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Fulham Football Club is a professional football club headquartered in Fulham, London, England. They now play in the Championship, the English football league system’s second division. They are London’s oldest professional football team, having been founded in 1879.
The club has spent 27 seasons in the first flight of English football, the majority of which occurred between the 1960s and the 2000s. After the team had risen from the fourth tier in the 1990s, previous chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed was connected with the latter phase. Fulham has played in two major finals: the FA Cup Final in 1975, when they lost 2″0 to West Ham United as a Second Division team, and the UEFA Europa League Final in 2010, when they lost 2″1 after extra time to Atlético Madrid.
Fulham’s biggest rivals are Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers, and Brentford, all of which are based in West London. In 1903, the club chose a white shirt and black shorts outfit, which it has used since since.
Fulham were founded in 1879 as Fulham St Andrew’s Church Sunday School F.C., by members of the Church of England on Star Road, West Kensington (St Andrew’s, Fulham Fields), who were largely cricket enthusiasts. Fulham’s mother church still exists today, complete with a plaque marking the club’s founding. They won the West London Amateur Cup in 1887 and the West London League in 1893 at the first try after shortening their name from Fulham St Andrews to its current form in December 1888. Half-red, half-white jerseys with white shorts were one of the club’s first ever outfits, worn in the 1886″87 season. Fulham first played at their present home venue of Craven Cottage in 1896, against now-defunct rivals Minerva. Fulham is one of the oldest professional football teams in southern England, while there are several non-league clubs that are many decades older, such as Kent’s Cray Wanderers.
On the same day that they were accepted to the Southern League’s Second Division, the club was given professional status. Following Arsenal, then known as Royal Arsenal 1891, and Millwall in 1893, they were the third London team to turn professional. During the 1896″97 season, they switched to a red and white uniform. The team was promoted from this tier to the Southern League First Division in 1902″03. The first all-white club outfit was worn in 1903, and the club has played in all-white shirts and black shorts ever since, with socks that have gone through several evolutions of black and/or white, but are now usually white-only. In 1905″06 and 1906″07, the club won the Southern League both times.
After winning the second of their two Southern League titles, Fulham was promoted to the Football League. In September 1907, the club’s first competitive game, in the Second Division’s 1907″08 season, saw them lose 1″0 at home to Hull City. The first victory occurred a few days later, with a score of 1″0 at Derby County’s Baseball Ground. Fulham concluded the season in fourth position, three points shy of promotion. The team made it all the way to the FA Cup semi-finals that season, including an 8″3 away triumph against Luton Town. However, they were defeated 6″0 by Newcastle United in the semi-final. This is remains the worst defeat in an FA Cup semi-final. The club won the London Challenge Cup two years later, in the 1909″10 season. Fulham’s first season in Division Two was the club’s greatest finish in 21 years, until they were demoted to the 3rd Division South in 1927″28, which was founded in 1920. Hussein Hegazi, an Egyptian forward, was one of the first non-British players to play in the Football League, albeit he only appeared in one game for Fulham in 1911, scoring once, before moving on to non-league Dulwich Hamlet.
Henry Norris, a businessman and politician, was the club’s chairman at the time, and he had an interesting part in the formation of Fulham’s local rivals Chelsea. When industrialist Gus Mears offered to transfer Fulham to the property where the current Chelsea stadium, Stamford Bridge, is located, Mears opted to form his own team to occupy the ground. Norris began combining his roles at Fulham and Arsenal leadership in 1910. In 1926, Fulham became the first British club to offer hot dogs at their stadium. During the 1920s, Fulham had numerous high-profile international players, notably Len Oliver and Albert Barrett.