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By MC22/5/2023 15:37Mon May 22 15:37:10 2023In response to KINGSMEADOW

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I must admit that 3-4 years ago I had given up on this. Now I am, perhaps foolishly, daring to dream again.

Obviously since Chelsea moved to Kingsmeadow in 2017, things have changed dramatically.

First, Wimbledon no longer play there, so the ground is being used less than half as much as it was a few years ago.

Second, women's football has exploded. Wembley is full for England games and the FA Cup final. Arsenal sold out the Emirates for a CL game. Chelsea got 28,000 for a CL game. Women's sides are playing more regularly at their "men's" ground. I believe the plan is for Chelsea to play 6ish times at Stamford Bridge next season in all comps. They only have 11 league home games, and less than 20 overall including cups, so they won't be playing at Kingsmeadow THAT often.

Third, Todd Bohly has taken over and seems to think Kingsmeadow isn't really good enough. There was some talk, I believe in the Daily Mail, that Chelsea were interested in playing their women's games at Plough Lane. Which, in terms of capacity, probably makes sense.

It's worth pointing out that Chelsea's youth sides often play at Kingsmeadow, although I can't see that these games would make it worthwhile for them to own an entire ground simply for that.

As to how Kingstonian would end up there...well, that's the major question. Buying back Kingsmeadow? Probably impossible. Launching a 'hearts and minds' campaign through the media, effectively begging Chelsea to let a barely-used ground be shared by the non-league club that used to play there? Call me naive but I don't think it's impossible, especially for a Chelsea owner who needs good PR.

Once again, I'm annoyed with myself for even bothering to think about this. We're not the Kingstonian of the glory days of the 1990s. We're a step 3 (just) club with gates of 250ish.

But I would put money on the following two things:

(a) in 5 years' time, Chelsea Women will not play the majority of their games at Kingsmeadow

(b) in 5 years' time, if Kingstonian have a permanent place to play, it will be at an existing sports ground whose owners have departed rather than a new site. (I'd include Imber Court here...)

Pie in the sky, maybe. But I frankly have more faith in this miracle happening than I do in the board finding an empty site in the borough and building a new ground from scratch.

Edited by MC at 15:38:14 on 22nd May 2023

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