The Club, Fulham Deaf FC, was founded in 2003 by Nick Beese who in 2002, was concerned about the lack of deaf football opportunities in South West London and very keen to make a contribution in improving deaf football welfare in South West London, prior to the setting up of Fulham Deaf, there were only three deaf football clubs registered in the British Deaf Sports Council National Cup from London, whereas previously there used to be twelve London representations.
The number of Deaf football clubs has unfortunately decreased over the last decade due to the lack of support and commitment from the community. Lack of understanding from the outside community has also contributed to this temporary downfall. However it does not mean that the numbers of deaf footballers in London are on the decline.
Nick was one of eight footballers that travelled to Luton from their homes in West London to play for Luton Deaf Football Club in the local hearing league every weekend. This led to there being seldom any training sessions, mainly due to the distance of numerous footballers that were without a reliable source of transport. There had also been many cases of Deaf footballers that have been made redundant from the closures of other Deaf football clubs along the years, which painted a bleak picture for the future of deaf football. This was a trend that Nick wanted to reverse.
How it all started
It all started with several telephone calls made by Nick Beese and several meetings with Fulham FC’s Football in the Community Officer (Now Fulham FC Foundation), Gary Mulcahey for this negative trend to be broken. Christof Niklaus was later drafted into the fold. Viccy Paull-Martin also got involved to help set up the ladies squad.
Gary Mulcahey (Fulham FC Community Sports Trust Manager) & Nick Beese
The dawn of a new era in Deaf football in South West London officially began on 26th March 2003 in an open meeting at the Earl Beatty public house where prospective players and volunteers came to offer their services, and so it was here on this historical day Fulham Deaf FC was born, if you like.
On this day, Nick Beese was voted in as the Club Chairman and Christof Niklaus was elected to be the 1st Manager of the Menâ€™s squad, with current manager Ayad Sarraf elected as Christofâ€™s Assistant Manager. The ladies squad started off as a 5-a-side team as they did not have enough players to play 11-a-side football.
Former FDFC Manager Christof Niklaus with the British Deaf Cup
Fulham DFC was the 1st deaf football team to work in partnership with a professional club, starting a new trend, which has inspired other deaf football clubs to look for support from their local professional outfits.
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