The Press Takes Notice
By 1890 the Club was beginning to force itself into the public eye, so much so that Press notices were given. The colours were again changed, becoming one-inch black and white vertical striped shirt with blue knickers. (5) Under the able secretaryship of Mr. Arthur Newport, an ex-student of St Marks College, the dark side, and a master at Halford Road School, who assisted the team at centre-half, the club started about the business of becoming a premier club of London.
The name of Fulham St Andrew’s was dropped. And the club became Fulham F.C.
It was on the ‘Half Moon’ ground also that the goal nets were used for the first time. Fulham became holders (1890) of the ‘West London Observer’ Football Challenge Cup - a beautiful trophy put up for local competition by the proprietors of the paper. The final result was a win against Stanley F.C. by five goals to two. Each member of the winning team received a souvenir medal of very handsome design.
Season 1892 saw Fulham take another upward step when they entered for the London Senior and Middlesex Senior Cups, but, although playing with conspicuous success, they failed to win another competition. This season saw the West London League formed, its members being Fulham, West End, Kildare, Queens Park Rangers, Stanley, Grove House, Paddington, Hounslow, Southall and St. Johns College.
At Easter Fulham embarked on their first tour of the West Country. The first game - against Weymouth - resulted in a goalless draw. The second game was a big test as the opponents were the Dorset representative team. Although Fulham put up a good fight they lost by two goals to one. However, they wound up the tour in triumphant style when they defeated Yeovil by three goals to one. A special item of interest in the game was the grand play at back of the Rev. Horsham of Yeovil.
During this season Fulham became champions of the West London League - certainly a praiseworthy feat when one remembers the opposition they were called upon to meet. J. May who played some wonderful games in goal, was at this time skipper of the team. Other members being T. Shrimpton, The Rev. G.M.Hall (an Old Blue of St. John’s Church, Walham Green), Pearce, Jackson, Blight, Wilkins, Draper, Sermon, King and Carter.
In 1893 Fulham again gave a good account of themselves without winning either of the cups for which they entered. In the London Senior Competition they disposed of Caledonian Athletic (now London Caledonians of the Isthmian League), but their career in this competition was cut short when they met the Royal Ordnance Factories F.C. (now the famous Arsenal F.C.) and lost by the odd goal.
It was during this season that the controversy arose with reference to a Fulham player named Payne who was alleged to have been lured away to play for the Spurs for the consideration of a pair of football boots.
Quite recently a London weekly sports paper published a picture of Ernie Payne stating that he was the first professional footballer and was loaned to Fulham by the Spurs. Both these statements are incorrect, for Payne, though suspended for a month, never became a professional and far from being the first ‘pro’, his playing days were some twenty years after the general adoption of professional football. Furthermore he was not loaned to Fulham, but was ‘poached’ by the Spurs from Fulham. It was also stated recently in the London daily press that this case resulted in both the Spurs and Fulham becoming professional.
Actually only Tottenham turned professional. Fulham, it was seen, did not take this step until later in season 1900-01.