Pic: Andy Nunn
KINGSTONIAN will move in with Ryman Premier rivals Leatherhead next season after confirming they are to leave their Kingsmeadow home sooner than expected.
The Ks have signed a one-year deal to use Fetcham Grove with the option for a second season as they continue planning to build their own ground in south west London.
AFC Wimbledon purchased Kingsmeadow in 2004 but have reached an agreement with Chelsea to buy the stadium in two years time once they move out.
The League One club are close to securing a return to Plough Lane by building a new 11,000 seater stadium on the site of Wimbledon Greyhounds.
The Dons, though, have handed Ks a gift of reportedly around £1m to help get them started on building their new home. They are currently investigating a site in nearby Chessington. But for now Ks will share with Leatherhead ten miles away after an agreement was reached.
Tanners chairman Richard Brady said: “The club are pleased to announce that we have formally agreed a one-year ground sharing agreement with our friends at Kingstonian following them vacating Kingsmeadow at the end of this season.
“We will continue to play our midweek home games on Wednesday evenings, and Kingstonian will play their midweek home games on Monday evenings, with both clubs playing at Fetcham Grove alternative Saturdays as fixtured by the Ryman League, who have ratified the agreement.
“There is an option to extend the agreement beyond one season.”
A Kingstonian statement, meanwhile, reassured their concerned supporters that the move to Leatherhead is not a long-term idea.
“The club remains committed to developing their own stadium in the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, but in the short term, an ongoing ground share agreement with Leatherhead is an effective short term solution,” it read.
“The board at Leatherhead have been exceptionally accommodating and helpful throughout the process and we look forward to working with them throughout our stay.
“The agreement is for an initial year, but both parties have agreed to a rolling agreement based upon progress with our own plans.
“Leatherhead, unlike a number of alternative venues that we looked at, were able to offer that important Saturday afternoon 3pm slot for home games, and we can also confirm our midweek fixture night will remain, as in previous years, on a Monday.”