If we thought we’d seen the last of Geoff Chapple once he quit Woking, he led Kingstonian up to the Conference to prove us wrong. Yeah, sure – coming out on top in the 1995-6 title race means you can say we pretty much won our ‘war’ against the Cards. But, far too often, Chapple got the better of us while in charge at our arch-rivals. After swapping Kingfield for Kingston, it didn’t seem as if he’d lost his taste for the battle with Boro’. It was irritating.
But we’ll get to all that.
Who are Kingstonian?
The Ks date back to 1885; the club starting life as Kingston and Surbiton YMCA. But you’d swear they were struggling to settle on a name that they liked. It changed in 1893 (Saxons FC), 1890 (Kingston Wanderers) and 1893 (Kingston-on-Thames). If that wasn’t enough, a split saw the club go two ways in 1908; the first team as Old Kingstonians and the ‘A’ team continuing as before. It wouldn’t be until after the First World War that harmony was restored; the pair coming back together as the united club we’d come to know in later years.
The next decade-or-so would be kind to the Ks; twice Athenian League winners (1923 and 1926) and the FA Amateur Cup to boot in 1933. By the time that trophy had been added to their collection, the club had moved to the Isthmian League and went on to win that title on two occasions during the 1930s. But it did take ’em a while to add a third Isthmian League crown to their list of honours; 61 years if you’re counting. Not that they didn’t come close in that time. But nobody remembers who came second, third or otherwise.
Why do we know Kingstonian?
Boro’ came close to catching up with the Ks during the mid-1980s; missing out on ’em as they won promotion from Division One just two seasons before we were promoted to it. A first meeting did come about, however, without the need for us to take yet another step up. And it had to be us making the effort as they were getting quite settled in the Premier Division. In October 1987, then, the FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round brought ’em up to see us.
What is our record against Kingstonian?
In what counts as a bit of a scalp, we kick-started our head-to-head with the Ks with a 2-0 win. It was a campaign that’d ultimately see us sent back down to Division Two North; re-opening a two-division gap between us in the process. So, as far as the 1987-8 season is concerned, this was definitely a highlight for us. Our relegation, however, meant that we’d more ground to make up before we’d meet again.
The Ks were far too busy trying to earn themselves a place in the Conference.
Yet, they didn’t manage it. Well, not by the time Cloughie got his hands on us; whipping us into formidable shape. For the first time, we met them as equals during the 1992-3 season – both fixtures coming at the back end of the campaign. We won ’em both too; 2-0 at ours and 2-0 at theirs. Three games, three 2-0s. Consistent. By now, we were punching high in the division and the Ks were nestling back into mid-table.
Our 1993-4 title-winning campaign saw us collect six more points with our crazy 5-3 win at Kingsmeadow and a 4-1 win indoors. But it did also mean the end of our time together yet again; us going up and the Ks staying put. It’d be three years until Chapple took charge in 1997; leading ’em to a long-awaited third Isthmian League title and a just-as-long-awaited promotion to the Conference.
Now, this was a problem. Chapple’s Woking side were a constant thorn in our side. And it turns out the Ks would be no different under his guidance. In their first two seasons in the Conference, the club gave a good account of themselves; finishing 8th and 5th. And when it came to us, they took 10 points from the 12 on offer across those two campaigns. It was the 3-3 draw at our place in February 1999 that stopped it being a clean sweep.
And it was no thanks to Brian Statham; sent off for deliberate handball on his Boro’ debut.
The other three results were 1-0 to them. Yeah. All three of them.
Kingstonian: Boro’s Record
Our head-to-head: P 11 — W 6 — D 1 — L 4 — F 22 — A 15 — Pts 16 — WR 55%
Our last tango: Kingstonian 0-2 Stevenage Borough, 17 February 2001
What happened to Kingstonian?
Hopes must’ve been high for the Ks going into their third Conference season. The second saw them kick on from the first. So, could they keep heading in that direction? No. Instead, things took a turn for the worse. Chapple was sacked with the side struggling at the wrong end of the table; not that it stopped ’em smashing us 5-2 at Broadhall Way. It wasn’t ’til our old foe was out the way did we finally beat the Ks in a Conference match.
The Ks were relegated at the end of the 2000-1 season. And it’s the last we’ve seen of ’em to date. Four years later, another relegation sent them down into Isthmian League Division One. It came a season after a defeat to Lewes in the playoffs cost them a place in the new Conference South set-up. But it’s not all doom-and-gloom. The club made it back up to the Premier Division in 2009 and nearly earned promotion again in 2010.
Not for the first time, however, the playoffs were not their friend. And that was the same in 2014 too. So, the Isthmian League Premier Division is where you’ll still find ’em right now.
The years after relegation from the Conference have also been marked by off-field issues relating to Kingsmeadow. The stadium lease ended up in the hands of AFC Wimbledon in 2003, with the Ks sharing with the Dons. In 2015, however, the Dons sold the lease onto Chelsea and the Premier League side had no room at the inn for the Ks. In 2017, the club left their home of nearly 30 years to enter into ground-sharing agreements elsewhere; the most recent of which is in Tolworth with Corinthian Casuals.
• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Kingstonian club profile