After a decade, Fulham DFC is established as one of the most successful deaf football clubs in Europe with a large pool of deaf footballers to create a real community club at Motspur Park.
In an open meeting, held on 26th March 2003, a small new club committee was created with Christof Niklaus installed as the Men Team Manager. Ayad Sarraf was recruited as the Men Team Assistant Manager while the Women team focussed on building up their pool of women players starting at 5-a-side.
And the rest as they say is history…
In the first season, the Men Team won an incredible treble by winning the British Deaf Cup, the KDFL League Intermediate Cup and getting promoted at our first attempt. At the end of 2005, Ayad took over the managerial reins from Christof and continued the club’s success with several cup trophies and league promotion three times.
Fast forward ten years later to 2013, Fulham DFC Men has now been British Deaf Champions four times in 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2013, a success rate that no other deaf football club can rival.
There is a real sense of stability at the club where deaf footballers has remained loyal for several years and also with only two managers in place for the men team in ten years.
Fulham DFC Women started as a 5-a-side team, before progressing into a full squad, joined the Surrey County Women’s League in 2005. Today the women’s squad is also well recognised in the UK after competing in mainstream and deaf competitions for 8 years.
Fulham DFC has also provided several youth opportunities both in training and competitions for young deaf footballers. The door for youth opportunities remains open at Fulham DFC so please get in touch with our club if you’re interested in these youth opportunities.
Several deaf footballers from Fulham DFC has earned call ups for the international scene such as the Deaflympics Football Competitions, World Deaf Football Championships (now renamed Deaf World Cup) and also the World Deaf Futsal Championships (now renamed Deaf Futsal World Cup).
In the 2013 Deaflympics Football Competition, there were an incredible ten Fulham DFC Women footballers representing Great Britain Women, all of them whom made a considerable contribution towards securing the bronze medal inside the national Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria. This was the second time Great Britain Women won the bronze medal at the Deaflympics Football after they won the bronze medal in 2005 with two Fulham DFC Women footballers. Fulham Deaf’s Mark Sinclair represented Ireland in the 2013 Deaflympics, Ireland came an impressive 6th place.
At the 2009 Deaflympics Football Competition, Fulham DFC boasted a record fifteen Fulham DFC players to represent both Great Britain and Ireland.
In the 2005 Deaflympics Football Competition, held in Melbourne, five footballers from Fulham DFC Men represented Great Britain Men in winning the gold medal. Nick Beese, the current Fulham DFC Chairman captained the victorious team.
Mark Saunderson and Chris McGinn progressed from coaching Fulham DFC to become Head Coach for Great Britain Deaf after learning BSL during their coaching at Motspur Park. Chris McGinn is still involved in the Great Britain Deaf set up and aims to qualify for the 2015 European Deaf Football Championships, 2016 Deaf World Cup and the 2017 Deaflympics and perhaps add a medal or two – no pressure there Mr McGinn!
Club Vice Chairman Leo Mansell, a qualified Senior County Referee, refereed the 2013 Elizabeth Jaques Charity Cup Final at Beckenham Town FC, the first time a deaf referee officiated a cup final in London with mainstream assistant referees.
Our Chairman from the beginning of the club’s era, Nick Beese, has been involved at all levels from playing in midfield, maintaining the club’s website and chairing the club to greater success on and off the pitch.
Christof Niklaus became the club’s Honorary President in 2011, while still working for the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) as the Football Technical Director and Sports Manager.
Mohammed and Karim Al Fayed were significant supporters of our club for almost ten years with generous donations and support from sponsors. Without Fulham FC Foundation (FFCF), our club would not be where it is today. With the use of Motspur Park, coaches, equipment and resources provided by FFCF, our club has grown from strength to strength in becoming a real community club with events throughout the year to raise funds to keep our club going.
Club footballers, coaches and volunteers, men and women, have come and gone but continued their proud association with the club by attending the club’s AGM, events, celebrations or better still becoming part of the club’s prestigious committee.
Fulham Deaf Football Clubs aims are to:
1. Enrich the Deaf football community, and bring all Deaf footballers of both sexes and all ages in South / West London together week in and week out, thus developing a Fulham based Deaf football community.
2. Maintain the Club and for the Club to persevere close working links with Fulham FC.
3. Provide weekly coached training sessions for our Deaf footballers and develop elite Deaf footballers capable of bringing home Gold for Great Britain in the forthcoming Deaflympics, World or European Championships.
4. Enable all Deaf footballers to enjoy their football and increase the life span of their football playing days.
5. Enter the Club into local mainstream leagues and various cup competitions of a good standard to help the international players develop into world class footballers.
6. Develop close links with Deaf schools and mainstream schools to build the Club’s foundations for the long-term future.
7. Host an Open Trials Day every pre-season for deaf footballers wishing to join the Club.
8. Set up a performance plan and structure to enable the Club to lead the way for all British Deaf Football clubs, and assist other Deaf football clubs develop in order to enrich the British Deaf football community.
Fulham Deaf FC’s philosophy:
Fulham Deaf FC acknowledge the world-wide values of self-respect, sportsmanship, and competition, which go beyond all boundaries of age, gender, race, religion, political beliefs, and nationalities.
Fulham Deaf FC believes that through deaf football & recreational opportunities, football training, football coaching and football competitions, deaf and hard of hearing footballers can benefit physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually in an environment of acceptance, equality, and mutual respect.
Fulham Deaf FC also believes in the consistent and continuous training and development of deaf and hard of hearing individuals as players, coaches, and officials.