4 months in charge. He was replaced by under 18s coach Scott Parker as caretaker manager.
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 had made up part of Anne Boleyn's hunting grounds. The Cottage was lived in by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (who wrote The Last Days of Pompeii) and other somewhat notable (and moneyed) persons, until it was destroyed by fire in May 1888. 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. Of particular note, was Ranelagh House, Fulham's palatial home from 1886–1888.
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, on 10 October 1896. 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 (Johnny Haynes) Stand, in his characteristic red brick style. Both the Johnny Haynes Stand and Cottage are among the finest examples of remaining Archibald Leitch football architecture and both have been designated as Grade II listed buildings.
An England v Wales match was played at the ground in 1907, followed by a rugby league international between England and Australia in 1911. One of the club's directors Henry Norris, and his friend William Hall, took over Arsenal in the early 1910s, the plan being to merge Fulham with Arsenal, to form a "London superclub" at Craven Cottage. During this era, the Cottage was used for choir singing and marching bands along with other performances, and Mass.
On 8 October 1938, 49,335 spectators watched Fulham play Millwall. The reason for this exceptionally large crowd was that the game at Stamford Bridge had suddenly been cancelled and so a lot of people made their way west to the Cottage that afternoon instead. It was the largest attendance ever at Craven Cottage and the record remains today, unlikely to be bettered as it is now an all-seater stadium. During the 1930-60's era, Fulham often averaged over 25,000. However, the official attendances can be considered somewhat dubious in this era as many fans would get in by climbing over the fence from Bishops Park into the Putney End. As at many other grounds, fans would sometimes pay at the turnstiles but not be counted. This boot money would be given to the players (stuffed in their boots) and would not be counted in the gate money. The ground hosted several football games for the 1948 Summer Olympics, and is one of the last extant that did.
In 1962 Fulham became the final side in the first division to erect floodlights. The floodlights were said to be the most expensive in Europe at the time as they were so modern. The lights were like large pylons towering 50 metres over the ground and were similar in appearance to those at the WACA. An electronic scoreboard was installed on the Riverside Terrace at the same time as the floodlights were installed and flagpoles flying the flags of all of the other first division teams were flown from them. Following the sale of Alan Mullery to Tottenham Hotspur in 1964 (for £72,500) the Hammersmith End had a roof put over it at a cost of £42,500.
Although Fulham was relegated, the development of Craven Cottage continued. The Riverside terracing was replaced by what was officially named the 'Eric Miller Stand', Eric Miller being a director of the club at the time. The stand, which cost £334,000 and held 4,200 seats, was opened with a friendly game against Benfica in February 1972, (which included Eusébio). Pelé also appeared on the ground, with a friendly played against his team Santos F.C. The Miller stand brought the seated capacity up to 11,000 out of a total 40,000. Eric Miller committed suicide five years later after a political and financial scandal. The stand is now better known as the Riverside Stand.
On Boxing Day 1963, Craven Cottage was the venue of the fastest hat-trick in the history of the English football league, which was completed in less than three minutes, by Graham Leggat. This helped his Fulham team to beat Ipswich 10–1 (a club record). Between 1980 and 1984, Fulham rugby league played their home games at the Cottage. They have since evolved into the London Crusaders, the London Broncos and Harlequins Rugby League before reverting to London Broncos ahead of the 2012 season. Craven Cottage held the team's largest ever crowd at any ground with 15,013, at a game against Wakefield Trinity on 15 February 1981.
When the Hillsborough disaster occurred in 1989, Fulham were in the second bottom rung of The Football League, but following the Taylor report Fulham's ambitious chairman Jimmy Hill tabled plans in 1996 for an all-seater stadium. These plans never came to fruition and by the time Fulham reached the Premiership, they still had standing areas in the ground. A year remained to do something about this (teams reaching the second tier for the first time are allowed a three-year period to reach the required standards for the top two divisions), but by the time the last league game was played there no building plans had been made and the eventual solution was to decamp to Loftus Road, home of local rivals QPR. During this time, many Fulham fans only went to away games in protest at moving from Craven Cottage.
In December 2003, plans were unveiled for £8 million worth of major refurbishment work to bring it in line with Premier League requirements. With planning permission granted, work began in January 2004 in order to meet the deadline of the new season. The work proceeded as scheduled and the club were able to return to their home for the start of the 2004–05 season. Their first game in the new-look 22,000 all-seater stadium was a pre-season friendly against Watford on 10 July 2004.
The current stadium was one of the Premiership's smallest grounds at the time of Fulham's relegation at the end of the 2013–14 season. Much admired for its fine architecture, the stadium has recently hosted a few international games, mostly including Australia. This venue is suitable for Australia because most of the country's top players are based in Europe, and West London has a significant community of expatriate Australians. In 2011 Brazil played Ghana, in an international friendly, and the Women's Champions League Final was hosted.
Craven Cottage often hosts many other events such as 5-a-side football tournaments and weddings. Craven Cottage hosted the Oxbridge Varsity Football match annually between 1991 and 2000 and again in 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2014 as well as having a Soccer Aid warm-up match in 2006. The half-time entertainment often includes the SW6ers (previously called The Cravenettes) which are a group of female cheerleaders. Other events have included brass bands, Michael Jackson (albeit just walking on the pitch once, as opposed to performing), Travis playing, Arabic dancing, keepie uppie professionals and presentational awards.
Most games also feature the 'Fulham flutter', a half-time draw; and a shoot-out competition of some kind, usually involving scoring through a 'hoop' or 'beat the goalie'. On the first home game of the season, there is a carnival where every Fulham fan is expected to turn up in black-and-white colours. There is usually live rock bands, player signings, clowns, stilt walkers, a steel (calypso) band, food stalls and a free training session for children in Bishops Park.
** – Layout – **
The Hammersmith End (or Hammy) is the northernmost stand in the ground, the closest to Hammersmith. It is traditionally the "home" end where the more vocal Fulham fans sit, and many stand during games at the back rows of the stand. If Fulham win the toss, they usually choose to play towards the Hammersmith End in the second half. The hardcore fans tend to sit (or rather stand) in the back half of H6 and H7 zones (known as ‘H Block’ to the faithful). The stand had terracing until the reopening of the ground in 2004, when it was replaced with seating in order to comply with league rules following the Taylor Report. For several seasons, national flags of the players represented at Fulham were hung from the roof. There is a large permanent banner in the river corner reading "We Are Fulham".
The Putney End is the southernmost stand in the ground, nearest to Putney and backing onto Bishops Park. This generally hosts visiting and 'neutral' supporters, though often this is mixed with home and away fans. When the ground became redeveloped, with the standing terraces replaced in 2003–04 the club applied for a licence to have a designated neutral area, in the rows closest to the Cottage, (nicknamed 'Little Switzerland'.) Due to Fulham's history of having no segregation in the Putney End and no history of crowd trouble, the FA gave the club special dispensation to allow for this, making Fulham the only club currently in the UK to have such an area. There is an electronic scoreboard in place and a plane tree in the corner by the river.
The Riverside was originally terracing that backed onto the Thames. It also featured large advertising hoardings above the fans. By 1973, a proper seated stand had been built called the Eric Miller Stand, becoming The Riverside after Eric Miller's suicide.
The Riverside Stand backs onto the River Thames and is elevated uniquely above the pitch unlike the other 3 stands. It contains the corporate hospitality seating alongside Fulham fans. There are several Harrods advertising boardings and above these is the gantry, for the press and cameras. Tickets in this area are often the easiest to buy, not surprisingly they are also some of the more expensive. It has the Hammersmith End to its left, the Putney End to its right and is opposite the Johnny Haynes Stand.
During the 1970s, Craven Cottage flooded, with water gushing in from the Riverside. The stand houses the George Cohen restaurant, while on non-match days there is the Cottage Cafe, located near to the Cottage itself. (The River Café is also located nearby). The roof of the stand has been used by sponsors, with VisitFlorida currently advertising in this way, and Pipex.com, FxPro, Lee Cooper Jeans and LG having previously done so. The end of the Riverside Stand towards the 'Smithy' End' indicates the end of the 'Fulham Wall', a landmark in The Boat Race.
Johnny Haynes Stand.
Originally called the Stevenage Road Stand, after the road it backs onto, the Johnny Haynes stand is the oldest remaining football stand in the Football League and professional football, originally constructed in 1905, and is a Grade II* listed building. Designed by Archibald Leitch, the stand contains the ticket office and club shop and features original 'Bennet' wooden seating. Following his death in 2005, the stand was renamed after former player Johnny Haynes.
The exterior facing Stevenage Road has a brick façade and features the club's old emblem in the artwork. Decorative pillars show the club's foundation date as 1880 though this is thought to be incorrect. Also, a special stone to commemorate Fulham 2000 and The Cottagers' return to Craven Cottage was engraved on the façade. The family enclosures are located in the two corners of the stand, one nearest to the Hammersmith End and one nearest to the Putney End. The front of the stand now contains plastic seating, but originally was a standing area. Children were often placed at the front of this enclosure and the area had a distinctive white picket fence to keep fans off the pitch up until the 1970s.
The Cottage Pavilion dates back to 1905 along with the Johnny Haynes Stand, built by renowned football architect Archibald Leitch. The reason The Cottage was built was due to an oversight in the Stevenage Road Stand (as it was then), as Leitch had forgotten to accommodate changing rooms in his final plans. Besides being the changing rooms, the Cottage (also called The Clubhouse) is traditionally used by the players' families and friends who sit on the balcony to watch the game. In the past, board meetings used to be held in The Cottage itself as well. There is a large tapestry draped from the Cottage which says "Still Believe". It encapsulates the now-famous moment, when fans facing defeat against Hamburg SV in the Europa League semi-final roused the players with the chant of "Stand up if you still believe". In the three other corners of the ground there are corporate boxes on three levels.
** – Facilities – **
Disabled match tickets (including those for wheelchair accessible areas) must be booked by contacting the Club’s Ticket Office, in person or by telephone on 0203 871 0810. Every member of our Ticket Office staff can assist with a booking, and Tracey Hubbard (who oversees this area) will be happy to provide detailed information and a more comprehensive service. Please note that Disabled tickets (including match tickets) are not currently available to book online.
Please note that tickets cannot be reserved provisionally. Payment must be finalised at the point of booking. You can enquire about ticket information, or request help with making a booking by emailing: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org . The Club will endeavour to respond to email enquiries within 24 hours.
Submitting Documents. Documents can be scanned and emailed to email@example.com or posted to the Ticket Office. Supporting documents only need to be submitted once, up until their date of expiry. The Club will note any expiry dates but will not hold copies of the documents on file. Any submissions will be shredded and disposed of safely. Please send copies only and not originals. If you are unsure if you qualify for a disabled concession, or would like further information in advance of making an application, please contact Nicola Walworth, their Disability Liaison Officer, who will be happy to discuss this with you in confidence. Their Ticket Office can also provide guidance on eligibility for this scheme.
Disabled Ticketing Policy
The Club has a system of concessionary ticket prices designed to assist supporters who have a registered disability without differentiating between differing conditions or impairments. It recognises that some fans have a narrower choice of seating options and may not be able to attend a match without personal support.
Disabled concession prices are made available in all wheelchair accessible areas, the Club’s recommended areas for ambulant disabled supporters, and also any other seating blocks in which concessionary prices (i.e. Junior / Senior tickets) also apply. Concessionary prices are not available in:
If a disabled supporter requires extra help on a matchday then a complimentary ticket can be obtained for a Personal Assistant. Note that the Club may require written evidence to support this need before finalising a ticket sale. The Club will always look to locate a Personal Assistant in the seat next to the supporter who requires their assistance.
Disabled Season Ticket Holders can apply for a complimentary Season Ticket access card for their Personal Assistant, which will secure the same seat for each Championship Home game. Cup ties will also be included as standard if the Disabled Season Ticket Holder is enrolled in the Auto Cup tie scheme. As a Personal Assistant is there primarily to provide support and care for the ticket holder, their own Season Ticket Access Card does not carry the full range of benefits (i.e. Loyalty Points, priority ticket access) that are advertised on their website. Personal Assistant Season Tickets can only be used for entry alongside the disabled customer. The Personal Assistant must purchase their seat if the disabled customer is not in attendance.
Ambulant Disabled Seating
HomeHome Fans. Fans The Club recommend Block KL of the Johnny Haynes Stand. This block of seats has easy access from Stevenage Road and is adjacent to an Accessible toilet. Step-free access can also be arranged (by contacting the Club in advance) through the Cottage Gate entrance. The front 3 rows of the Block H1 in the Hammersmith Stand also offer step free access, with entry through the Hammersmith turnstiles. If you require extra space or assistance, it is possible to arrange in advance for access through the Security Entrance at Gate 50.
There are also seats in the away area which are accessible via only 2 seats. They are:
The main stadium store is located in the Johnny Haynes Stand, with step-free access to the main level from outside the stadium on Stevenage Road. There is no step-free access to the lower level of the store. A complimentary personal shopping service is provided to all disabled fans and shoppers. Please speak to any member of staff when you arrive for assistance.
Inside the stadium there is one mobile Retail Unit (which is accessible to wheelchair users) on the Riverside Terrace, opposite the Michael Jackson tribute. Ticket holders in the Hammersmith End and Riverside Stand can access this unit. There is also a small Retail counter on the Johnny Haynes concourse, underneath Block A. The Club store on Fulham Palace Road is accessible at street-level, but due to layout of the shop the lower and upper floors are inaccessible to wheelchair users. A personal shopping service is also available at this location.
There is an accessible toilet located close to each wheelchair accessible area. A RADAR key is required to gain entry. Please speak to the Disability Liaison Steward if you require any assistance accessing these facilities.
Assistance Dogs are permitted inside the stadium, although the Club should always be notified in advance to ensure that full provision can be made to accommodate their visit and allow them to work in a safe and suitable environment. It may be necessary for the Club to decide the most appropriate location for the supporter and their assistance dog to be located inside the stadium. Facilities such as a dog water bowl will be made available on the day of the game.
There are mobile and fixed catering units located around the stadium, mostly on the concourse area. Each wheelchair accessible area offers a complimentary catering pre-order service, which is available 30 minutes before kick-off for pre-match and half-time delivery. When you arrive on matchday, please speak to the Disability Liaison Steward in your area of the stadium for further information or assistance in placing an order.
Radio headsets are available for loan to supporters with visual impairments to use. Headsets are provided free of charge, but must be reserved in advance on matchday and can be booked by contacting the Club’s Disability Liaison Officer. Supporters (or their Personal Assistants) are required to give written consent agreeing to cover the cost of the headset if it is not returned after the game. Details of a credit or debit card should be given to reserve the headset under the terms of this agreement.
Headsets can be picked up from the Collection Booth on Stevenage Road. If you will have difficulty accessing the booth, please speak to our Disability Liaison Officer in advance to arrange for your headset to be delivered to your seat in the stadium. Commentary is provided by Fulham stalwart ‘Gentleman’ Jim McGullion, and mirrors the regular service provided through the Club’s official website.
Induction loops are fitted at the Ticket Office, fixed concourse catering units and in the main reception at Craven Cottage.
Disability Liaison Stewards
Their Disability Liaison Stewards provide a warm welcome and extra help and assistance for fans with tickets in wheelchair accessible areas of the stadium. A member of the team is located at each entrance (Gate 1, Gate 50 and Cottage Gate) to help with access, and a steward will be available throughout the game at each accessible area of the stadium. Disability Liaison Stewards are easy identifiable, as unlike their other stewarding staff they wear green jackets or polo shirts.
Disabled Car Parking.
There is no stadium car park at Craven Cottage and as the ground is in a residential location the streets in the surrounding area cannot be accessed in the hours leading up to kick-off. Pay and Display on-street parking is available in the streets adjacent to Fulham Palace Road and as a general rule spaces become easier to find as you move nearer to Charing Cross Hospital and Hammersmith. Please note that several streets close to the ground have matchday parking restrictions.
As parking is extremely limited, where possible the Club recommend using public transport to travel to and from the stadium on matchdays. As some supporters may not be able to use public transport options and so a number of parking spaces are available for Disabled supporters to book. These are located in the grounds of Fulham College Boys School on Kingwood Road. A wheelchair accessible shuttle bus links the car park with the stadium.
As parking spaces are limited, they must be arranged in advance, by contacting the Club’s Disability Liaison Officer. Spaces are finalised on a first-come, first-served basis to home or away supporters. You must have a confirmed match ticket booking (or a Season Ticket) before booking a place at either parking location.
** – Getting to Craven Cottage – **
Where possible, they recommend using public transport to reach Craven Cottage on matchdays. The closest tube station to Craven Cottage is Putney Bridge on the District Line, which is a 15 minute walk (1.2 km) from the stadium. Putney Bridge station does not have step-free access from street level to the platforms.
Hammersmith Station (Hammersmith & City, Piccadilly, District and Circle Lines) has full wheelchair access. From the station you can catch the 220 to the stadium.
The Hammersmith Bus Station is next to the underground and is served by TfL and National Express. The 74, 22, 430 and N74 near the stadium.
Take some time out and visit Craven Cottage, the home of Fulham Football Club. The stadium exudes the character and history befitting of London’s original professional football club. You can book your Stadium Tour online, over the phone on 0203 841 9053 or in person at the Craven Cottage Reception. Tours are scheduled on selected Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s, with bespoke options available 7 days a week, depending on fixtures. Scheduled tours start at 11:15am, group tours are available on request with start times flexible. Prices are £15 adult, £12 Junior, under 5's are free.
Location : Craven Cottage, Stevenage Road, London SW6 6HH
Transport: Putney Bridge (District Line) then 15 minutes or bus OR Hammersmith (District, Circle, Piccadilly, Hammersmith + City) then bus (220). Bus Routes: 74, 22, 430 and N74 stop at the stadium.
Capacity : 25,700
Tel: 0843 208 1222