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The Fulham Football Club is based out of Fulham and currently plays in the English Premier League. They were founded in 1879 and are the oldest professional team in London. The club, like many in the English Premier league, has a long history filled with ups and downs. Their history also begins like many of the other teams with a group of friends coming together to form a team and build it into a multi million dollar enterprise.
The club started with humble beginnings as an amateur club for Saint Andrew’s Church Sunday School. From this start in 1879 the team rose up to win the West London Amateur Cup in 1998 and then the West London League in 1893. Shortly after this they began playing Craven Cottage, which itself is one of the most storied stadiums in all of football. Fulham still plays matches the facility has grown with the team since its inception. This is evident in the fact that Fulham set an attendance record in December of 2008 in a match against Chelsea. This record will no doubt fall some time in the near future.
The Cottage actually pre dates the Fulham Football Club. Its first use was in 1780 by William Craven. There were many sports played on the ground including some that could have been predecessors to the game now known as Football. The field had fallen into a state of disrepair when Fulham looked into using it as their home grounds. It took nearly 2 years to clear it fully so that it could be used. The first grounds consisted of four wooden structures each holding around 250 seats that were later known as the “Rabbit Hutch.” It was from there that field grew into its present state, a full blown English Premier Football stadium capable of holding nearly 25,000 fans.
After Fulham had settled into The Cottage they then went on to gain professional status on December 12th, 1898. They then began play in the Southern League’s Second Division. In this league they would have some success winning titles in both 1905-06 and 1906-07. From here they gained a position within the prestigious football league. They started play in the second division and would stay there until 1928. After this season they were moved to down to the third division south. They did not stay here for long and were promoted back up into the Second Division for the 1932 season. Here they would play until after the Second World War when they earned promotion into the top league. This would begin a cycle of up and down play for the next twenty years. The team drew well despite these up and down struggles and they managed to play in either the first or second division until the end of the 68-69 season. This season saw the team relegated back down into the 3rd division. By this time the regional distinctions of the 3rd division had been removed and replaced with a fourth division.
The team would continue to struggle and bounce back and forth between the second and third divisions until the end of the 1994 season. The end of this season saw the club fall to the lowest level in its long history, a demotion to the third division which was now the fourth ranked league in England. This placement was the lowest league placement for the team in their history. Rising out of this division was not easy for Fulham as they placed 17th out of 24 teams in the 1995-96 season. This was by far the worst in the team’s history. After this the team appointed Micky Adams as a player coach and that summer the team started to make a strong turnaround. This would mark a new time in Fulham football. The team earned promotion into the Second Division in 1997, then into the first division in 1999, and finally all the way back into the Premier League in 2001. It is here that the team currently resides.
The team has had modest success in the top flight of English football. Considering where the team languished in the beginning of the nineties this is quite and accomplishment. The team teeters precariously on the edge of relegation and will once again need a titanic effort this season to keep their top spot in the top division in all of football.