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ON THE ROAD: AFC WIMBLEDON

5 May 2016

In-depth guide for our final away trip of the season.

STAR MAN

Lyle Taylor is Wimbledon’s main focus in attack and to say the 26-year-old Londoner is well travelled is an understatement! Wimbledon is his 13th club already, and his highest number of appearances for one club is just 42 for Canvey Island based outfit Concord Rangers. He scored 34 times for Concord which earned him a move to Bournemouth but he failed to score in 29 matches for The Cherries. Since then he’s been here and there and everywhere but he now seems settled at Kingsmeadow and his efforts have overshadowed the likes of Akinfenwa, Elliot and Azeez, as he’s netted 20 times.  


THE MANAGER

Wimbledon are manged by ex-player Neal Ardley, who played 245 times for the club before leaving for three seasons at Watford, and then a year each at Cardiff and Millwall.  He returned to Cardiff to manage their academy between 2007 and 2012, before he accepted the managers job at Wimbledon.


PREVIOUSLY

Although we used to play Wimbledon at Plough Lane in the late 70’s and early 80’s I shall just refer to the AFCW history which is also quite brief.  Just the four visits with two defeats and two 2-2 draws. We lost 2-0 last season with Adebayo Akinfenwa scoring twice, in a match in which Kevin Feely was sent off after a careless pass then foul committed when he was adjudged to have denied a clear goal scoring chance.


KINGSMEADOW

The stadium is the 121st largest in England by capacity, which makes it smaller than those found at Altrincham, Stalybridge, Farnborough and Basingstoke, so it’s no surprise that they are seeking to return one day to their old home (or very close to it), when they plan to move to a new ground on the site of Wimbledon Stadium by 2018 or 2019. But Kingsmeadow is home for the time being and as the 4850 capacity would suggest it’s a small ground with no large structures.  Away fans are housed in one half of the Your Golf Travel Terrace, which is a very shallow terrace with a roof at the back, although this doesn’t extend full length. The views are poor despite being side facing, as there is little elevation. There are seats available in the John Green Stand for away fans but the views here aren’t much to write home about either – behind the goal and near to the corner flag.

The Paul Stank Stand is the main stand at the ground and this is on the opposite touchline to the away terrace. Quite a smart little stand with no obstructing pillars. Finally, the home end is behind the goal to the left of the away terrace. This section looks a fun place to be – it’s always full and fairly noisy too.

Kingsmeadow has adequately served its purpose when the fledgling club had nowhere to go in 2002. However with the on-field progression coming along nicely it’s timely for the phoenix club to fly back to Merton where they belong. 


WHERE TO DRINK

This is a tricky one as I’m hearing that both The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Wellington pubs on Kingston Road have followed in the same vein as The Sir Robert Peel and closed. So it’s a bit of a trek to either Kingston upon Thames where there are quite a few (pricey) pubs or to New Malden in the opposite direction.  It’s New Malden for me, and The Watchman. A decent enough Wetherspoons outlet and about 25 minutes walk to the ground at a brisk pace. If ‘spoons is not your thing, then located at the same roundabout is The Fountain, which is part of the John Barras chain of pubs and food from a large and varied menu.


HOW TO GET THERE

By Car  (KT1 3PB)

Leave Newport by joining the M4, heading in London direction. Exit M4 at Junction 4B, bearing right for M25 Southbound. Exit M25 at Junction 13, taking A308 (Staines) passing the Kempton Park racecourse on your left. Continue on A308 (Hampton Court Road) , passing Hampton Court Palace on your right. Follow the A308 through Kingston one way system passing the railway station and briefly joining the A307 Cromwell Road. Rejoin the A308 (Queen Elizabeth Road) before bearing right onto London Road, and then turn right just after the Kwik Fit garage onto Cambridge Road A2043. The A2043 then becomes Kingston Road, and the ground is on the right.

By Rail

Direct services from Newport to London Paddington are currently hourly. Advised outward would be the 08.37 train, arriving Paddington 10.37.

There are options to get off at New Malden, Norbiton or Kingston depending on what you wish to do pre-match. All of these trains originate from London Waterloo every 10-15 minutes. New Malden will have more trains as it also takes in the services heading towards Woking and Guilford.

Norbiton and Kingston are both on the Shepperton branch line only.

Returns are frequent after the game starting from 17.05, 17.20, and 17.35 (from Norbiton to Waterloo)

Paddington to Newport trains depart at 18.30, 19.30 and 20.30

Fares: Standard Returns on the day are £72.  As usual advance singles and buying the tickets in legs can make savings.



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