BAND OF BROTHERS
Before going any further, I must make a few remarks concerning those old players and members who were prominent in raising the the Club to its present level. Throughout the years it is notable that there were several “Bands of Brothers” prominent for service with the Club. First there was Jack Howland, first Fulham captain. Jack stood well over six feet, played centre-forward, and was known as “The Ton of Bricks.” A few years later his brother Claude, another six footer, was occupying the back position. Later, Claude became a regular member of the Southampton F.C., but when they lined up in the English Cup Final he was passed over for the famous C.B. Fry. Suffice to say Southampton lost the cup.
The brothers Brum and Wilf Hobson served the club during the early years when the pitch was at Putney Bridge. Brothers Keefe were also with Fulham during this period. Later came the brother King, Jack and Will. The former was known as the “War Horse,” and in the team with these were Ted and Tim Draper. Ted was noted for his burst of high speed down the wing , and Tim for his precise direction of the ball through goal. Will and Abon Sermon were another pair who did great things in their day. The younger brother, Abon, afterwards blossomed out as a well-known local variety artiste. Then there were the brothers Cass who, however, were content to take a minor part in the game. Two other members were the brothers Mugford. Of Billy, the elder, the author still has a vivid memory of him as outside-right and how he would tuck his head into his shoulders and flash down the field just like a greyhound slipping the leash. When he did this there was surely trouble for the opponents.
The brothers Chell (from the Imperial F.C.) came to the Club as class players and maintained their reputation during their playing careers. Jack and Sammy Aylott also came to Fulham from the Imperial F.C. Jack eventually became a well known London referee, and Sammy carried the name into the Fulham undefeated London League side. Johnny Pask and his brother came from Stanley F.C. Johnny was that tricky outside-right of the said London League team. Harry and Fred Spackman joined from Wandsworth F.C. Harry, originally a centre-forward, played back and Fred was on the wing. Micky and Don McKay cannot be left out. They were also originally Stanley F.C. men, but joined Fulham in the latter’s years. Jack Head and his younger brother also came from Wandsworth F.C. Jack played many a champion game in goal after superseding the famous Johnny May.
Then there were Ernie and Percy Payne, both old St. Mark’s boys, who played for the Old Sherbrookians F.C. before joining the Fulham ranks. Ernie the elder was the player already mentioned who became the “bone of contention” between Spurs and Fulham. Percy drifted from Fulham to the Hammersmith F.C. to become a tower of support to the club. Finally, there were Tom and Bob Pollard. Bob was perhaps the better known of the two. He played back, and was no mean concert performer, having a fine baritone voice.
I feel I must write a word of praise for one of the old original players at the time the Club was called St. Andrew’s, Fulham. He was Tubby Carter, the Club’s first outside-right. Tubby was one big bundle of tricks, and throughout my years of connection with the Club never since his days have I seen such a ball dribbler or one who could manipulate the “leather” as Tubby could. In the Tubby Carter period comes the name of Billy Balster who was an all-round athlete, and before taking to Soccer was well known in the Rugger world, being a Kent County player. Billy went to America and played cricket for Chicago against Lord Hawkes’ Gentlemen of England team. He was also a first-class concert artist.
Of prominent members who piloted the Club in its early years to its present standard of success, one of the men who worked really hard both on and off the committee was Mr. Arthur Wilson, who managed the Club in the Southern League. Known to his many friends as “Ockey,” Arthur Wilson, helped many of the players if and when they struck a bad patch. Invariably they were found situations with a well-known firm of builders and decorators of South Kensington.
Another great asset to the Club was Mr. Arthur Thomas who, after his footballing days were over, became a member of the committee and treasurer, working to push the Club forward. He was among those who were prime movers in the purchase of Craven Cottage. To perpetuate his memory the Arthur Thomas Memorial Cup was made, of which both Arthur Wilson and the author were trustees. Present whereabouts of this cup are unknown to either.
Many supporters of today will no doubt remember Tom Walker, the groundsman who joined the Club with his two brothers some few years after its formation, first as trainer and general factotum. For a great number of years he kept his connection. Tom was an ideal trainer and when in middle age was a sprinter of no small ability. Many valuable prizes adorn his home, the result of his success on the cinder path. It has been said that he was one of the few people who knew why Fulham turned professional, but there was no secrecy about this for the reason was wide open news for the public.