About a month ago I mentioned the availability of the book "From St. Andrew's to Craven Cottage" by Morgan Phillips. It is the story of how, in 1879, the St. Andrew's church cricket club became Fulham Football Club. Having received my copy a few weeks back I thought it was worth writing a short review.
The origin of Fulham F.C., like many other football clubs, is something of which very little is really known. Queen Victoria was on the throne and the area we now know as Fulham was a more rural environment, consisting of market gardens and small farms. Even the exact date of our formation is open to debate and certainly none of those men and boys who joined the original Sunday School side could have imagined what their club might eventually turn into. I am fascinated by the history of the club and enjoy reading about the classic era of Haynes and Cohen but I had never read anything that covered the very foundation of our team.
Morgan Phillips has done a wonderful job of piecing together the information available into one coherent story. The opening chapters describe what the area was like in those distant Victorian times and really bring to life the earliest days of Association Football. Playing on a pitch, the marvellously named Mud Pond, with no markings and spectators up to the touchline (that sounds familiar, anyone remember Derby in 1983?) what started as an unsupervised kick about slowly developed into an organised team.
Included are pen pictures of early players, reports of encounters with other local sides, such as Stanley F.C. and Christchurch Rangers (who would later merge with St. Jude's to become Queens Park Rangers), descriptions of the various grounds we played at, including the use of the Eight Bells pub as changing rooms, and, following the renaming of the club to Fulham F.C, the eventual move to a permanent home at Craven Cottage in 1896.
This is an essential and enjoyable little book that records for posterity the facts, or at least those that can still be determined, of the inception of our team.
If you are interested in getting a copy they are available for £5 (including postage) from;
10 St Andrew’s Road, London W14 9SX
Further information is available via the church website at http://www.standrewsfulham.com/