In 2021, Kingstonian FC, which was formed in 1885, is in a race against time to save its future and to protect its 136-year legacy. The “K”s are currently searching for a permanent home, having grappled with a unique set of circumstances over the last 20 years. They have gone from gracing the magnificent Kingsmeadow Stadium to now living a nomadic existence, which most recently includes ground-sharing with Corinthian Casuals – a fellow Isthmian League Premier Division team. 

 

To understand the Club’s current predicament and future potential, it is important to delve into its recent history. In 1989, Kingsmeadow Stadium was built and owned by Kingstonian for 12 years. Financial trouble struck in 2001 with the Club being forced into administration to avoid bankruptcy. The Club was assigned to Rajesh Khosla, a property developer, who owned it until 2003 when he sold the leaseon to AFC Wimbledon. A 25-year sub-tenancy deal was struck and the two clubs shared the ground until 2017. Towards the end of this period, in 2015, AFC Wimbledon sold the Kingston Road site to Chelsea FC, with the Premier League Club now usingthe ground as a base for the Chelsea FC Women and its academy sides.

 

Significantly, Kingstonian were not part of this long-term deal and were forced to leave the ground in 2017 after 28 years – with AFC Wimbledon paying  the club a mere £1 million pounds as a result of the deal.

 

Since this point, Kingstonian have played at various grounds temporarily, but no long-term solution has been found. Following a recent update on the 28thof October from the Club’s Director, Mark Anderson, it has been revealed that they attempted to find an agreement with three different leaseholders for their grounds over the last few years. Firstly, the K’s identified the Chessington Golf Centre as a potential ground, however an agreement was never reached. Secondly, in 2019, another piece of land within the borough was shortlisted as a potential target. Whilst negotiations with the leaseholders were positive, the deal became too complicated when the disaster of Covid 19 struck – just one example of how the pandemic has impacted Non-League Football since the beginning of 2020. In the last 6 months, the K’s have been ground-sharing with Corinthian Casuals, however the Clubs’ respective directors have concluded that this is not a long-term solution.

 

What does the future look like? In the recent update video from Mark Anderson, he informed the fans that a new piece of land within the Borough of Kingston has been located as a possible permanent home for the team. He revealed that the board is “pretty optimistic about the new possibility” and hopefully a deal can be agreed to save the longstanding community club.

 

Kingstonian has such great potential, finding a new home could be the first step in bringing overdue stability and success to the club.