Sunday, 8 August 2010

Fisher FC (England)

Fisher are at the same time one of the newest and one of the most historic of all London's non-league clubs. Fisher FC were only founded in 2009, but they rose from the ashes of a famous name in the capital's football, Fisher Athletic. The new club was founded by members of the Fisher Supporter's Trust when Fisher Athletic were wound up in the High Court after serious financial difficulties. They were immediately accepted into the Kent League, the ninth tier on the pyramid, although they had been used to playing at a much higher level in recent years.

Fisher Athletic were formed back in 1908 by the head of the Dockland School in Bermondsey, to provide sporting facilities for the under-priviledged youth of what was a very run down area at the time. They were named after the Catholic martyr Saint John Fisher, one of many churchmen executed by king Henry VIII after refusing to recognise him as the head of the head of the Church of England. They spent most of their more recent years in the upper echelons of the non-league system, getting as high as the National Conference, the highest level of English non-league football, after winning the Southern League in 1987. They stayed there for four years, but it was perhaps this run in the big time that started their financial decline.

Coming from a city with some of the biggest clubs in the world, and being based only a short hop down the Thames from the well-supported Millwall, they have always struggled to get decent crowds, and their march up the leagues wasn't met with as corresponding swelling of gates. After a very successful season in 2008 that saw them reach the Conference South play-offs, an exodus of players moving to richer clubs followed, and their fortunes took a dive. The following season, massive debts piled up, and players were paid between November and the date of a final winding up order in March. the High Court held it up until the end of the season so that the club could fulfil its fixtures.

The newly reformed club play at Fisher Athletic's recent home, in a ground share at Dulwich Hamlet's Champion Hill Stadium, once one of the biggest grounds in the non-league with attendences of up to 20,00 in its prime. But these days they are limited to a far less windswept 3000. Despite having to start a few levels lower down the pyramid than they are used to, it will be interesting to see if the new club can maintain its momentum and work their way back to the level they clearly feel they deserve. Good luck to them on their travels.

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