House of Payne: Kingstonian fans can be excused for fearing the worst
Kingstonian fans must be fearing the worst after seeing their side slip out of the Ryman Premier League play-off places this week.
On the face of it, this campaign is following a familiar pattern at Kingsmeadow, with the team fading fast after a strong start to the season.
Since reaching the play-offs by finishing fifth in 2009-10, Ks have fallen short with seventh place in 2010-11, and consecutive 11th-place finishes in the past two seasons.
Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Billericay has left Alan Dowson’s men outside the top five for the first time this season, but insisting history is not about to repeat itself.
In the wake of that defeat, the Kingstonian manager insisted the addition of three or four new players and cutting out silly defensive mistakes will see Ks end up in a play-off position.
But a huge amount is at stake over the next 13 games. Even though he signed a one-year extension to his contract earlier this season, should Ks miss out again there would be questions about the Geordie’s long-term future.
Last summer he indicated this could be his last season with Ks, saying: “Let’s put our cards on the table – I’m not going to be at Kingstonian forever.
“You cannot be at a football club forever. Management needs freshening up, the club needs freshening up – I have another year to give it a right go.”
At just 43, Dowson is still young in managerial terms and has overall been a huge success at Kingstonian, but a fourth consecutive season of disappointment may force him to concede he has taken the club as far as he can.
Not that anybody should be writing Ks off just yet.
They remain level on points with Bognor Regis and Hornchurch and no side in the division seems immune to losing matches.
A return to form does not leave automatic promotion out of the question.
And with Ks still to play four of the five sides above them in their remaining games, their destiny remains firmly in their own hands.
Gone far enough: Would another season of disappointment spell the end of Dowson's rein?
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