After a few years of existence the club found private accommodation at the old Ranelagh Club, under Putney Bridge Railway arch, where the present Ranelagh Gardens are situated. The dressing rooms were at the ‘Eight Bells’, (3) Fulham High Street, and the Club name was changed from Fulham St. Andrew’s to avoid confusion with other London clubs called simply St. Andrew’s.
Jack Howland a big, jovial fellow of some two hundred pounds or so-was the skipper of the team. When the Putney Bridge ground was required for building purposes, the Club became more or less a wandering side. For two years it fought out its matches on Eelbrook Common, Putney Lower Common and Roskell’s field situated in Parsons Green Lane. During games on the last named site players had to keep their eyes skinned as a tree stood in magnificent isolation in one corner of the pitch.
It has been stated in other accounts of the Clubs history that it rented a ground from Captain James in Halford Road. This is entirely erroneous. That ground was once occupied by Stanley F.C. - strong opponents of Fulham F.C. in all competitive football.
Eventually the club migrated to Barn Elms, Ranelagh, Barnes. Dressing accommodation was at the ‘Red Lion’ public house, Castelnau. (At the time it was the usual practice for clubs not boasting accommodation of their own to change in public houses.) It was on the Barn Elms ground that wooden crossbars for the goals were first used.
While playing at the Barnes the Club had a fair run of success, and by now had got together a loyal band of supporters. Among these was Mr. Teddy Fox, well-known local sportsman who was, very conveniently, mine host at the ‘Half Moon’ public house, Putney. Incidentally this hostelry was opposite to the playing ground. Fox, by his great enthusiasm and kindly interest in the Club, was instrumental in the move is seasons 1889-90 to the ‘Half Moon’ ground behind the boathouses at Putney.
At this time, the number of supporters began rapidly to increase, mustering in hundreds. The most enthusiastic followers and supporters displayed a card stuck in the bands of their bowlers or pinned on their caps bearing the legend ‘PLAY UP FULHAM’. The presence of ladies at matches was quite a rare sight. Perhaps one or two girlfriends of players would put in an appearance. As time went on however, the number of the fair sex attending games rapidly increased, and this eventually called forth the comment in the Press that ‘ladies again graced the match’.
At the present day it is common to see a large feminine attendance, and the Fulham Supporters’ Club testifies to the great appeal the game now has for the ladies by the large number on its membership roll. It is interesting to recall that in 1894 a ladies’ football club was formed in North London and played on the ground of Crouch End F.C.
Returning to the ‘Half Moon’ ground, this consisted of two pitches and was shared with the famous ‘Wasps’ Rugby Football Club. This was the period of the special charity matches usually played on a Easter Monday, and called ‘Top Hat’ and ‘Bonnet’. For these occasions one side turned out in top hats and working clothes and the other in bonnets and skirts, presumably borrowed from their wives and sweethearts. Whether the bonnets and skirts were ever returned to their rightful owners the records do not show.
Charges for admission to games were not instituted until the ‘Half Moon’ ground was tenanted, when the nominal sum of three pence (4) was the amount demanded. With the advent of the Craven Cottage ground, the admission charge was raised to sixpence. With an extra three pence for the enclosure.