WHEN THE GUARDS WORE FULHAM COLOURS
Among the clubs who had regular fixtures with Fulham were those belonging to the Grenadier, Coldstream and Scots Guards Regiments, and games with these teams were always full of hard knocks, and an ample supply of liniment was required after the encounters. Also it must be recorded that several players of the said Regiments came to the aid of Fulham Club from time to time. Names that come to mind of the soldiers who were regular wearers of Fulham’s colours are George Sharran, an ideal inside-forward; Drummer Cox, a perfect center-forward; and David Lloyd, a calculating and cool member of the Back Division.
Davy was a typical “Tommy” and knew all the answers. It may be surprising to know that the above-mentioned were regular players for Fulham; this will be more readily understood when it is stated that the writer spent many a jovial Sunday morning with one or the other of the battalions usually at Chelsea or Wellington Barracks. These visits, spent in the Sergeants’ Mess, assured Fulham having a full team each Saturday.
Writing of those games with Guards Regiments brings to mind a diminutive player of Fulham named Patsy Harris. Patsy stood about five feet in height and performed surprisingly acrobatic stunts in leaping to head the ball from the tall Guardsmen. Patsy was full of guts and enthusiasm which well made up for his lack of inches.
In the season of 1894-5 Fulham suffered its one and only act of hooliganism from the supporters of an opposing club. This occurred at Brentford after the home team had been beaten one goal to nil in the second round of the London Cup. The winning goal was scored by Alec Frame, perhaps one of the trickiest centre-forwards ever to put on Fulham colours. The press report stated: “Unusual and extraordinary scenes followed the finish of the game. The spectators crowded the referee and pelted the players with offensive refuse.” The author, who played in the match remembers being escorted by the police down Brentford High Street to the dressing rooms which were at one of the “locals.”
Before passing on to those who were the mainstays of the Club throughout the amateur days, it would perhaps be interesting to many of the present-day supporters to mention that the most successful seson of those days was the 1897-8 when the team went through and won the London League undefeated after a neck-and-neck struggle with Barnet F.C. The team was composed of the following: A.J. Maile, H.D. Shrimpton, A.E. Jennings, S.J. Aylott, J. Taylor, A. Knight, J.J. Davies, E.A. Freeman, W.G. Ives, J. Pask and W.A. Robertson. During this season E.A. Freeman scored 69 goals; most were gifts from Billy Ives, center-forward, who came from Dunstable and who was an adept at making openings.
Two members of this team were Nonconformist Ministers, two ex-members of the Imperial F.C., two ex-Stanley F.C., and one ex-Queens Park Ranger. E.A. Freeman was also associated with Freeman’s Falstaff Cigars, and W.A. Robertson was of Chelsea Table Jellies fame.
After this successful 1897-8 season the Club became members of the more powerful Southern League, again with pronounced success. Eventually they turned professional in 1900, starting with a part-time list of players.