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History

The Kingstonian club came into being in 1919 as a result of the merger between Kingston Town FC and Old Kingstonians FC. However, the club can trace its origins even further back and celebrated its centenary in 1985; the reason for this is that one of its forerunners, Kingston & Surbiton YMCA FC played its first match on a ground in Bushy Park in November 1885. In 1887 the YMCA changed its name to Saxons FC. Then in 1890 it changed to Kingston Wanderers FC and once again to Kingston-on-Thames Association Football Club (KAFC) in 1893. Unfortunately, in the early 1900s there was trouble in the camp and in 1908 the club split in two with Kingston Town playing at Norbiton Sports Ground and Old Kingstonians on what became known as the "back pitch" at Richmond Road.

The new Kingstonian set-up started life in the Athenian League, a competition that it won in both seasons 1923/24 and 1925/26, playing its home matches at a brand new ground in Richmond Road that remained its home until 1988. In 1929 the Kingstonians, widely known as the K's, accepted an invitation to join the Isthmian League as a replacement for the Civil Service FC, and remained in that league until 1998.

The K's have a credible history and their blue ribbon period of the early 1930’s produced players such as Frank Macey, Doug Whitehead, George Lee and the Whittaker brothers achieving in April 1933 its then greatest accolade by winning the FA Amateur Cup which well and truly put Kingstonian on the football map. Wins over Portland United (after a replay), Leyton, South Bank, Dulwich Hamlet, and Whitehall Printeries took the K's through to the final, staged at Dulwich, against Stockton, which resulted in a 1-1 draw. For the replay Kingstonian had to travel to Darlington, but despite going one goal behind after only four minutes, the K's came back to win 4-1 thanks to goals from Gibson, Urpeth (penalty) and Whitehead (2).

In the following season, 1933/34, K's bowed out of the Amateur Cup in a second round replay to Wimbledon at Plough Lane, but went on to successfully win the Isthmian League, a feat they repeated in season 1936/37 and, of course in 1997/98.

In season 1959/60 it seemed as though the Amateur Cup was going to return to Kingston as the legendary Johnny Whing headed K's into the lead against Hendon in the final at Wembley Stadium. Two goals in the last three minutes, though, had the FA officials busily changing the red and white ribbons for green and white ones as Hendon won the cup for the first time. To qualify for the final, Kingstonian disposed of Histon, Letchworth Town, Ferryhill Athletic, Carshalton Athletic, and Crook Town in a semi-final tie played at St James' Park, the home of Newcastle United.

The Kingstonian teams of the early 1960’s were arguably as good as those of the 1930’s and many trophies were won. After winning the Surrey Senior cup for the 9th time (as Kingstonian) in 1967, the club's successes dried up and despite the endeavours of many managers and countless players, the team went into decline. In 1979 relegation to Division One was suffered, but in 1985 the club bounced back as runners up to Farnborough Town. K's were a mite fortunate as Leatherhead, who finished above them on goal difference, had three points deducted for fielding an ineligible player. Kingstonian remained as members of the Premier Division until the end of the 1997/98 season when promoted to the Nationwide Conference.

The famous Richmond Road ground, which was loved by so many, became increasingly dilapidated and subject to vandalism, so a decision was made to relocate and develop the site for housing - a move that also assisted the club's finances. The last game played there was in January 1988 against Bromley. After one and a half season's ground sharing at Hampton's Beveree ground. K's opened their brand new Kingsmeadow Stadium (on the site of the old Norbiton Sports Ground) in August 1989, when Slough Town were the visitors. After achieving a draw with Peterborough United in 1992, the club recorded a fine FA Cup win at Kingsmeadow by beating Brighton in 1994; they also competed well the following year against Plymouth. In front of 3,495 supporters the K's held Leyton Orient to a 0-0 draw only to lose 2-1 in the FA Cup 2nd Round Replay in 1998. Drawn away to Luton Town in the First Round of the FA Cup in October 1999 saw the K's come in at half time 1-1 only to go down 4-2 at the end.

At the beginning of the 1997-98 season, the club appointed Geoff Chapple as manager. He brought about an exciting change of fortune for the club. In his first season, he took the club to the Isthmian League Premier Division Championship. In the following season, their first in the Football Conference, the club finished a creditable 8th, but they capped it all off by winning the FA Trophy at Wembley in May 1999 with a 1-0 victory over Forest Green Rovers. The following season 1999/2000, in the last FA Trophy Final between the famous Twin Towers, the K's retained their title with an exciting 3-2 win over Kettering Town, giving Chapple his 5th FA Trophy Final win in seven seasons (the other three with Woking). The club also reached their highest position of 5th in the Conference.

However, season 2000/2001 proved to be extremely mixed. The K's made the headlines again with a tremendous run in the FA Cup. A home win against Devizes Town was the start of an incredible run that saw the K's defeat Brentford, Southport and Southend United all away from home. In the Fourth Round, K's were thwarted in the last kick of the game at Ashton Gate as Bristol City scored a very last gasp equaliser before winning the replay at Kingsmeadow in a live televised match. Unfortunately, the club's league form proved to be exactly the opposite, as the K's finished next to bottom and were relegated back to the Ryman Football League.

Season 2001/2002 and it was time again for a change, as the club and Geoff Chapple parted by mutual consent. Kingstonian quickly appointed former Dover Athletic man Bill Williams as their new manager, who had working alongside him former Tottenham Hotspur player Steve Sedgley as his assistant. In late 2001 Williams departed the club and Sedgley moved up to the position of manager and his assistant was Kim Harris who was promoted up from the position of reserve team manager.

December 2002 saw the sudden resignation of the highly promising Sedgley as manager. The club immediately promoted Harris, a former K’s striker, to manager and appointed former Woking man Scott Steele as player/coach. The club had ups and downs over this period but only failed to make the new Conference South following a single goal defeat to Lewes in a Ryman League playoff.

Following a poor start to season 2004/05 Harris decided to call it a day after just four games. Scott Steele was promoted to manager but, despite encouraging good football from his side, was unable to prevent what became an inevitable relegation to Division One. However, good news arrived off the field when local businessman Jimmy Cochrane bought the football club, giving the club a positive outlook for the first time in several years. Steele's resignation followed towards the end of the season when former assistant manger Ian McDonald was brought in along with Stuart McIntyre as his coach with a view to resurrecting the club's fortunes.

The 2005/06 season saw K's move up the table only to miss out on playoffs on the final day of the season, though silverware was achieved following a 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon in the Surrey Senior Cup Final. McDonald was almost immediately succeeded by McIntyre as manager, whilst the club was jointly bought by Mark Anderson and Malcolm Winwright – the board would be completed by the presence of John Fenwick as chairman from May 2011 to June 2014 and then co-chairman with Anderson and Winwright from then on.

Stuart McIntyre’s time as manager was unfortunately short-lived and unsuccessful, and midway through the 2006/07 season he was replaced as manager by former Walton and Hersham manager Alan Dowson. Dowson and his team immediately transformed the club, and achieved a semblance of stability. There was plenty of expectation for the 2007/08 season, though inconsistency led to the K’s missing the play-offs once again on the final day of the season.

The 2008/09 season was successful from start to finish. A run to the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup was highlighted by a 4-0 home win over Conference South team Braintree Town, all four goals scored by midfielder Dean Lodge. This performance led to the K’s player winning the Performance of the Round award from the FA. But it was in the Ryman League Division One South that the biggest success came, as a very strong start and a storming finish led to Kingstonian winning the division by seven points ahead of Cray Wanderers.

After an absence of four years, the club almost passed straight up through the Ryman Premier Division, recovering from a difficult start to reach the end of the season playoffs. It was Boreham Wood, however, who won the controversial final match. Heartache followed in the following 2010/11 season when a final day collapse at Margate cost another attempt at the playoffs. The following two seasons saw mid-table finishes in the league accompanied by successive London Senior Cup final appearances, before a return to the playoffs in the 2013/14 season, after the club finished runners-up in the league. A semi final defeat against AFC Hornchurch however denied the chance of promotion, in what turned out to be Alan Dowson’s last game in charge.

With former K’s midfielder Tommy Williams installed as manager, the club again reached the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round, losing 3-2 to a last minute goal against Eastbourne Borough. The league campaign was a roller-coaster, a late challenge for the play-offs falling short in the last couple of weeks of the season. In his second season, the 2015-16 campaign saw the K’s lift their first cup in ten years, winning the Isthmian League Cup with a 5-0 victory over Faversham Town.

The 2016-17 season proved to be a difficult campaign, as the club flirted dangerously with relegation thanks to a dreadful run following Christmas; with six games left and hopes almost lost, Tommy Williams was replaced as manager by former Billericay Town man Craig Edwards. He turned the club around immediately and K’s moved up to 16th after a five match unbeaten run to end the season. K’s left the Kingsmeadow Stadium at the end of the season and moved to Fetcham Grove with Leatherhead FC; Edwards resigned in October 2017 and was replaced by former Whyteleafe manager Leigh Dynan.

At the beginning of the 2018-19 season, Kingstonian moved back to the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames and started a ground share with Corinthian-Casuals at King George's Field.

Published Wednesday 19th September 2018 (last updated Friday 23rd November 2018)