Weaving In and Out
EP 4: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
Taimour Lay interviews Chris Kelly on the highs, the lows, Khosla and AFC Wimbledon.
Kelly and K's
1970s: Kelly became a Leatherhead legend. Played for K’s at end of career.
1984 Sale of Richmond Road arranged.
1987: Kelly is K’s manager. Won London Senior Cup.
1989: Kingsmeadow. Chelsea Reserves deal.
1992 Kelly manages K’s to FA Cup First Round.
1996: Converted from members’ club to limited company.
1997/1998: Promotion. £250,000 loss.
1998/1999: Season one in conference.
11.1998: Gavin Holligan moves to West Ham for £150,000.
1999/2000: Season two in conference. Finished 5th. Loss of £100,000.
Summer 2000: Employment Tribunal case after office secretary claims unfair dismissal for “over-emotional response to the death of Princess Diana.” Makes front page of The Sun in 1998. Club loses the case. The Directors fall out. Terry Weir and others leave. Taimour interviewed Chris Kelly for Weaving In and Out fanzine. Building works: £850k. Still unfinished and running a year late.
27.1.2001 Bristol City away in the FA Cup. Sky TV money.
May 2001: Relegation from Conference.
Season 2001/2002: Back in Isthmian Prem. Minus Geoff Chapple.
29 September 2001: Loss to Brockenhurst in FA Cup.
October 2001: According to the report from eventual administrators Begbies Traynor, “the company received a letter from the Inland Revenue demanding repayment of outstanding payroll liabilities of £179,924 within seven days or a winding-up petition would be presented.” Club entered Administration. Manager Bill Williams was sacked.
October 2001: New manager Steve Sedgley. Protracted attempts at a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA). Led by Nick Hood of Begbies Traynor. Hood splits club from ground.
March 2002: The Kelly consortium bids to take over. Bids more than Khosla for whole entity (ground and club). But Barclays, the leading creditor, insisted on personal guarantees.
15.4.2002 Rajesh Khosla took over.
25.4.2002 Kelly quit as chief executive. Khosla got the ground. But not the club.
2001/2002 Isthmian Premier season.
5.2002 Scumbles formed.
Season 2002/2003 Ks started season late in September. Scumbles are tenants.
1.2003 EGM of shareholders. Chris Kelly and other former directors vote against accepting CVA and giving Anup Khosla overall control of the club. "The resolution to give the remaining 750,000 shares to the Khoslas for 2p a share - a meagre £15,000 which would merely pay the main creditors - was not acceptable. It is now deadlock because the Khoslas own the ground but we, the shareholders, own the team. If the Khoslas want our shares they must pay a realistic price - not two pence a share!” Khosla eventually got ground and, reluctantly, the club too.
21.3.2003 First revealed that Khosla intended to sell the ground to AFC Wimbledon for £2.5m (having bought it for £450,000). Kim Harris, manager since January 2003, told the local press: "Why does the chairman deserve the money from selling the lease when he wouldn't be at this stage if it wasn't for the Kingstonian name? He is raping the club and has put a sword right through the heart of Kingstonian."
Chris Kelly: "If I had proposed selling the lease in my time at the club I would have been hung from Kingston Bridge."
14.4.2003 Kingstonian Supporters Trust formed. Aim to take over club. They ask Khosla to donate £200,00 from the profit he made on the ground. He says no. Acting press officer Gary Ekins said: "We are having a meeting on April 14 to discuss the possibilities of a trust, but I see no reason why it should not work at Ks.”
Season 2003-2004 K's made playoffs by finishing 13th (but lose 1-0 at Lewes). Non-league restructure.
Season 2004-2005 Isthmian Premier.
Season 2005-2006 Khosla finally forced out. Jimmy Cochrane took over. Surrey Senior Cup triumph over AFC Wimbledon.