Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughMaidstone United - Remember Them? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Maidstone United - Remember Them? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Maidstone United – Remember Them?

At the height of their success they were a member of the football league from 1989-1992, at their lowest ebb, plying their trade on the lowest rung of the non-league ladder just a year later.  However, things are on the up for non-league Maidstone United after years in the footballing wilderness.

Overspending once in the football league meant that ‘The Stones’ were officially liquidated of 17th August 1992 although many cite the death of club after 95 years as being well before this date.  Following the reformation of the club in 1992 (Initially under the name Maidstone Invicta F.C.) the club finally look like they are on their way back with the help of a new stadium and their new 3G pitch.  ‘The Gallagher Stadium’ cost £2.6m and was opened in front of a sell out crowd of 2,500 in a pre-season friendly against Brighton & Hove Albion in July 2012 following years in exile.  These years have included spells playing away from Kent’s county town in ground shares with the likes of Dartford, Ashford United and Sittingbourne, requiring a ‘hardcore’ of fans to travel further afield.  Home attendances have risen dramatically since the exile was ended, from as low as 300 while away from Maidstone to as high as 2500 since ‘coming home’, meaning that even their average home attendance of 1643 would be enough to compete in the Blue Square Premier. 

Undoubtedly, the star of the show is the magnificent 3G pitch which provides a surface that some say plays as well as Wembley and does not succumb to the harsh recent weather resulting in no fixture cancellations this season while others around them now face fixture congestion later on in the season.  In terms of results, the team led by player manager Jay Saunders have seen an improvement on last season and are one of the favourites for automatic promotion this term, playing some excellent football in the process.  The pitch also allows the club to earn valuable additional revenue from hiring out their facility during the week to various 5 a side leagues as not only can the surface be played on 365 days a year, but at significantly less cost in terms of maintenance compared to turf.  The facility is used by the local community 7 days a week which acts as a very successful tool in generating interest in the club. 

The result of this is a club that for the first time in over two decades has a sound financial future and an average home attendance that is nearly four times better than the next best supported club in their division.  In incorporating a 3G pitch into their new stadium, Maidstone United have a unique selling point that not many in football can boast.  There is once again a buzz around Maidstone that the town has a football team that with the help of their new stadium not only accessible again, but more importantly after over 20 years, is ‘back home’.


By Aaron Sharp