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Wednesday, 24 January, 2001, 10:34 GMT
Chapple seeking Cup solace
Geoff Chapple
Kingstonian manager Geoff Chapple talks to BBC Sport Online's Gabrielle Lewis ahead of Saturday's FA Cup clash against Bristol City.

Kingstonian's form has lurched from the sublime to the ridiculous this season and their manager, Geoff Chapple, is at a loss to explain it.

The Ks will be holding a torch for the Nationwide Conference in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday when they travel to Second Division Bristol City.

In the last round they beat Division Three Southend 1-0 thanks to an Eddie Akuamoah goal.

But Kingstonian's league form has been disastrous this season.

They are languishing second from bottom with only 19 points from a possible 66.

Life-threatening illness

Chapple, the most successful manager in non-league football, is perplexed.

He said: "I can't understand it. After we beat Southend I asked the players how they can keep rolling teams over in the Cup, but they can't get their league form sorted out.

Steve Farrelly
Farrelly: Recovering from setback
"By the time we get back to the Conference matches, we could be bottom."

Inconsistency and poor discipline have been key to the club's problems.

Seven goalkeepers have drifted in and out of Kingsmeadow to cover for Steve Farrelly, who has only recently begun to recover from a life-threatening illness.

Suspensions have ruled out key outfield players and the club was hit with a 2,000 fine following a mass brawl with Hereford.

Woking success

But it is all part of the excitement for Chapple, who has taken Kingstonian on a steep learning curve since his appointment in 1997.

Success is second nature to him. He has won more silverware at Wembley than Sir Alex Ferguson, having collected five FA Trophies in the last seven years.

I've never applied for a job outside non-league football, but if I ever did, it would be as Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant at Manchester United
  Geoff Chapple
Three FA Trophy crowns with Woking in 1994, 1995 and 1997 and promotion from Division Two (South) of the Isthmian League to runners-up spot in the Conference preceded immediate success with Kingstonian.

Promotion from the Ryman League for the first time since 1929 and the Surrey Senior Cup title came in his first season at Kingsmeadow, in 1997.

In his second term Chapple led the Ks to the second round of the FA Cup and their first trip to Wembley in 40 years in the Trophy.

The club are now on course for a third successive Trophy triumph after reaching the fourth round of the competition this week.

Manchester United ambition

With Kingsmeadow's redevelopment less than four weeks from reaching Football League standards, the 56-year-old still holds hope of moving out of the Conference one day.

He has never been involved in League football.

I'm an old-fashioned realist and I know Bristol City should beat Kingstonian on Saturday
  Geoff Chapple
"I've never applied for a job outside non-league football, but if I ever did, it would be as Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant at Manchester United," said Chapple, a lifelong Chelsea supporter.

"If I haven't achieved Football League status when all this ends, I may regret it a little, but it will soon be overshadowed by all the nice memories.

"I saw grown men cry when Kingstonian won promotion to the Conference and expectations are high now we've won twice at Wembley.

"For a non-league side to get this far in the FA Cup is fantastic. But I'm an old-fashioned realist and I know Bristol City should beat Kingstonian on Saturday.

"There may be some surprises, but all I can ask is that if we win, we win with glory and if we lose, we lose with dignity."

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See also:

22 Jan 01 |  FA Cup
Kingstonian warn Bristol City
09 Dec 00 |  FA Cup
Southport 1-2 Kingstonian
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