Non-league minnows facing extinction after Chelsea bought their stadium – even though they hardly play there

KINGSTONIAN are facing extinction after being forced from their home by Chelsea.

The non-league side sold their Kingsmeadow ground to AFC Wimbledon in 2003 for a reported fee of £2.5million.

GettyKingstonian were kicked out of Kingsmeadow after Chelsea bought the ground[/caption]

The Dons played at the stadium for several years and won promotion back to the EFL before selling the ground to Chelsea in 2017.

Wimbledon had ground shared with Kingstonian during that period but Chelsea kicked The K’s out of their home to allow their women’s team to play there.

That forced Kingstonian to ground share with other non league clubs including Leatherhead, Corinthians, Tooting & Mitcham and Raynes Park Vale, where they currently play matches.

The result has been dwindling attendances and growing dissatisfaction amongst the fanbase, as well as relegation from the Isthmian Premier Division this season after 15 years in the division.

Kingstonian now play outside the borough of Kingston after being turfed out by Chelsea, who bought Kingsmeadow for almost £7m yet have only played there once on a Saturday this season.

Wimbledon recognised the damage the deal could have on Kingstonian so left the club an endowment of over £1m.

But there were stipulations including the fact only £40,000 could be spent on running costs per season – the rest was to be spent on ground costs, either rental or construction.

Now that allowance is set to run out, meaning Kingstonian’s owners will be short of £40,000 to fund the club.


The money from Wimbledon now stands at around £650,000, with some estimating the club has just ten years remaining.

Building a fanbase has proved difficult after moving to a ground with just a 1,500 capacity, with traditional supporters alienated as they feel the club has lost its identity.

Jon Tolley, a former Liberal Democrat councillor in Kingston and long-time Ks fan, told The I: “We’ve probably got another 10 years before we’re going bust.

“But that’s the problem. The existential nature of it is that we’ll have 40 fans at games – and I’ve been to games this season, where the official attendance is 180 or something like that, but you count the crowd and it’s less than 100 because they include season ticket holders and complimentary tickets who didn’t turn up to make it seem less embarrassing.

“So yes, the legal entity of Kingstonian FC Limited exists, but that’s not the club that I fell in love with. That is dead already.

“I think there’s always space for Kingston’s football club, but under this ownership, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

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