Kingstonian FC – or the Ks as they are known to their fans – are one of the longest playing teams in English football. However it has had its share of ups and downs in recent years.

Time & Leisure Junior spoke with first team manager Hayden Bird to find out more about their journey.

Kingstonian FC can trace its heritage back to 1885. It has been playing continuously since then and is currently in the Isthmian League, a regional men’s football
league covering London, East and South East England. The K’s play in the BetVictor Isthmian Premier Division.

Kingstonian used to be one of the biggest clubs in non league football. In fact, the Club hit some heady heights at the turn of the millennium – winning the F.A. Trophy in 1999 and 2000. It also progressed to the fourth round of the F.A. Cup in 2001. Since then the team has faced more than its fair share of challenges and even senior managers acknowledge that the team has become a ‘sleeping giant’. However, the team is poised for bigger and better things.

Back to their best

Hayden joined Kingstonian in September 2019 as first team manager – a job that he describes as a career highlight and a privilege.

“My objective is simple. I’m here to restore the Club to it’s former glory and in doing so, bring silverware to the people of Kingstonian.”

Early signs are positive with the K’s having reached the first round of the F.A. Cup for the first time in 20 years.

The Twelfth Man

The team is now playing football regularly in Tolworth. In recent years, the team has been moved from its former home at Kingsmeadow, to a temporary home in Leatherhead last season.

They are now groundsharing with Corinthian Casuals at their pitch at King George’s field in Tolworth. But for Kingstonian, being part of the community is not just
about location.

The K’s have actively embraced their responsibility to the Royal Borough of Kingston and its wider community. As a result, they can draw on a committed fan base that is hard to replicate in other teams.

“The fans are a big part of the Club,” says Hayden. “There have already been many occasions when the team is under pressure and we have won due to the supporters cheering the boys onto victory. There is a saying in football that the supporters are the ‘twelfth man’. Here, they really are!”

The K’s have deliberately tried to ensure that that atmosphere is shared with all fans. They work hard to create a family feel – away from the more tribal nature
of premiership football – and encourage a wide range of people to come to home games.

Since 2012, the club has been running its ‘Kids go Free’ scheme – which children free with a paying adult. Students pay just £4, over 60s and carers pay just £6 for
home games.

The Kingstonian mascot is a five foot teddy bear called Ted and children are often involved as mascots at home games. Players have always welcomed younger fans and I am happy to report that the clubhouse is very welcoming.

The Kingstonian mascot is a five foot teddy bear called Ted and children are often involved as mascots at home games. Players have always welcomed younger fans and I am happy to report that the clubhouse is very welcoming.

Community Partner

Kingstonian has long had a partnership with local charity, Kingston Carers Network to support young carers.

A ‘carer’ is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. A young carer is a carer under the age of 18.

They run an annual Young Carers Day at a home match with local children chosen to be mascots. Children always go free at home matches but Kingstonian has
extended discounts to adult carers to that they can attend with young carers.

“As a Club, we want to provide a service to the Kingston community and become a club that everyone can feel a part of. I cannot stress how strongly we feel about this,” reiterates Hayden.

Access all ages

In addition to its first team, the Club has a thriving youth section, running eight teams starting from Under 8’s, all the way up to the Youth Team, which is Under 18’s.

“Ultimately, it would be wonderful to see homegrown talent come through the ranks,” explains manager Hayden Bird. “If Kingstonian could produce a youngster of seven to develop though the ranks and play in our First Team, it would be a very proud moment for everyone at the Club.”

“As a Club, we want to embrace the community and become a significant part of the local community. Providing a public service such as giving kids of all
age groups and all ability levels the chance to play football, is a major focus for the Club,” explains Hayden.

You can get more information on the ‘K’s’ by visiting www.kingstonian.com. If you would like avoucher to take kids for free you can email kidsforfree@kingstonian.com or call 020 8330 6869.