History of Kingstonian F.C.
1893-1894 SEASON




Three fishes on my shirt: A similar Crest to this one on Clattern Bridge was used by the newly named Kingston-on-Thames Association F.C. to stake their claim to be the senior club in Kingston. Picture with thanks to Matthew Rees who has a blog Ham life.

1893-1894 season was a pivotal moment in the history of Kingstonian F.C. with the most important development in the history of the club to date. A letter to the Surrey Comet and the newspaper's reply was the call for action. The suggestion was for an amalgamation of all the clubs in the area that would form one strong Association team to represent the whole of Kingston. Most of the towns in Surrey and elsewhere already had such a club and fledgeling leagues were beginning to form to provide competitive matches between these towns and villages. Most notable of these was the West Surrey League that had Guildford, Godalming, Weybridge, Walton, Aldershot and Farnham competing against each other.

Once again, William G Carn was at the forefront of the proposals. He said that he had intended something similar back in the days of the Saxons but had been warned off by the "Senior Rugby club" in the area who felt an Association club would in some way 'clash'. Carn had backed off at the time to "preserve harmony".

Over the Summer plans took shape with talks taking place among all the association clubs in the area including the army team of The East Surrey Regiment, Kingston Wanderers, Middle Mill and Malden. On Wednesday 13th September 1893 the new club was announced calling itself the Kingston-on-Thames Association F.C. A new strip of Dark Blue shirts with the Kingston Arms as a badge was chosen while they continued to play their home games on the Fairfield.

P.G. Lloyd was made the first Secretary of the club with William G Carn the Treasurer and R.N. Ferguson as President. Ferguson had been vice captain of the Eton school team back in 1866 where he was in the same team as a future M.P. for Wimbledon, however he was too old to play for the new Kingston team. Richard Temple, The Kingston M.P. of the time, was made a Vice-president.

Sadly the amalgamation itself did not happen with the Army team, Kingston Y.M.I. and Middle Mill having already scheduled fixtures for the forthcoming season, although several administrators involved with other clubs including Malden F.C. (Roper) and Middle Mill (Stonehouse) did decide to join the new club on the committee. Roper was also to turn out on the field of play, although mainly in reserve games. The amalgamation may have failed but the new name did give a boost to the club and allowed it to claim the rights to be the senior team in Kingston. There was also an improved fixture card with matches against good quality opposition like To
wnley Park and Hounslow and, after affiliating with the Surrey F.A., Kingston played their first ever competitive match by entering the Surrey Junior Cup. Affiliation to the Surrey F.A. had also became something of a necessity as the Football Association introduced a new rule which forbade affiliated clubs from playing against teams that were not similarly affiliated.

The team also picked up a nickname, in the press at least, of "Kingston Moths" after a typographical error in a Saturday evening newspaper. Kingston were also able to provide a full set of fixtures for a reserve team for almost the first time ever. This team had its own structure of Secretary and officials which made it virtually a separate entity to the first team.

Pivotal moment or not, the first season of Kingston-on-Thames F.C. was very little different to the previous few years and newspaper coverage was perhaps even less than it had been in previous seasons. They got through more matches and barely missed a Saturday during the official season which ran from late September to start of April. Selection problems remained however and it was the same familiar names of Lanham, Peck, Lloyd, Churchill, Kemp and Ocock that made up the key members of the team. They did nearly end up with their first Surrey County representative player when Stevenson, who had been made captain of the new club, had a Surrey trial while playing for Kingston and was picked for the match against Hampshire in November. By the time the match was played he had moved to Surbiton Hill (still a bigger club) and the honour was theirs instead.

With a regular assortment of extras they again failed to find a completely settled team. Priestley played a handful of games at Centre Forward and a new Inside Forward was found in H. Humphreys who played in almost every game. Midway through the season Jack Craig, having previously played for Ferry Works (somewhere in the Ditton area) arrived to fill a vacant full back slot and W. Howard, who had played a few games the previous season, took the Inside Left position.

The season followed the pattern of the previous with Kingston winning as many games as they lost but not looking that special. Their opening game was an "away" trip to the Barracks in Kings Road, Kingston to play the East Surrey Regimental District in a friendly that was described as a "practice match", despite nearly all games being friendlies anyway. East Surrey were the holders of the Surrey Junior Cup and Kingston were beaten 2-0.

Their first appearance in a competitive game became something of a marathon. They had received a bye in the first round of the Surrey Junior Cup and in the second round were drawn at Hampton Court & East Molesey (being one variant of the team that went on to become the present day Molesey F.C.). In appalling conditions Kingston lost 5-1 but such was the state of the pitch that an appeal against the result was launched. William Carn recalled the appeal to the Surrey F.A. citing conditions such as invisible line markings caused by the rain and goalposts that fell down and had to be lifted up by spectators whenever the action threatened a goal. According to Carn the document he presented was read out by a Surrey F.A. representative who broke down in fits of laughter half way through and had to pass it on to one of his colleagues to complete the reading. They did however find in Kingston's favour and ordered a replay.

A week later Kingston met the same team in a scheduled friendly at the Fairfields, winning 3-0, although this match did include some players who were not eligible for the Cup tie. The week after that they attempted to replay the cup game but the ground was still in bad condition with frost and this time the teams agreed in advance to just play a friendly. Finally, one month after the original match, the tie was completed with a narrow 2-1 win for Molesey from a winning goal in the last few minutes.

Aside from the marathon with Hampton Court & East Molesey there was very little to write about in a very average season. Highlights included a match against Scottish Fossils in November. The team was made up of Scottish players, often past their best, and many connected in some way with the relatively famous London Caledonians. Kingston won the game 1-0. Boxing day saw their best result of the season when Kingston beat Old St Andrew's 5-0 at the Fairfield. The game was so one sided that goalkeeper Fred Lanham strayed further out of his goal as the match wore on and was so far up that he headed the fifth and final goal.

A Smoking concert held in the New Year, attended by the Mayor of Kingston, was considered a success with more members signed up to the club, but results continued to be mixed. There was a good 1-0 win at home to Croydon Park but also a 2-0 defeat at Wimbledon Old Centrals (later to become Wimbledon F.C.).

Although they managed to produce full teams for all games that season, there was a bit of controversy when a match at home to Ferry Works was cancelled at short notice with the Ferry Works team already dressed when the groundsman declared the pitch unfit. Ferry Works offered to pay for the Kingston team to travel to their ground but were refused in view of the failure of half the Kingston team to put in an appearance in the first place. This led Ferry Works to accuse the Kingston team of being "fireside footballers".

The season was rounded off with a home win against East Surrey Regimental District reversing earlier defeats and an invitation back for their second ever appearance in the Kingston Charity Festival, perhaps in part due to their new self designated status as the team representing the whole of Kingston. They met Peckham, who were already playing competitive matches in the South London League, at the Rugby ground in Richmond Road, and put in a creditable performance by winning 3-0 even if Peckham had needed 3 substitutes for the first 15 minutes because some players had missed their train.

The reserves managed a full fixture card, reflecting the increased interest in the club. For the first half of the season results were excellent with some high scoring wins. This included a 10-0 win against Clapham Primrose, despite being a man short, and two other wins of 8-0 and 9-0. The second half of the season saw their form fall away somewhat but they managed regular games right up to the end of the season including a very late game on 21st April when they visited Uxbridge Reserves and lost 4-2 but in a much closer game than the earlier home match at Kingston where they had been beaten 5-1.

The Annual General Meeting reported a satisfactory first season for the new club despite finances showing them 6 Guineas in debt although donations at the meeting cleared much of this.

 


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