There is one name which stands out in the history of the Club thoughout all its ups and downs, and it is a great pleasure for the author to put on record the name of J. May, a very gallant gentleman, affectionately known among the members, friends and associates as “Our Johnny.”
One of the original St. Andrew’s Club, he started his playing days as a back and after having the misfortune to break a leg he became goalkeeper, and remained so for many years until after the tenancy of Craven Cottage had been taken over by the Club. What a wonderful goalie Johnny was! After busting his ribs, breaking an arm and collar bone, he would pop up again between the “sticks.” Eventually he retired with what some people called a “broken heart.” This was when he suffered the mortification of eight goals passing him when playing Stanley F.C.
The author recollects that playing against Newbury, Johnny was knocked unconscious when saving from a corner kick. It was thought that he had regained his senses as he played out the game. After the match the Fulham Club were entertained to a high tea and concert to which Johnny contributed his share. Actually he did not regain his senses until the team were in the train on the homeward journey, when he sat up enquiring where he was and how he came to be there. When the Club was taken over by the present company, Johnny, with H. Shrimpton, took over the Club’s canteen, and it was after two years of his connection with this that he passed to the Great Beyond.
As already stated, Fulham adopted professionalism in 1900 when, for financial reasons, a number of prominent sportsmen and public men were invited to take an active interest in the Club. A meeting was held at the “Kings Head,” High Street Fulham. The Chair on this occasion was taken by Mr. J. Hitchcock, and the honorary Club secretary was Mr. Henry Shrimpton. Sitting at this meeting with the members of the Fulham committee were the late Sir H. Norris, Messrs. Allan, John Dean, J. Wilson, J. Hymers, C. Barter, J. Apps, H. Perks and W. Mugford.
As a result of this meeting the Fulham Football and Athletic Co Ltd., came into being, with the consequent liquidation of the old Club’s affairs. Mr. Bertie Jackson, the old centre-halfback, was the first secretary of the newly-formed company, with Mr. Harry Bradshaw as manager.
The subsequent history of Fulham’s professional career - their struggles in the Southern League and their ultimate promotion to the Second Division of the English League, their whole-hearted play while operating in such a high sphere of soccer, and their splendid achievements in reaching the semi-finals of the F.A. Cup in 1908 - is only too well known by the keen followers of West London soccer.