Until quite out of the blue in June 1980 Fulham Football Club, and chairman Ernie Clay, announced the formation of a rugby league team, with the open intention of creating another income stream for the soccer club. The RFL accepted the new club in what many thought was a madcap scheme. One of the game’s leading players Reg Bowden was recruited to act as player-coach and within weeks an experienced team of players was assembled. The opening match at Craven Cottage was a day never to be forgotten. Nearly 10,000 fans turned up, most of whom were watching their first ever rugby league match to see the newly formed “Men in Black” overturn rugby league legends Wigan 24-5. The first season was a series of heady experiences; 12,583 fans to see Leeds beaten in the John Player Trophy, 15,013 to see Wakefield in the Challenge Cup, 11,926 for the end of season challenge against champions Bradford and of course, most importantly, promotion itself.