History of Kingstonian F.C.
1890-1893 Seasons- Kingston Wanderers



The Saxons, now known as Kingston Wanderers, brought in a new strip of cherry and white stripes for the 1890-1891 season and were to play under the new name for the next 3 seasons, still only playing friendly matches.

The name change seemed to do the trick and 1890-1891 was to be their best season yet. They were accumulating a fair number of former Middle Mill players including Ernie Sayers and Charles Collins and, even though there was an increasing number of Association clubs in the Kingston area, the Wanderers were making a strong claim to be the top one. Wanderers won every game they played up to the end of January and only lost one match all season. Unfortunately the weather caused havoc to the fixtures and only 13 of the scheduled 24 games were played.

They had a much more settled team with the addition of Fred Lanham in goal and George Nott in the forward line. Nott had played a few games for the reserves the year before and was also a professional cricketer with Surbiton Hill. Lanham was another player who had previously been at Middle Mill and was well known in the area and even able to arrange his own teams on occasion. He was to have a long association with the club over a period of nearly ten years although he was not the regular goalkeeper throughout that period and, in common with other players in the area, there was a lot of switching between clubs. Players could simply help out in other teams if they had a free Saturday or wanted a change of scene as there was no need for player registration and Lanham was also reported to have played in one of the Aston Villa reserve teams.

Jack Kemp and Billy Ocock were firmly established on the two wings with Ocock a typically small and fast winger. There was a solid half back line of George Whenman, Ernie Sayers (absent in the previous season) and Charles Collins and it was also to be the first appearance of Willie Hurliman who was to make a number of appearances over several years, mainly as a Full Back partnering Arthur Peck. Hurliman's given name was Thau but, for reasons unknown, in sporting matters he used the name of his stepfather. His playing career with the Kingston club was relatively short as he had already played for a number of other clubs including Middle Mill, Weybridge and East Surrey Regiment and was also active in the swimming club. He was, however, to later play an important role in the administrative side of the future Kingston On Thames FC.
Arthur Peck had the distinction of playing in every single game that season, albeit that there were only 13 of them, and another 5 players only missed one game each. It was only two positions in the forward line that were never adequately filled including the centre forward slot.


Willie Hurliman (nee Thau) Pictured in later life. (Taken from Surrey Comet June 1942).

The season started happily with two 3-0 wins on consecutive Saturdays, but then tragedy struck during a 7-0 win at the Fairfield against Cobham Hawks which led to the death of Arthur Smith, one of the Cobham Hawks' players. He had been in what was described as a blameless collision with George Nott and received a knee in his stomach area. The game continued as it was not realised the seriousness of the situation but the player died on Monday after being cared for at home on Sunday. The Coroner noted that there had been around 50 deaths around the country in the previous season as a result of playing football although this was the first in the Kingston Borough. Kingston Wanderers' game for the following Saturday was cancelled as a mark of respect.

The winning run continued into November and December but then the weather wrecked football for a seven week period between the start of December and the end of January. The Thames might not have been frozen enough to host the "Frost fairs" that had been held earlier in that century but at times it was a close run thing with tugs having to break through packs of ice in the Kingston area and, in various places, conditions allowed brave individuals to venture a little way out onto the ice. It was only on 31st January that Kingston Wanderers were back in action with a 2-0 win over Weybridge Rovers with both sides reported as being rusty after the extended break.

There followed yet another cancellation as Kew Priory scratched at very short notice with Kingston Wanderers receiving a letter at 1pm on the day of the game telling them the Priory club "no longer existed". A week later saw the first defeat of the season when they were beaten 2-0 by Streatham. Kingston had previously beaten their reserve team twice that season and welcomed the chance to play against their first team. Wanderers did nearly all of the attacking but were caught by two breakaway goals and were left bemoaning "the hills and valleys which form the Streatham Club's 'Native heath' ". The Streatham ground compared unfavourably to the "smooth sward" of the Fairfields but matches between the clubs continued despite Wanderers' aversion to the playing surface and a journalist delighted in reporting a "mud pond" when playing there the following season.

The most exciting game of the season was seen a couple of weeks later when Wanderers drew 4-4 with St. Margaret's at the Fairfields. Wanderers put out a weaker team than normal including a substitute and it was a game that swung one way and then the other. Anstey, in his only game for the club, scored the final two goals for Kingston Wanderers, both of which cancelled out St. Margaret's' leads. Aside from matches against Middle Mill this was the first game where crowds were reported to be excited and competitive about their respective teams as big cheers greeted the goals.


Advert for the Charity festival featuring Kingston Wanderers printed in the Surrey Comet,
Because of their increasingly indisputable claim to be the top Association Club in the Borough, Kingston Wanderers were invited by Kingston Rugby club to take part in the annual charity festival to benefit local hospitals at their ground at Richmond Road, more or less on the site of the future Kingstonian ground. It was again St. Margaret's who were the opposition. 300-400 people attended with the main billing being a Rugby match between Kingston F.C. and Kingston Rangers. The result of the Association game was another close fought match ending in a 2-2 draw. It was a good end to a very promising season for the newly named Kingston team and the event had allowed them to gain a much higher profile in the town.

The reserves did less well during the season, in part losing momentum because of the weather. They were only to manage 6 games, playing without a full team in two of them, and suffering an 11-0 defeat at the hands of Carrington Lodge when playing two short and with two substitutes in the remaining nine players. Their overall record was not too bad with 2 won, 2 drawn and 2 lost including a draw and a win against Old Centrals first team who were later to become Wimbledon FC. Old Centrals disputed the result however because of a late goal they claimed to have scored but which the umpire was unable to judge because of the light and their official committee meeting decided to record it as a draw in their records. Kingston Wanderers and the local Kingston papers however saw things differently and continued to regard this as a win. It wasn't the only controversial result for the reserves that season with St. Margaret's Reserves disputing a goal scored by Wanderers as they claimed the whistle had already been blown for offside. Again, the official Kingston verdict on the matter was a win for Kingston Wanderers Reserves.


The following season was disappointing to say the least.
Lack of interest meant that for 1891-1892 the club decided not to field a reserve side which proved to be a mistake as it meant that less players were match ready and could not be called upon for the first team when needed.The settled side of the previous season was gone and only Billy Ocock and Arthur Peck could be considered regulars. Without a reserve team it was harder to find people to step up to the first team and McDonald at Full Back was the only new player to command a regular place. P.G. Lloyd (who replaced Whenman in the half back line) returned to the team but the backbone of the team from the previous year was missing with Collins, Sayers and Lanham only making occasional appearances. Even Kemp was missing for much of the season and only returned for the final few games. The forward line was a mess and Ocock was the lone figure among a constant change of players, none of whom were to stay with the club. The only slight exception was Borlase (a policeman by trade). He had scored 5 goals in 5 games the previous year and was to net another 3 in 3 games in 1891-1892. According to William Carn he was a talented player but was unreliable and tended to hold the ball for too long. In any event he never played enough games to be fully judged and Ocock remained top scorer as he had done in the previous season.

As a result of this unsettled side, the club only won 5 games all season and also had a truncated fixture list with the majority of games being played at home. Postponements began as early as 10th October when Wanderers refused to play Kingston Rovers because of the state of the pitch. Th
ere was little of note to report in a rather depressing season. Defeat against Kingston Rovers made Wanderers claim to be the top team in Kingston less substantiated. They again drew with St. Margaret's at the start of the season but were beaten 2-0 in their final game in March. Indeed they lost every game played after 2nd January including two heavy defeats against Stanley (of Putney) by 7-2 and by a humilating 8-0 a week later at Putney. After their match on 13th February only one more game was played with games in March scheduled against Carrington Lodge and West Croydon apparently not taking place. It was not surprising that Surbiton Hill were chosen for the end of season charity match on the Rugby ground at Richmond Road rather than Kingston Wanderers.

1892-1893 season saw quite a few changes in personnel resulting in a much more settled line up. Lloyd had become secretary and Kemp was now treasurer with Ocock, Lanham and G. Tapping also on the committee. Lanham, Peck, and Lloyd were back to almost full attendance and McDonald continued in the Full Back slot for the first half of the season. Newcomers Churchill and Richards completed the Half Back line leaving a settled defence, although the vacant slot left by McDonald in the New Year was never satisfactorily filled. Up front the reliable Ocock and Kemp continued their partnership on opposite wings and were joined by a new Centre Forward, Priestley (who became vice captain) as well as C.Tapping. The forward line was less settled than the backs however and, although Nott played a handful of games, there were two positions that were never adequately filled.

The season began with 5 straight wins and the Wanderers remained unbeaten until the end of November when they suffered a bad 4-0 defeat at Hampton Court & East Molesey. The last two goals were excused on account of being played in darkness with keeper Fred Lanham up to his ankles in puddles of water.

 


Wiliam Carn- picture from the Surrey Comet dated 15th Dec 1928.

Although not as bad as previous years there was still a problem with attendance and they had to include players who were just making up numbers. Wanderers were still getting decent results though and it was late January before their second defeat in a match at Eversleigh where they had to play with just 8 players (and even then including one substitute) and lost 8-0 as a result. The substitute had been put in goal and the report stated he was a "novice" and that you only had to shoot straight in order to beat him. The Reserve team was resurrected but met with mixed results. 6 games were played in November and December and results were reasonable, however no games were recorded in the second half of the season and it looked as though the team had once again had to fold.

1892-1893 had been a better season and Wanderers were only beaten 3 times in 20 games, but there was little in the matches worth reporting on, and many of the games in the latter half of the season were scantily reported on in any event. There was a feeling that there was of lack of progression about the club and for Association Football in the town as a whole. With the growth of the Association game in general, the town of Kingston was underperforming in relation to the national game in other towns and cities and it was increasingly clear that something had to be done to improve matters. In other parts of Surrey many of the towns had a club that represented the whole town and there had already been a West Surrey League set up to play competitive games among those clubs. The Surrey Senior Cup had started in 1882 and the F.A. Amateur Cup was to start in 1893-1894 season. Once again it was to be William G Carn who took matters into his own hands and he proposed an amalgamation of the Kingston clubs in order to produce one senior team to represent the whole of the Kingston area with Kingston Wanderers taking the lead in those proposals.




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