As the minutes ticked down on Kingstonian’s final match at Kingsmeadow one supporter quietly slipped away from the terrace at the end of the east stand. He had a favour to ask but time was tight and the plan was entirely reliant on goodwill. Fortunately there was some of it going around. After knocking on a couple of doors behind the old Kingston Road end his powers of persuasion bore fruit in the form of a temporarily loaned back garden. A strike of a match later the final salute could begin.The jets of red and white fireworks – an impressive and prolonged display, compromised only by the clear afternoon sky against which they battled for prominence – had the intended effect. “I’d been savouring the moment until then but once they went off, that was it for me,” says lifelong Kingstonian supporter Denise Turner, who was watching from the stand. “I thought I was going to cry. We’ve got so many memories here but that signalled the end of it.”Those memories will remain but the chance to create any more has, to many minds, been wrenched away. The history of Kingsmeadow, which was built in 1989 and has been home to Kingstonian since, is complex for its relatively young age but on Saturday it was the present that mattered. Next season the Ryman League Premier Division club will leave Kingston and groundshare with Leatherhead, 10 miles and well over half an hour away by car, and it is a move that throws Authentic Brooks Orpik Womens Jersey their survival into doubt.“I’m convinced the club is going to die after this,” Gary Ekins, formerly the club’s press officer, says. Not everybody is that pessimistic but the circumstances behind Kingstonian’s departure have led many to feel embittered. In reality the roots of the club’s plight were laid down in 2003 when the incumbent Khosla family, who had purchased a stricken club from administrators, opted to sell the stadium lease for £2.4m to AFC Wimbledon – who needed a medium-term venue for their phoenix club. The Khoslas, rather than the club, walked away with the money. Kingstonian were allowed to stay on for what, essentially, was a peppercorn rent, with little changing bar the trappings around Kingsmeadow as the new owners’ operation gathered momentum.Last June, to facilitate Wimbledon’s future return to Plough Lane, the stadium was sold to Chelsea. Wimbledon will, for now, remain as tenants Authentic Kenny Britt Youth Jersey but there is no room for Kingstonian in Kingsmeadow’s future. In returning to what they consider their own home Wimbledon have in effect helped to dislodge Kingstonian from theirs.“You have to understand that we’ve been paying for the sins of the past but now we have the opportunity to find and develop our own stadium,” the Kingstonian co-chairman Mark Anderson says. That process is aided by a sum of around £1m that Wimbledon have paid Kingstonian because, in their words, they “recognised the position the club was in”. Nobody would deny it is a generous amount of money. The majority of it is ringfenced to be spent on a stadium; last year the Wimbledon chief executive, Erik Samuelson, described it as “windfall money for them to get at least an equity share of their own stadium or many years’ rental money”. Frittering cash away on the latter eventuality would probably do little other than postpone disaster, though, and Kingstonian hope slow-moving plans to build their own ground on the former Chessington Golf Centre, still in the borough of Kingston albeit on the fringes, can now gain some speed. with unbelievable assets so we just need to move on and get on with it,” Anderson says. “The future of this club is rosy – rosier than it’s ever been, in fact. But the price we’ve had to pay is leaving this ground.”AdvertisementThe contrast in mood between Anderson and Ekins is stark. There is the near-certainty that crowds, which sometimes dropped below 250 this season, will plummet further in Leatherhead despite the offer by Anderson, who runs a successful travel company, to ensure fans are transported for free. With the groundshare currently mooted for an indefinite period and the Chessington project in some doubt, there are well-held fears that Kingstonian risk an itinerant future that, as plenty before them in non-league have found, tends to end only one way. Anderson’s optimism perhaps avoids the issue of how precarious life has become in football’s lower reaches.Kingstonian do, though, inspire a depth of feeling that at once lends further positivity and underscores just how important it is that they remain alive. Around 1,200 supporters, three times their previous biggest crowd of the season, were present on Saturday. Even if that included 300 jubilant visitors from Havant and Waterlooville, who saw their manager Lee Bradbury soaked in champagne at full-time as they gained the point they needed for promotion to the National League South, it spoke of a latent support that is powerful for a club at this level and has borne witness to much better days than this.“I warmed to the stadium very quickly because it did exactly what it said it would,” says Phil Windeatt, who grew up on the nearby Cambridge Road estate and remembers watching Kingstonian amid packed houses at the club’s older, rattling anachronism of a Richmond Road home. “It was comfortable and you just had a feeling the club was going somewhere. In the 1990s we had a team that was strong and played good, attacking football. We were there or thereabouts every year but were never quite going to win the league. In the end we were like Icarus, flying too close to the sun.”

The Wall

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