the real fa cup

AFC Wimbledon: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

Any powerful idea learns to use its biggest weakness. The Joker used Batman to manipulate Gotham, Capitalism used Communism to re-enforce the necessity of its own ideals, the business of football has used AFC Wimbledon to restore faith in the way it operates. The Dons started off as something different, but they’ve ended up the same as everyone else, its shiny exterior covering up the same putrid underbelly as the rest of the game.

I realise, that the mere implication that AFC Wimbledon are anything less than whiter than white may be difficult for you to stomach, but bear with me here, because beneath the media-induced glorious surface lurks a club that have left a trail of destruction in their wake, the irony of a bigger club damaging a smaller one clearly lost on them. (This seems a reasonable juncture to point out that a dislike of AFC is not a tacit support of MK Dons. My feelings towards them are not new, nor different from the multitude previously expressed by many, and as such I won’t go over them again.) But the club have been far from perfect, especially in its dealings with my club, Kingstonian, of whom AFCW are landlords, and this coming week sees a move that is symbolic in the course of this relationship, the destruction of the Ks home (The Dons away) stand, The Kingston Road End, the re-building of which will see it replaced with seats.

We all know about the (re?)birth of AFCW, and despite the damage done by the Dons there remains something subversive and inspiring about a club refusing to die and fighting against the system in order to survive and eventually thrive. But the circumstances by which they ended up at Kingsmeadow have been less heralded.

Intrinsically linked to the birth of AFCW are the troubled events surrounding Kingstonian at the turn of the millennium. After a successful spell in the conference under Geoff Chapple that saw a 5th place finish nicely supported by two FA Trophy wins, things began to go downhill. As enjoyable as the era was, the golden period was built upon financial mismanagement, and despite being a matter of seconds away from an FA Cup fifth round tie that may have balanced the books, the demise of Ks was inevitable.

After lurching from one economic calamity to another, the club ended up in the hands of one Rajesh Khosla, who was, in essence, an asset stripper. To cut a long, messy story short, Kingstonian’s situation continued to deteriorate, and the selling of Kingsmeadow would not only save the club, but also line Khosla’s pockets quite nicely. It’s at this point that the recently re-formed Dons stepped in. The timing was perfect for the phoenix club, who were searching for a ground at the time KM became available. While it seems a perfect fit, surely AFC of all clubs should have avoided dealing with a man whose raison d’etre was individual gain, whether it destroyed a club at not.

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Rob Tolfrey’s Decisive Shoot-Out Save In Front Of The KRE: FA Cup .v. Margate.

The historical balance is a delicate one. The sale ultimately saved the Ks, but the majority of the money was never seen by the club, a legacy that hurts the club to this day, as its total lack of assets has long-term implications. While it’s entirely possible that Kingstonian may no longer exist (in its current guise) were not it for the intervention of AFC, the loss of Kingsmeadow, and the way in which the scenario now plays leaves the Ks powerless. Not only is their future entirely dependent on decisions made by the Dons, but their lack of finances leave them powerless in any negotiations over the future of Kingsmeadow.

This is significant. Long-term, the future of Wimbledon does not lie at Kingsmeadow for the simple reason that for a club whose identity is so rooted in geography that surely they would drown in a bath of irony if their existence continued in Kingston. The end-game has to be a return to Merton (or somewhere a lot closer), in which case the future of Kingsmeadow hangs in the balance. (A side-issue, but key concern here is the future of Tooting and Mitcham. Their ground is far more ideally placed for Wimbledon, with plenty of room to expand, watch this space…) If Ks cannot afford to buy it off them, there’s a chance it could be taken over by the council and knocked down/turned into flats/turned into Tesco/turned into a shrine for AFC Wimbledon. This would leave Ks homeless, and perhaps hopeless.

But as I say, there’s balance here. Ks play rent-free at Kingsmeadow, the overheads are low, very low, and as such the continued existence is entirely down to AFC. However, this existence is at the expense of the chance of longer-term thriving. No money is made for Ks through the ground, and while this is an experience of many who share grounds, there is a bigger issue. As long as AFC exist in Kingston, the Ks crowds will suffer. Necessarily high prices amongst all the teams in the Ryman means the disparity between Ks and AFC ticket costs are not large enough to ensure new fans come to Ks. Your new or neutral fan in Kingston or the surrounding area will be drawn to AFC through a combination of a higher standard of football, and the chance to see the media darlings in the flesh.

For Ks, the possibility of getting new fans, in an area with so much choice of non-league teams (Met Police, Tooting, Sutton, Carshalton and Hampton are all crowd-stealingly-close-by.) A recent chat with a barman in a Thames Ditton pub was a prime example of this. A football nut, he is always looking for an excuse to go to a game, even stretching to take in a Met Police reserve fixture. But on a free Saturday his destination of choice is Kingsmeadow, to see Wimbledon. This is exactly the kind of fan Ks, and all non-league clubs, need to find to secure their future, but for Ks they are fighting a losing battle. Ks’ attendances are down by a third in recent years (they were higher in the Ryman South), this is entirely down to the continued existence of AFC. Those 150 or so fans that Ks have lost would mean very little to AFC, but for Ks, they mean everything. This ensures that the reach of Ks, both in terms of influence and league position is limited. The team that found themselves in the upper echelons of the non-league game 12 years ago now sit in the middle of the Ryman Premier, on a less-than-average budget for the division.

On a smaller scale there are other issues. It has never been made particularly public, but The Dons have made things difficult for Ks to arrange cup games in the past. A recent London Senior Cup tie was not allowed to be played on the desired date, despite it not clashing with any Dons fixture, with no firm reasoning ever given. It’s safe to assume that there were reasons, but this is typical of AFC, their concern is purely about themselves. This is seen in fixture planning (or blocking), the marketing in Kingston of the club, the removal of much of the Ks identity from Kingsmeadow and the destruction of the KRE (which was done with no consultation with Ks board). A microcosm of Wimbledon’s attitude is shown in the loss of the friendly between the two sides. This was agreed upon as part of the original deal, with Ks making money from it, however in recent years, as AFC’s profile has outgrown the need for such a goodwill gesture, the fixture has disappeared. Ultimately, AFC’s presence in Kingston means that the biggest losers from the MK Dons scandal are Kingstonian.

Perhaps you are thinking that this is entirely justified, surely any club’s priority should be themselves? But for Wimbledon, this is different, they embody more than a sodding club, they’re an idea, the last vestige of our heritage, a club whose existence was born out of a desire not to conform to the path football was taking. Because of this, it seems entirely reasonable to hold Wimbledon to a higher standard than the rest of the game. They ARE different, they are unique. Scrap that, they WERE different, they were unique.

They had the chance to restore localism to the game, but instead they’ve built a fanbase where perhaps a third have no connection to Wimbledon (old or new), their ideals have dissipated at the chance to make money and become fashionable, far from taking the game back to its roots, they’ve created a hipster club at the expense of the teams still rooted in their community that surround them.They’ve acted no differently than any other club in their situation would have, and that is exactly the problem.  Wimbledon are happy to be put on this pedestal by Sports Interactive, FourFourTwo and whoever else wants a piece of the action. Well, perhaps they need to justify their tag as the people’s clubs in their current actions, not just in their history. (Yes, yes, yes, they do things in the community, but MK Dons are streets ahead of them on that.) Until the pretence that Wimbledon are anything different to the rest of the game subsides it remains entirely justifiable to hold them to a loftier account than Carlisle or Northampton.

This isn’t a problem with AFC, this a problem with the monolith that football has turned into. Anything different, challenging, subversive is swallowed up and becomes part of the beast and turned into a marketing tool, just wait until Balotelli launches his own brand of PL-approved condoms. Football isn’t about community any more, it’s not about real hope, it’s not about anything real any more. It’s a pre-packaged escapism where you can buy the replica shirt on the way in and comply for 90 minutes, Wimbledon had the chance to do it differently, to re-imagine what that could look like. They had to chance to show concern for the wider game, to be something the game could rally around to dream again. Instead they conformed, they became part of the system. Their disregard for Ks history, home end and chance to thrive is telling. This week sees the death of a home end, but more than that, the death of AFC’s claims to offer anything different.

Jamie Cutteridge writes about Kingstonian and youth work and can be found on Twitter, here.

That odd yet glorious penalty shoot out in front of the KRE can be relived here.

41 Comments
  1. Dont bite the hand that feeds you…..

    AFC didnt sell your club to Rajesh Kholsa, they bought the ground back from him and let you use it for free.
    Wimbledon are paying for your home end to be upgraded, as demanded by the Footbll League. AFC may well have to sell their top scorer to finance this and further neccessary improvements (former John Smiths stand). These are improvements that Kingstonian simply would never be able to afford, yet when completed Kingstonian will have a football league standard ground, whilst contributing nothing.

    Yes some people might not come to watch you guys, and watch AFC instead, but at least you have a club and a home ground. It’s more than you deserve, whilst you blame your financial mismanagement on everybody except yourselves. Ungrateful doesn’t come close to describing your attitude. Fortunately I know loads of proper K’s fans who are delighted that AFC helped Kingstonian out of the hole they were in. AFC have brought league football to the area. Most AFC fans have a soft spot for Kingstonian and consider then their second club. That could save your club again one day.

  2. The only person that seems to have a problem with the Dons is James Cuttridge. Even among Kingstonian fans you are a minority. Thinly disguised hate for Wimbledon dressed up as something else. Time for you to move on.

  3. Let me just get this straight. Kingstonian share a ground with another club who let them play there rent free. Surely this gives K’s a financial advantage over many other clubs in their league. This other club has improved the ground Kingstonian have played on for years (i.e. Kingstonian have never lost a ground or had to move) and by being successful are depriving the K’s of new fans. Well what a bunch these owners must be. Surely they should fold their own club, give the ground they have now invested over £2 million in whilst K’s invest nothing (not even the end of season cleaning done by volunteers) to the K’s so their few hundred fans can stand behind a goal instead of sitting.
    Somebody please wake me up I think I’ve dreamt this article

  4. You make some good points but ultimately it is the same bitterness that we have always heard from Kingstonian fans. AFC Wimbledon was set up with one aim, to continue Wimbledon Football Club. It was never meant to save football or cure all its ills and neither could it. The simple fact is that AFC Wimbledon buying Kingmeadow saved it as a football stadium and very possibly saved Kingstonian too. You admit as much in your article. Yes that was a self-interested decision by Wimbledon but, as I said at the beginning, we never promised to be the saviours of football. The responsibility for making Kingstonian a viable football club must rest with its fans and with Kingston’s community and council. Blaming us for being too big and taking fans away is as pathetic as us blaming Chelsea and Fulham for attracting our fans away. It’s just a fact of football life as we know better than most after years as a poorly supported top division club. Ask Alan Dowson how many Ks fans support his fundraising initiatives and then ask yourself if we are to blame for your financial problems. As for the references to Balotelli, what on earth has Man City got to do with us?

  5. So bitter. Wimbledon don’t want to be at KM but their presence there has at least saved the stadium and Kingstonian’s future. As for K’s ‘Home End’ it’s a 22 year old crumbing terrace that about 20 people stand on for K’s home matches. Not exactly the Kop

  6. Interesting read and I don’t think there’d be many Wimbledon fans who’d disagree with what you’re saying. Problem is, what’s the alternative? The football league are requiring us to have atleast 2000 seats + redevelop the John Smiths stand in 2 years, the costs of which will likely be £1million plus. It’s bad for both clubs in the short term. You lose your home end to seating and we have no sugar daddy to pay the bills which means price increases. Hopefully though in the long term we will ‘move out’ (apparently there are three potential sites in and around Wimbledon, I hope T&M is not one of them) and although that may well be 10 years down the line Ks will end up with a fully developed league standard ground to themselves which they wont have paid a penny for. Whether you can recover local fans after Wimbledon leave is up to you.

    • Damon Threadgold

      The 15 facetious comments seem to suggest most AFC Wimbledon fans do disagree. It’s a bit of a shame so few chose to comment on the issue of community. You make a good point about the FL but it does somewhat reinforce the point that AFCW are just another football club and maybe football needs to take them off the pedestal?

      • As has been mentioned elsewhere, where was it ever stated that AFC Wimbledon *weren’t* going to be just another football club?

        You call them facetious, I call them people who disagree…. and who can blame them?

        The author is trying to portray the Dons as some sort of evil, yet shoots himself in the foot by not just failing to get into full vitriolic stride, but also by coming out with so many positive caveats that ultimately defeat his argument and prevent any feeling of genuine sympathy.

  7. You can evidence this of course? I would say your crowds are actually comparable to the level you’re at. Oh, and not to mention your decline also coincides with Chelsea’s boom.

    It’s difficult to disagree with a lot of what you have written however but you fail to mention that despite the rent being so low, you still failed to pay it. Also, to say that the biggest losers in the Mk Dons scandal are K’s is self indulgent nonsense.

    I voted against buying Kingsmeadow and as far as I am concerned we haven’t had a home game in over 20 years, it’s your home, not ours.

    I would be delighted that once we get our own ground in Merton we simply gave you Kingsmeadow back, free of charge. Maybe a little arrangement on reserve fixtures or something but otherwise take it, it’s all yours.

  8. The writer of this article complains about the lower crowds at Kingsmeadow for Kingstonian games on AFC Wimbledon, maybe he is right to a certain extent but surely it can’t all be blamed on AFCW. I sometimes wonder if the people of Kingston even know where Kingstonian play.

    I was in Kingston one day and decided to get a taxi to the ground and asked the driver to take me to Kingsmeadow, he had no idea where Kingsmeadow was. Now if he didn’t know where the ground was do any of the locals?

  9. Erm……. you’re welcome?

  10. From a piece I wrote in May 2006. Sorry, it’s so long.

    AFC Wimbledon: Love ’em or hate ’em?

    I should start by declaring my interest: I’m a Kingstonian fan. Not the longest-serving you’ll ever meet (I started following Ks when my son turned 5 and today as I write this is his 13th birthday, so 8 years ‘pedigree’. But considering I’ve only lived in Kingston for less about 10 years, that seems fair enough to me!)

    And, as a Fs fan, I approach AFCW as I would approach any local rival, with a mixture of love and hate. (Strong words, I know, but this is football!) If Hampton were to reach the final stages of a Cup that Ks weren’t playing in, I’d (probably) support them. But then again, I’d cheer to the rafters if they got embarrassingly stuffed! I’d like to see Slutton go down, but only so that we stand a chance of playing them next season. I don’t wish them actual harm, y’see, but wouldn’t wanna see them do toooo well either. Complicated, innit? Like when someone you know trips and falls as long as they don’t hurt themself too seriously (legs/breaking that sort of thing) then you can’t help but laugh. It may not be right but it is life. Well, football but y’know what I mean

    But how does that translate to the lovely Wombles?

    Right from the outset, AFCW were gonna be something of a concern for a committed Ks fan. A bigger fish, for a start. Which, in our little pond, means more publicity, more sponsorship, more of a buzz about the thing. And more supporters, too, but that wasnt really the point. Not at the outset anyway when your team plays what people love to call non-league football (wot – we dont have Leagues? Then what are those things we compete in? Ladders? Perhaps they mean the Leagues aren’t real Leagues, that they’re somehow, y’know non- Leagues, not proper Leagues, im-proper Leagues?) you kinda get used to seeing other teams with more fans. When it’s Dover, you put with it with reasonably good grace they dont have much else to do down there, do they? When its Chelski (or even worse, Spurs – with fans in Kingston!) you sort of feel a bit of pity for them (don’t they realize who/what they’re supporting, etc?) but you concentrate on how your team is doing that week with half on eye on how badly your local oppos are doing, hopefully – but you just get on with it. Size doesnt matter, as men say!

    And then there was the whole anti-Koppell, anti-Milton Keynes, stick your franchise up your concrete cows backsides, agenda to it, too. (Again, I should declare an interest: my politics are so far to the left that they’re off my most people’s scales. My politics can’t be described in simple left/right or red/blue markers. I’m a sort of deeper-than-the-scarlet-flag, pro-Castro, Red-Ken, Searchlight, CND, save-the-gay-whale kinda Liberal Democrat) So the whole communitarian thing, the anti-corporate, pro-supporters, pro-local, using-volunteers, jumper-for-goalposts thing, was right up my local, political, council-owned, second-hand-car type of parking controlled, rubbish-strewn but, above all, nuclear-free street. Just for a moment, it looked as if football was gonna regain its soul, its heart, its passion, its ability to appeal to the working man in a Barnstoneworth Utd (MacIntyre, Treadmore and Davitt with the bullet header) kind of way. National newspapers suddenly noticed that football existed below the Premiershit and there wasnt even a giant-killing, romance-of-the-FA-Cup headline to be seen. Supporters Trusts were all the rage; the Glaziers had yet to appear; even dear lil’ Abramovich was little known outside of a tight-band of oil-soaked Russian Mafia bosses

    If I weren’t already a Ks fan (with my own scarf, too!) Id have been a neo-Womble. Within weeks I’d have bored my friends at work with tales of away trips to Mole Valley Predators and Chessington & Hook and other places in the Combined Counties League that few people other their own Vicars would have heard of us. The sort of place that makes you reach for the road atlas. The sort of place, as John Butler said, that if they’re gonna drop the bomb, I’m heading for (If the locals don’t even know where the ground is, how the f*ck will the Germans ever find it??) The rest of the family would be bored at the dinner table, deserted on Saturdays, completely ignored as they went through that existence/life/drudge mixture away from football, of weddings, christenings, trips to Ikea and all the rest of the sh1te that passes for life on a Saturday without football.

    So, as I said, if I weren’t already a Ks fan I’d have been a Womble. But I was and what can you do? You cant just, errg, swap, can you? Like you change your car, or your favourite soap, or wife, or soap opera, or whatever.

    And we’d have got along fine: me and a few hundred others Ks-ites, watching (over our shoulders, with eyes a teenie bit green) as the new Dons on the block stole first our headlines, then our sponsors, next a few of our supporters – and finally a march on the rest of the League (Combined Counties or otherwise). Success for the Dons with thousands of like-minded anti-Koppell, anti-Milton Keynes, anti-franchise supporters was always gonna follow. We knew it; they knew it. The (once-loyal) Kingston edition of the Surrey Comet knew it.

    Above all, we’d still have our history. We’d have our fun. Our days out at Wembley (or Wembley FC anyway). We’d still have what mattered.

    Our ground.

    Our home. Our turf (whatever bloody state it was in!) Our manor. Walking Down Jack Goodchild Way. Kingsmeadow Stadium The Famous Home Of The Ks. Where The Grass Was Green, The Sky Was Blue, and the paint was always Red and White.

    Our piece of Kingston. Built by our own hands. Literally, in some cases. It wouldn’t matter that New Malden would become some kind of border town between us. (The High Streets always been a kind of no-go area, anyway!!) It wouldn’t matter that theyd have loads more supporters than us, roaming from ground-share to ground-share until they could get Back To Plough Lane, and out-numbering us in our own back yard at annual pre-season friendlies and Surrey Senior Cup games. They’d be strangers, visitors, tourists, aliens in our midst. We’d know that however many they may number, and however many they may bring to OUR ground, they’d all have to stand in the rain waiting to get a 131 bus home while we lived in walking distance (the rain doesn’t matter then somehow!) with a couple of good chippies (and the Robert Peel!) on the way home. Fat Boys Café would remain proudly Red & White, however many yellow and blue shirts they wore when they went in! One Team In Kingston. There’s Only One Team In Kingston!

    But then the dream turned sour. We’d had problems, we knew that. We’d had Kelly and Gould and Co. and whilst they hadn’t been total crooks, they’d allowed their ambitions to run away with them and we’d ended up with a bill from the Inland Revenue we couldn’t pay, a CVA, and the dreaded Administrator Nick Hood. (I still shudder when I see that Begbies Traynor has been appointed by the Courts to carve up some other poor bastard club that’s fallen on hard times) He’d resisted overtures from various consortia of local people, including supporters, Board members and other people whose names popped up from the long grass (remember the name Malcolm Winwright, anyone?) and, despite all his protestations about only selling the Club to a football person, flogged the Club to Rajesh Khosla, a businessman (or WANKER, as he’s more usually known in these parts) for a bloody song.

    And, at the time, Khosla had seemed to be doing some of the right things. The jury was still out on him, back then. A few people didn’t like him, a few people positively hated him but, as most of them were also fans of the BNP (one of them even considered standing for the BNP at one point), they were largely dismissed. Khosla had struck a ground-share with the Dons; the players were (mainly) being paid and, even though things on the pitch weren’t great, we still had our Club and our ground and our future. A bleak period in our history, to be sure, but we were alive when even that had looked in doubt as Nick Hood ruled the roost and the vultures circled above.

    And then the dream went from sour to rancid. Khosla decided it would be good business to flog the ground (our ground, remember; built with our own hands, remember; literally, remember) to anyone with enough of the filthy lucre to grab it. Our only tangible asset. Our best way of supporting ourselves. Our pile of bricks and mortar that, whatever happened to the Kellys, and the Chapples, and the Goulds of this world, and the glory days and the not-so-glory days, and the days in the sun and the days in the rain, would always be there. With the crappy Cambridge Road End, and the Table One boys in the posh seats, and the moaners in the Grolsch stand, and the womens athletics to watch at the away end if the football didn’t hold our interest! Our home.

    And, the Dons, those fairer-than-fair, purer-than-pure, holier-than-thou, anti-Koppell, anti-Milton Keynes, communitarian, stick your franchise up your concrete cows backsides, Dons actually bought it. The whole fucking lie. Our home.

    Okay, they promised to play fair by us, promised to be the best landlords a Club could ask for and set a fair (okay very fair) rent. And only painted bits of it blue and yellow.
    But still they bought it.

    And, of all the Clubs in football, with their Milton Keynes and their Plough Lanes and their Selhurst Parks and their Dublins in their history, and their WISA and their Community Football Scheme and their Dons Trust and their not-for-profit but for-the-fans-by-the-fans financial and moral accountability; they still bought it.

    Financially, I’m sure it was a very good move for them. I’m sure it was done legally, too.

    But morally? Morally – it sucks.

    And this communitarian, passionately non-league, mad-for-football, local bloke with a son who comes with him to most games across the season, who’d buy season tickets and replica shirts (home and away) and stupid hats and badges and car stickers and mugs and caps and calendars and lanyards and key-rings (leather/metal fob) and cufflinks and half-zip fleeces, will never* be able to forgive for them for it.

    Sorry.

    *In my dreams, when the cider is cold, the ground is warm and dry, and the sun is shining down on the Pyramid stage in the middle of field somewhere about half a mile from the village of Glastonbury, I lie back and listen to Rolf Harris and see a vision of the future where AFC Wimbledon are beating Chelski at Plough Lane in the play-off final for the sole relegation spot from the Euro-Champions-G18-Sky-Sports-Platinum-McDonalds-Ultra-Premiershit on the same day that Ks (recently crowned Conference Champions and Everybodys Favourite Non-League (And Proud Of It) Club for the 3rd season in succession) are beating Slutton 6-0 at Kingsmeadow “The Famous Home Of The Ks” in the semi-final of the FA Trophy and, all of a suddenly sudden like, I’m happy again.

    Bliss.

  11. I don’t have the full stats to hand, but the claim that K’s attendances are down by one third doesn’t appear to stand up to scrutiny. Of the years I can find stats for: 04/05 – 290, 05/06 – 350, 06/07 – 309, 07/08 – 310. This season – 333.

  12. Bitter, bitter, shite, bitter, bitter, half-truths, bitter bitter.

    Oh sorry, was there actually a point to this load of drivel? It least it made me laugh.

  13. Wow. What pretentious drivel. Jamie Cutteridge writes like a man desperate for attention, to create controversy to build his profile as a writer. Truth is, he’s probably a 20something bloke who loves to hear the sound on his own voice and spends all day long on the internet wishing he had friends. I suggest he goes back into his cave and stops trying to share his bizarre, thoughtless views.

    Next time can we have some talent on this website please?

  14. James Cuttridge you should get together with GarethWrexy, you’d have a fine old time discussing your mutual loathing of Wimbledon.

  15. In the nine years since Afc Wimbledon purchased Kingsmeadow,how much money has Kingstonian Fc put aside for the future purchase of Kingsmeadow?

  16. Oh I hate AFC Wimbledon too. They’re so needy needy needy. “Look at me. Look at me.” Shut up and do one. Mickey mouse club. Them and S*tt*n can carry on with their sickly love-in until one beautiful nuke gets dropped on them. Filthy clubs.

  17. A football league standard stadium.

    Isn’t that what Kingstonian wanted in 2001?

  18. AFC Wimbledon are rubbish anyway. What have they achieved in the last 10 years? Nothing.

    I hear they are planning to knock down one of Kingsmeadow’s stands. I mean, what is the point of that?

  19. Good article. Why do people think K’s want a football league ground when their acess to fans, youth players etc has been removed by Wimbledon. Their ground was of a decent standard (for non league) before afc. Too many have jumped on the Wimbledon bandwagon.

  20. The two clubs should merge and relocate to bletchley park.

  21. What more pointless whinging crap from Kingstonian. Nothing is ever there fault is it? Let’s not forget they spent a fortune in the late 90’s/early 00’s buying their way to promotion to the conference and two FA Trophy titles, spending vast amounts of cash they didn’t have on pushing forward, all the while rubbing the noses of local rivals in it. Not to mention ground ‘improvments’ – trying to make it Football League standard in 2001. After relegation in 2001 they spent big again trying to get back up on the 1st attempt, gambling that they’d have a long FA Cup run. They were knocked out by a Wessex league club. They entered admin with a week. Of course no-one would wish Kholsha on anyone, but without AFCW they wouldn’t be at Kingsmeadow today.
    As for AFCW no-longer being special. Wasn’t that the point? They’re not FC United of Manchester, AFCW signed a massive shirt sponsership deal before their 1st ever game. They’ve always stated that they wanted to get to the Football League ASAP. What did people expect?
    Kingstonian always complain that it’s someone elses fault, that someone else is to blame. Your league position, poor crowds and ground situation are your own fault. Stop whinging about it and move. Again the question, how much have you raised to buy back Kingsmeadow?

  22. I am a AFC Wimbledon fan. Interesting article and comments.

    I don’t really understand the point with regards to the rebuilding of the Kingston Road end. James Cutterdidge says this is the Dons away stand, this is incorrect as at least half is used for Dons HOME fans every game. Football league requirments require Wimbledon to have a certain amount of seats. If Ks fans are worried that the developments will lead to a lack of terracing there is still the Tempest end. Football grounds change over time, fact!

    The point about what happens to Kingsmeadow after Wimbledon move (if they do, and it’s not a cert!) is something I can understand that might worry a K’s fan. However after what happened to Wimbledon, and with our ground history I would like to think we would look after Kingstonian.

    The Wimbledon Kingstonian friendlies should resume. They were not just a “goodwill gesture” as we played lower clubs than the K’s in the pyramid in this 2011/12 pre season (Beckenham Town and Bedfont Town).

    As for communitity all I know is Wimbledon do try very hard to build this area (which must be difficult when we are not based in our home borough). I have heard MK Dons do well in this field but what they do isn’t relevant to Wimbledon or Kingstonian.

    • Richard you sound like an apologist/appeaser. Read the article properly and you’ll answer your own stupid rhetorical questions.
      The article written is factually incorrect and should be called out as such-fiction. A Dons fan would say as much. No wonder K’s are on the slide.

  23. You realise the stand being developed is to to the K’s original plans don’t you? You can always pay for it if it makes you feel better 🙂

    In my opinion we never should have bought the place and instead just have just paid rent before moving on..(leaving you to pay your own rent to be there) It’s becoming a ball and chain we could do without since the place can’t be developed any further is size..

    Out of interest, what would it have taken in your opinion to keep this “whiter than white” image? Buy the ground and give it to you as a gift? (actually you would probably then complain about the tax on a gift)

  24. Typical Ks nonsense from the author of the article and also “Rex”.

    The attitude of both represent the equivalent of being badly beaten up & left for dead, but blaming the person who finds you in the nick of time & calls the ambulance.

    Anyone would think Ks were kicked out and either went bust or had to go and share at Banstead or similar. Where’s your proof of the “lost” fans and where they went.

    Ks play in the same ground, RENT FREE, and have a roof over the originally uncovered end, an enlarged main stand (in THEIR colours), and benefit from countless other improvements to which they have contributed NOTHING.

    (apologies for the capitals but certain people just don’t seem to get it.)

    Deep down I think the author realises they’re getting a damn good deal out of the current situation, not to mention saved his club (he even admits as much), yet tries to deflect attention away from the real issues affecting Ks (i.e. their previous appalling financial mismanagement & dodgy goings-on), by taking the easy way out and blaming the Dons, who arrived long after the near-terminal rot had set in.

    As for Rex, yes the Dons bought the ground – would you rather they owned it, or sold it back to Khosla?? Take your time…

  25. I agree with most of the above, so I won’t repeat it.

    One thing I will add though is – this really comes down to poor attendances at Kingstonian. Put Wimbledon aside for a minute, because ultimately they’re the reason you’re even alive today, but why haven’t Kingstonian as a club put together more of a marketing plan (flyers, tickets to schools etc) to try and draw the local people to the club? They play at the ground rent free, so can hardly complain about having no money.

    I’m a Wimbledon fan and I have a soft spot for Kingstonian and always will do, but blaming us for your demise is utterly embarrassing, to be honest.

    The key thing to remember his, we don’t want to stay there and will hopefully leave in time, so you’ll have the ground back. I realise that is part of the problem as running costs could ultimately leave Kingstonian in the shit, which all Wimbledon fans would hate to see for the record, but time to start planning and aim for promotions. The higher up the leagues you are, the more chance you have to attract new fans.

    Yes, Wimbledon had a rather large fanbase in place, but we managed to attract thousands for our CCL fixtures – Surely Kingstonian can do the same with some clever marketing?

    Fact is, they don’t promote the club. The only bit of promotion Kingstonian get is on blogs like this!

    Time to stop complaining and realise Wimbledon saved your bacon and realise that ultimately you’ll be left with an even nicer stadium than it was before and if the club draw some extra support in, there is no reason why you can’t get crowds that could help manage the stadium and help Kingstonian push up the leagues.

    Hope to see Kingstonian back in the Conference sometime soon.

  26. Also, another point to make – say Wimbledon left the ground in an instant and gave it back to Kingstonian, would the Ks support increase? Probably not.

    That’s the issue you need to be addressing.

  27. Captcha code doesn’t work so there goes my original reply. I think the writer should refer to this blog post by the ex-chair of the Ks trust and principally:

    a) how the ground was already separated from the club before Wimbledon came along
    b) How Khosla already had the club operating from gate receipts alone, before Wimbledon came along.

    http://www.twohundredpercent.net/?p=9392

  28. I think the author here is what Stuart Barnes is to Rob Andrew/Johnny Wilkinson….jealous.

    As for destroying the heritage of KFC and their Kingston Road End – the ground has only been in existence since 1989 surely you should be more upset in having sold and moved from Richmond Road
    !
    Kingstonian be grateful for what you have and have been given.

    therealfacup – ‘it’s what football is all about’ t-shirts coming soon

  29. Mark Cox – I can tell you how much K’s had put aside in preparation for the time when they have to fund their own ground. As at june of last year it was precisely nothing, zip, zero, less than £1, not much at all (I’m sure you get my ddrift).

    This info was confirmed to me by persons on the K’s forum.

  30. I’m not an AFC Wimbledon fan and I have to say this does sound like petulant whining.

    Kingstonian should be glad that they’ve still got somewhere to play. If it wasn’t for Wimbledon Kingsmeadow would be a supermarket or some luxury flats.

    The bad guys here are not the people who saved your ground. The bad guys are the people who mismanaged your club.

  31. On the stand upgrade – what you are saying is ridiculous. What do you want us to do? Get thrown out of the league? It is a *mandatory upgrade* that we would far rather not spend money on. (It’s also not our away end, so our own fans are losing a terrace as well).

    On the more general point:

    Having a football club isn’t a god-given right. It seems like it is sometimes, because of the longevity of most clubs in England. But if you want your club to survive, sometimes you have to earn it.

    Wimbledon fans have earned the existence of our club, at much sacrifice of many people’s time and money. If I was a Kingstonian fan, I’d be working hard on fundraising, partnerships, and talking to the bank, to make sure we were in a position to secure our future and buy back our ground when it became available, rather than whinging about having your club saved for you. Hell, make us an offer now. I’m sure we’d look at it.

    I certainly feel a sense of responsibility towards Ks, and I hope we make every effort to leave you with a sustainable future. But it is not our job, and never has been, to make 100% sure of that. It’s yours. What are you doing about it? Because I don’t see anything above that accepts any responsibility or offers any actual solutions for improving your situation.

    Just baffling.

  32. As has been mentioned elsewhere, where was it ever stated that AFC Wimbledon *weren’t* going to be just another football club?

    You call them facetious, I call them people who disagree…. and who can blame them?

    The author is trying to portray the Dons as some sort of evil, yet shoots himself in the foot by not just failing to get into full vitriolic stride, but also by coming out with so many positive caveats that ultimately defeat his argument and prevent any feeling of genuine sympathy.

  33. @rex: tl;dr

  34. I think it’s patently obvious that Wimbledon got back into the Football League in record time just so they could slightly inconvenience a few socially inadequate real ale drinking non-league fans for a few minutes.

  35. Is that the best you can do? I mean, seriously?

    • It’s the view of a K’s fan, Kevin, is their view of no consequence? We’re not saying it’s right or wrong but we respect their right to be heard.

  36. COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED.

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