Kingsmeadow (known as the Cherry Red Records Stadium for sponsorship purposes) is an association football stadium in the area of Norbiton, Kingston upon Thames, London, which is used for the home matches of AFC Wimbledon and Chelsea Women. Until 22 April 2017 it was the home of Kingstonian. It has a capacity of 4,850 with 2,265 seats.
|Location||Jack Goodchild Way, Kingston upon Thames, London, England|
|Capacity||4,850 (2,265 seated)|
|Field size||110 x 75 yards|
|Kingstonian F.C. (1989–2017)|
AFC Wimbledon (2002–)
Chelsea Women (2017–)
The freehold of the site is owned by Kingston Council. The leasehold, which safeguards the site for the borough's football team, was originally held by Kingstonian FC but is currently owned by Chelsea FC, having purchased it from AFC Wimbledon in 2015, in order to use it for their women's and youth teams and to help AFC Wimbledon finance their new stadium. Chelsea Women moved in for the start of the 2017–18 WSL 1 season, and the youth teams will move in in 2019 or 2020, once AFC Wimbledon have left for their new stadium.
Current stands and capacityEdit
Kingsmeadow comprises the following stands:
- John Green Stand – (formerly the "Nongshim Stand") a newly built, covered behind-the-goal all-seater stand with 1,000 seats. It was first sponsored by Nong Shim Ltd., South Korea's largest processed food manufacturer, whose UK head office is based locally in New Malden. The rebuilding of the stand increased the stadium capacity to approximately 4,850. It was renamed the "John Green Stand" for the 2015 season after the American bestselling author, whose keen interest in the team has led to a sponsorship agreement. Before the start of the 2015/2016 season the club installed a camera gantry above the stand in order to get different angles for replays to be shown on Dons Player.
- Paul Strank Stand – the all-seater main stand with 1,265 seats, which also includes the stadium's changing rooms, offices, three bars and other facilities. The main stand was extended during the 2008–09 season, adding additional seats and also extending the roof to provide better protection from rain. It was also renamed the Paul Strank Stand at this time, after a supporter and benefactor of AFC Wimbledon.
- RyGas Stand – (formerly the "East Stand" and "Your Golf Travel Stand") is a partially covered shallow terrace along the length of the pitch, opposite the main Paul Strank Stand. This stand also holds the camera gantry at the stadium as well as the scoreboard.
- Chemflow End – (formerly the "Athletics End" and the "Tempest End") a covered behind-the-goal deep terrace. Its original name came from the Kingston Athletics Centre which sits directly behind the stand. The terrace was covered during the 2005–06 season and renamed the Tempest End in recognition of the sponsorship of Tempest Sports, Wimbledon's exclusive kit manufacturer since the club's inception, who had partially paid for the development. For the 2013–14 season the stand was renamed the EcoHouse End in a new sponsorship deal with EcoHouse Group, which has its main European office in nearby Richmond. During 2016 the stand was renamed the Chemflow end in another sponsership deal.
As of October 2012, the stadium has a capacity of 4,850. It originally was designated to have a 6,299 capacity before modern safety requirements and ground improvements (such as re-profiling the Athletics End terrace and replacing the original terraced paddock in front of the main stand with seats) required the capacity to be reduced. Kingstonian's highest attendance at Kingsmeadow was 4,582 for a friendly against Chelsea on 22 July 1995. AFC Wimbledon's highest attendance at Kingsmeadow and the ground's overall record attendance was 4,870 against Accrington Stanley on 14 May 2016.
The stadium was the home of Kingstonian from 1989, when they built the entire complex on the site following the sale of their traditional Richmond Road ground. Kingstonian opened the ground with a friendly against Queens Park Rangers. Following relegation from the Conference, Kingstonian went into financial administration and both the club and ground were purchased by Rajesh Khosla and his son Anup.
AFC Wimbledon have played at the stadium since they were founded in 2002; Wimbledon F.C. having moved to Milton Keynes in September 2003, becoming Milton Keynes Dons in June 2004. AFC Wimbledon were in the Combined Counties League at this time, but reached Football League One in 2016.
After one season as tenants of the Khoslas, AFC Wimbledon undertook to buy the leasehold to the ground. The club's owners, the Dons Trust, launched a share issue to finance the purchase, which was closed the following summer. The club subsequently arranged for a commercial loan to clear the remaining debt to the Khoslas. Upon taking over the ground, its name was changed to the Fans' Stadium which remains the nickname of the ground today.
In January 2017 it was announced that Kingstonian would move to Leatherhead F.C.'s ground for the following season. On 22 February 2017, Kingstonian officially announced that they will be sharing Leatherhead F.C.'s ground at Fetcham Grove for the 2017–18 season. On 16 January 2018, Kingstonian announced they would be on the move once more this time to King George's Field in Tolworth to share with Corinthian-Casuals F.C. starting in the 2018-19 season. The sale was hugely detrimental to Kingstonian, it has made the local club's future very uncertain, with them unable to play in a ground that is now too big and expensive for a non-league side and one which they no longer have any decision over, having now to relocate.
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