Maidstone United F.C.


Maidstone United F.C.
Maidstone United
Maidstone-utd-logo.jpg
Full name Maidstone United Football Club
Nickname(s) The Stones
Founded 1992 as Maidstone Invicta
Ground Bourne Park, Sittingbourne
(Capacity: 3,000 (200 seated))
Owners Oliver Ash & Terry Casey
Chief Executive Bill Williams
Player-manager Jay Saunders
League Isthmian League Division One South
2010-11 Isthmian League Premier Division 20th (relegated)
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours

Maidstone United Football Club is an English football team from Maidstone, Kent.

The current club is a continuation of the old Maidstone United, which was a member of the Football League between 1989 and 1992. The club was forced out of the league by financial ruin but the youth squad formed the nucleus of a new club. The 'Stones' were elected to the Kent County League Fourth Division in 1993 and have since progressed through the non-league pyramid. They currently play in the Isthmian League Division One South after being relegated from the Isthmian Premier Division in 2011.

Maidstone have not had a stadium of their own since 1988 and over the years have shared grounds with Dartford, Sittingbourne and Ashford. However the club currently owns a piece of land at James Whatman Way, on the outskirts of Maidstone town centre, and intends to build a 3,000-capacity stadium on it by the start of the 2012-2013 season.[1]

Contents

History

See also: Maidstone United F.C. seasons and Maidstone United F.C. History (2006-present)

1992-2001: The new club and Kent County League years

Maidstone Invicta was formed within days of the Football League side folding. However, the lack of a suitable ground meant the club was effectively relegated 7 divisions to the basement of the footballing pyramid and joined the Fourth Division of the Kent County League for the 1993-94 season.[2] The club's home games took place on the original Maidstone's reserve and training pitch, next to the original London Road Stadium. Initially Jim Thompson ran the club, but was banned from football for his part in the demise of Maidstone and Dartford and Paul Bowden-Brown took over as Chairman - a position he retained until 2010.[3]

The newly created Kent County League side was formed with the nucleus of the original club's youth team - and comfortably won the Fourth Division of the County League under the stewardship of Jack Whitely and Bill Tucker. They also managed to win the West Kent Challenge Shield and the Tunbridge Wells Charity Cup. During the close season of 1994 the club managed to gain promotion to Division Two of the league after restructuring. The club went onto win Division 2, picking up the Kent Junior Cup on the way. However, the Stones, who had returned to their original guise of Maidstone United in 1997, took four years and six managers before finally winning promotion to the Kent County League Premier Division with former Stones player turned manager Jason Lillis leading the club to the Division One title. The 1999-2000 season saw Maidstone's début season in the Premier Division, with the team finishing in a respectable 3rd place. The next season saw the club, which was now managed by another former Maidstonian in Matt Toms, successfully apply to become a Senior club and finish 2nd in the league. These factors now left the door open to seek elevation to the Kent League (with the County League being a step-7 league and the Kent League being a step-5 league, direct promotion was not possible).[4]

2001-2006: The Kent League years

Maidstone win the Kent League title for the second time

The club's application was accepted and the Stones started the 2001-2002 season in the Kent League. However, the club's ground in Maidstone was nowhere near Kent League standards so the Stones agreed to share Sittingbourne's Central Park stadium while trying to overcome various legal obstacles in the way of a move to a new ground in the town at James Whatman Way.[2]

In its first Kent League season since reformation, Maidstone won the Kent League and Cup double under the management of Jim Ward. However, the club could not gain promotion to the Southern League Eastern Division because of problems with the lease on Central Park. The lease problems were not solved and during the 2002 close season both Sittingbourne and Maidstone moved out of Central Park to a new ground, named Bourne Park, which was built on the same complex using the old training pitch.

The 2002-03 season saw Maidstone enter the FA Cup for the first time since reformation, and the club was featured on BBC Sport's 'Road to Cardiff'.[5] The club reached the 2nd qualifying round of the cup, with the highlight of the run coming in the form of a 3-2 win against old foes Tonbridge Angels, with Steve Butler bagging a hat-trick against the Southern League East outfit.[6] In the league, the Stones looked destined to win a second successive title but after a poor run-in, coupled with the withdrawal from the league of Faversham Town, the club bizarrely lost the championship by 0.14 of a point (the League Management Committee decreed that the title would be awarded to the club with the highest earned points per match average, so with Maidstone and Thamesmead Town achieving 63 points from 30 games, the unusual situation arose that the championship was won by Cray Wanderers with 62 points from 29 games).[2] The Stones did pick up some silverware that season, winning both the Kent Senior Trophy and the Kent Charity Cup, but this was overshadowed by continuing lease problems, which meant another attempt to gain promotion to the Southern League was knocked back.

The years 2003 till 2005 contained two indifferent seasons for the Stones, on the pitch at least. Both campaigns saw the club finish 4th in the league, although this disappointment was offset somewhat by reaching the 3rd qualifying round of the FA Cup in successive years. Off the pitch, the club took a huge step forward when in November 2004 it successfully applied for planning permission to build a new stadium at James Whatman Way.[7] However, construction of the stadium could not begin until a lease for the site was agreed with its owners, the Ministry of Defence.

The 2005-06 season saw Maidstone, now managed by Lloyd Hume after a spell in charge from Mal Watkins, win the Kent League title. They spent the season toe-to-toe with Beckenham Town before securing the championship on the final day of the season. The title win meant the club finally gained promotion to Step 4 of the non league pyramid, joining the Isthmian League Division One South. However perhaps more importantly, the club's bid to return to Maidstone was another step closer when a 99-year lease was signed for the land at James Whatman Way, meaning the club was now free to start building on it.[8]

2006-present: The Isthmian League Years

Mo Takaloo celebrates his goal which saves Maidstone from relegation at Folkestone Invicta

Maidstone, who were now managed by Lloyd Hume and Alan Walker in a joint capacity, surprisingly managed to win the league at the first time of asking, gaining promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division. However the overwhelming success on the pitch was overshadowed by little visible progress being made in the building of James Whatman Way.

Before the 2007-08 season had even begun Alan Walker was involved in a freak accident at a coaching course in Belfast which left him temporarily paralysed.[9] Walker made a valiant recovery however, and was back walking and in management by the start of the league season.[10] Maidstone struggled in the new surroundings of the Isthmian League Premier Division and spent the majority of the season near the foot of the table, however they avoided relegation after beating Folkestone Invicta 1-0 on the last day of the season, a result that relegated Invicta in Maidstone's place.[11] In other news 25% of the club was sold to businessman Oliver Ash in February 2008.[12]

The 2008-09 was another tough season for Maidstone. The squad who came so close to relegation the year before was largely dismantled with a whole raft of new players replacing them. During the close season it had become increasingly apparent the club could not afford to field a competitive Isthmian Premier team and fund the building of a new stadium, so with what limited funds the club had seemingly tied up in paying new players it was decided to try and fund the construction of James Whatman Way by bidding for a £1.2million grant from the Football Foundation. The bid was turned down in October 2008[13] and the club was subsequently put up for sale by chairman Paul Bowden-Brown.[14] However no takeover was forthcoming and as a result of this the club had no choice but to halve their wage bill from £6000 to £3000 per week. The majority of the players took a paycut and led Maidstone to their best league finish since reforming, finishing a comfortable 15th in the Isthmian Premier table and reaching the 4th qualifying round of the FA Cup.

During the 2009 close season Maidstone moved from their temporary Bourne Park home in Sittingbourne to Ashford Town's stadium, The Homelands, citing lower rent and a deal to receive a percentage of refreshment takings as the reason for the move. However the move only increased Maidstone's financial woes due to a sharp drop in attendances, and in December 2009 it was revealed two months of staff pay was to be deferred to the end of the season, a move that led to Alan Walker and Lloyd Hume resigning as managers of the club.[15] Reserve team boss Pete Nott stepped up to the first team managers role and led Maidstone to an 18th place finish, avoiding relegation with a game to spare.

In October 2010 the club was taken over by shareholder Oliver Ash and Terry Casey[16] with Paul Bowden-Brown stepping down as Chairman.[3] In November 2010 the club's new directors sacked first team boss Peter Nott and his backroom staff with the team bottom of the table and out of the FA Cup.[17] Former Gravesend & Northfleet manager Andy Ford was swiftly appointed manager,[18] but he could not improve the club's fortunes and resigned in March 2011 with the club bottom of the league and 8 points adrift from safety.[19] Club captain Jay Saunders was appointed caretaker manager until the end of the season,[20] and although he oversaw the team to 5 wins from nine games he could not save Maidstone from relegation.[21] Saunders was subsequently given the permanent managers job.[22]

In the 2011 close season the club returned to groundshare at Sittingbourne's Bourne Park after their two year spell at Ashford's Homelands Stadium,[23] and soon after construction finally began on the club's new stadium at James Whatman Way.[24]

Shirts, colours and badge

Maidstone United's badge

Since reformation Maidstone's home shirts have been amber with black trim. All white was the template used for away shirts, however since 2009 the Stones have played in a sky blue away kit with dark blue sleeves.

Unlike some clubs, Maidstone have stayed away from 'logo' type badges, instead sticking to tradition with the same club badge being displayed for their whole existence. The badge is exactly the same as the town's coat of arms, with the only difference being the town's motto, "Agriculture and Commerce", being replaced with "Maidstone United FC".

Shirt manufacturers and sponsors

Year Kit Manufacturer Main Shirt Sponsor Secondary Sponsor
2000–01 Maidstone Adscene None
2001–02 MIP Pankhurst
2002–03 JOBEC.COM
2003–05 Score KF Concept
2005–06 KM Group
2006–08 Macron Britelite
2008–09 Icom
2009-10 Icom (home only) Knapp
2010-11 None
2011[25] Kent Messenger
2011- Britelite

Stadiums

Bourne Park
Full name Bourne Park
Location Murston, Sittingbourne, Kent, United Kingdom
Built 2002
Opened 2002
Owner Caernsport
Operator Sittingbourne F.C.
Surface Grass
Capacity 3,000 (200 seated)
Tenants
Sittingbourne (2002–present)
Maidstone United (2002–09, 2011–present)

After the original club folded, the new Maidstone United played their games on a pitch behind a Mormon meetinghouse, which had originally been the MUFC reserves and training pitch - just metres from where the old ground had been. Promotion to the Kent League in 2001 meant the club had to move away yet again as the current ground was nowhere near up to standard. The club had earmarked James Whatman Way as the site of a new ground in Maidstone, but until this was built they would have to groundshare outside the town. Maidstone played for a year at Sittingbourne's old Central Park stadium before relocating, along with the "Brickies", to Bourne Park, a converted training pitch behind the main Central Park complex. Unable to generate the funds to build at Whatman Way, The Stones stayed at Bourne Park until 2009, before moving to groundshare with Ashford Town, citing favourable rent and a cut of food and bar takings as the reason for the move. Sadly the move to Ashford caused a sharp dip in attendances and the club returned to ground share at Bourne Park for the 2011-12 season; however the club will finally move into James Whatman Way for the start of the 2012-13 season.

Years Ground
1993–2001 London Road, Maidstone
2001–2002 Central Park (Groundshare with Sittingbourne)
2002–2009 Bourne Park (Groundshare with Sittingbourne)
2009–2011 The Homelands (Groundshare with Ashford Town 2009-10, Sole tenants 2010-11)
2011– Bourne Park (Groundshare with Sittingbourne)

Support

Maidstone averaged home crowds of 311 in the league during the 2010-11 season at club's then-home at Homelands stadium in Ashford, 25 miles (40 km) from Maidstone town centre. The table below gives a summary of the attendance figures in all of Maidstone United's league games since the clubs final season in the Kent County League in the 2000-01 season.

Season League Ground Lowest Highest Average % +/-
2000–01 Kent County League Premier Division London Road, Maidstone (n/a) (n/a) 198 -
2001–02 Kent League Premier Division Central Park, Sittingbourne (n/a) (n/a) 298 +50.5%
2002–03 Bourne Park, Sittingbourne (n/a) (n/a) 352 +18.1%
2003–04 208 329 255 -27.6%
2004–05 174 346 246 -3.5%
2005–06 232 573 336 +36.6%
2006–07 Isthmian League Division One South 222 814 432 +28.4%
2007–08 Isthmian League Premier Division 238 1,224 444 +2.8%
2008–09 218 689 388 -12.6%
2009–10 The Homelands, Ashford 128 447 255 -34.3%
2010–11 171 488 311 +18.0%

Rivalries

Maidstone fans still hold a lot of resentment for Gillingham after the original club's time in Division 4 of The Football League with the Gills in the late 80's and early 90's.

Aside from the Gillingham rivalry which has laid dormant for many years, Stones fans would generally would consider Tonbridge Angels as their main rivals. Back in the 1970s the 'Stones' and 'Angels' regularly met in the Southern League before Maidstone moved on to be founder members of the Football Conference (then known as the Alliance Premier League). The two clubs were reconciled after Maidstone's reformation, meeting in the 2002-03 FA Cup with the Stones winning 3-2 despite being a division lower than Tonbridge. The clubs have regularly met in the last few years following Maidstone's promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2007, however the clubs are now two divisions apart after Tonrbridge won promotion and Maidstone were relegated from the Isthmian Premier Division in 2011.

Maidstone's support also have rivalries of different extents with Ramsgate, Dartford, Sittingbourne and Margate.

Current squad

As of 17 November 2011

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
England GK Charlie Mitten
Trinidad and Tobago GK Kelvin Jack
England GK Marc Powell
England DF Graeme Andrews (Captain)
England DF Gavin Greenfield
England DF James Abraham
England DF Tommy Osborne
England DF Tom Mills
England MF Danny Lye
England MF Jay Saunders (Player-manager)
No. Position Player
England MF Michael Phillips
England MF Tom Cackett
England MF Sam Bewick
England MF Alex Flisher
England MF Ellis Green
England FW Nathan Faulkes
England FW Baff Addae
England FW James Pinnock
England FW Alex Waugh
England FW Shaun Welford

N.B. The Isthmian League does not use a squad numbering system

On dual registration

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
England DF Lewis Mingle (with Tunbridge Wells)
England DF Karl Knight (with Tunbridge Wells)
England MF Steve Brading (with Tunbridge Wells)
England MF Sean Johnson (with Tunbridge Wells)
England MF Jimmy Humphris (with Tunbridge Wells)

N.B. Players on a dual registration are permitted to play for either of the clubs they are signed to.

Reserves, youth and community

Chris Smalling

Maidstone United's reserve side currently compete in Division 1 of the Kent League. Maidstone's youth and community sides are currently members of the Isthmian Youth League and Kent Youth League as well as being members of various local, women's and disabled leagues. One of the clubs under 18 sides won the Isthmian Youth League East Division in the 2009-10 season.

Maidstone's youth teams have provided many players to the first team in recent years. By far and away the most successful and high profile product of the clubs youth system is England International Chris Smalling, who spent three years at the club before moving to Fulham and subsequently to Manchester United.[26] Smalling made a total of 16 appearances for Maidstone, and whilst playing for the club he also played for England Schoolboys' Under 18 side. Three other of the clubs youth graduates, Ashley Ulph, Sam Morrison and Rob Carter have also played for the England schoolboys team.

The club has a strong emphasis on football for the community and has a comprehensive scheme to provide football coaching to all genders, ages and abilities in the town. As well as boys & girls teams off all ages, there are PAN disability and futsal teams. United are a Charter Standard Community Club and were one of the first clubs in the country to sign up to the Deaf Friendly Football Clubs pledge.[27]

Club staff and officials

Position Name
Player-manager Jay Saunders
Assistant Manager Alan Pouton
Coach John Brook
Goalkeeping Coach Alan Rodgers
Physio Andy Hyland
Owners Oliver Ash & Terry Casey
Chief Executive & Director of Football Bill Williams

Notable players

The list comprises former or current players who have made over 100 Football League or Premier League appearances or have senior international experience .

For all former and current Maidstone players who have a Wikipedia article see Category:Maidstone United F.C. players.

Managerial history

Years Name
1993-96 EnglandBill Tucker & Jack Whiteley
1996 EnglandGraham Martin
1997 EnglandMickey Chatwin & Chad Andrews
1997 EnglandNicky Chappell
1997-98 EnglandMark Irvine
1998-99 EnglandJason Lillis
1999-00 EnglandMatt Toms
2000-03 ScotlandJim Ward
2003-04 EnglandMal Watkins
2004-06 EnglandLloyd Hume
2006-1000 EnglandAlan Walker & Lloyd Hume
2010 EnglandPeter Nott
2010-11 EnglandAndy Ford
2011- EnglandJay Saunders

League history

 

Honours

Division One South
Winners (1): 2006-07
Premier Division
Winners (2): 2001-02, 2005-06
Runners up (1): 2002-03
Premier Division Cup
Winners (2) : 2001-02, 2005-06
Challenge/Charity Shield
Winners (2) : 2002-03, 2003-04
Runners up (1): 2006-07
Premier Division Winners (1): 2000-01
Division One Winners (1): 1998-99
Division Two Winners (1) : 1994-95
Division Four Winners (1) : 1993-94
  • Kent Senior Trophy
Winners (1) : 2002-03
  • Weald of Kent Charity Cup
Winners (2): 1999-00, 2000-01
  • Kent Junior Cup
Winners (1): 1994-95
  • Tunbridge Wells Charity Cup
Winners (1): 1993-94

Records and statistics

Maidstone's best ever league finish came in the 2008-09 season when they finished 15th in the Isthmian League Premier Division. Maidstone's highest every victory came in their first season since reforming, beating Aylesford 12-1 in the Kent County League Division 4. The club's record attendance came at home to AFC Wimbledon in the 2008-09 FA Cup 4th qualifying round where 1,719 spectators saw Maidstone go down by two goals to nil. The clubs appearance record is held jointly by Aaron Lacy and Nathan Paul who have both made 254 appearances in all competitions.

References and footnotes

  1. ^ Hoad, Alex (31 March 2011). "Maidstone United reach £1m barrier in quest to raise finance for new stadium". Kent Messenger (KM Group). http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kentonline/sport/2011/april/1/maidstone_united.aspx. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Maidstone United History
  3. ^ a b Bowden-Brown Steps Down As Chairman Of Maidstone United
  4. ^ Kent set for revised league structure
  5. ^ Maidstone United FA Cup 2002/03
  6. ^ Vereran Hat Trick Hero Butler Wins Tie For Stones
  7. ^ Football's coming home
  8. ^ Deal agreed for Maidstone stadium
  9. ^ Alan Walker Injured in Belfast
  10. ^ Walker Returns Home
  11. ^ Folkestone Invicta 0-1 Maidstone United
  12. ^ PBB Welcomes New Director
  13. ^ Stones dealt ground funding blow
  14. ^ Maidstone United put up for sale
  15. ^ Alan Walker and Lloyd Hume cite Maidstone's off-field problems for quitting the club
  16. ^ New owners take over Maidstone United
  17. ^ Maidstone United part company with manager Peter Nott
  18. ^ Andy Ford appointed Maidstone manager
  19. ^ Maidstone boss Andy Ford resigns after five months
  20. ^ Saunders delighted to become Maidstone United caretaker boss
  21. ^ Tunnell, Ruth (30 April 2011). "AFC Hornchurch 2-0 Maidstone United". Maidstone United. http://maidstoneunited.co.uk/matchday/1011season/afchornchurch/away.htm. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  22. ^ Tervet, Steve (2 May 2011). "Saunders confirmed as permanent Maidstone United boss". Your Maidstone (KOS Media). http://www.yourmaidstone.co.uk/p_142/Article/a_13403/Saunders_confirmed_as_permanent_Maidstone_United_boss. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  23. ^ Tervet, Steve (25 February 2011). "Maidstone United to ground share with Sittingbourne next season". Your Maidstone (KOS Media). http://www.kentnews.co.uk/p_12/Article/a_11739/Maidstone_United_to_ground-share_with_Sittingbourne_next_season. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  24. ^ Maidstone United. 26 September 2011. http://www.maidstoneunited.co.uk/2011/09/whatman-way-snapshot-26-september/. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  25. ^ Sponsor from February 2011 until the end of the season
  26. ^ Chris Smalling England Call Up - The Rise And Rise of Chris Smalling
  27. ^ Maidstone Raiders FC (part of Maidstone Utd FC) pledges to be deaf friendly

External links

Coordinates: 51°06′18.00″N 0°51′21.51″E / 51.105°N 0.855975°E / 51.105; 0.855975


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