The very beginning
The club was founded by Bob Hubbard in 1974. Bob and some of the players were Fulham fans and the club was originally named after their supporters’ club, Friends of Fulham. Matches were played on Clapham Common. They had no official link to Fulham FC.
They joined division three of the Hounslow & District League in 1975 and the following season won promotion to division two, and two seasons later they were in division one.
The following two seasons they were runners-up, winning the League Cup in 1981/82 and in 1982/83 they won the treble with their first title, retaining the League Cup and winning the Anniversary Cup. Looking to progress they joined the Home Counties League.
After another season as runners-up the 1984/85 season was to prove their best yet, winning the Home Counties League and Cup double and the Women’s F.A. Cup, beating the all-conquering Doncaster Belles 2-0 at Craven Cottage.
The double was secured the next three seasons too, as Friends of Fulham established themselves as one of the top clubs in the country, reaching the final of the Women’s F.A. Cup twice more.
In 1990/91, in preparation for the formation of the National League, the club re-joined the Hounslow & District League (by then called the Greater London Regional Women’s Football League). They finished second to Millwall Lionesses and were duly elected to the Premier Division of the new National League.
For their adventure at the top level of the game the club joined forces with Wimbledon, taking their name, wearing their kit and playing at Plough Lane. In the first season they finished third to Doncaster Belles and reached the semi-final of the Women’s F.A. Cup, and the second season they finished a creditable fourth, but that summer a team packed with internationals left the club to join up and coming local rivals Croydon and Wimbledon finished the next season without a League win and were relegated to the Southern Division.
And there they remained, winning the League Cup in 1994/95, but never regaining the glory days of the previous decade.
The AFC Wimbledon story
In 2003/04 AFC Wimbledon took the women on board and they had their best seasons for some time, finishing third. This season the girls’ section was also formed. The following season the first team won the Surrey Women’s Cup, beating Chelsea 2-1 in the final. After several seasons in mid-table their luck ran out and in 2006/07 they were relegated to the South East Combination League. This was a disastrous season, with heavy defeat following heavy defeat and relegation to the London & South East Regional League.
Even at that level the club struggled near the bottom for several season, until they turned the corner in 2014/15, finishing just a point from the top spot, and followed that by winning the title without losing a match and gaining promotion to the FA Women’s National League, Division One South East.
Since then the club have established themselves as promotion contenders and in the 2021/22 season played in front of a record crowd at Plough Lane and reached the final of the FA Women’s National League Plate.
© Bert Dale, WiSH