Maidstone United F.C.

Maidstone United Football Club are an English football team from Maidstone, Kent. The current club is a continuation of the old Maidstone United. Former members of the Football League between 1989 and 1992, they were 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 Premier Division. Maidstone have not had a stadium of their own since 1988 and over the years have groundshared 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 intend to build a 3000 capacity stadium on it by the start of the 2012-2013 season.

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

1992-2001: The new club and Kent County League years
Maidstone Invicta was formed within days of the Football League side folding. However, due to the lack of a suitable ground, the club was effectively relegated 7 divisions to the basement of the footballing pyramid and they joined the Fourth Division of the Kent County League for the 1993-94 season. 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 remained in until 2010. 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 now returned to their original guise of Maidstone United, took 4 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 debut season in the Premier Division, with the team coming a respectable 3rd place. The next season saw the club, who were 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 try and attain elavation to the Kent League (with the County League being a step 7 league, and the Kent League being a step 5 league straight-forward promotion was not possible).

2001-2006: The Kent League years
The club's application was accepted and the Stones started the 2001-2002 season in the Kent League. However, the club's current home ground in Maidstone was nowhere near Kent League standards so the Stones agreed to groundshare with Sittingbourne at their Central Park stadium while they tried to overcome various legal obstacles to move to a new ground in the town at James Whatman Way. In their 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 due to 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 the club enter the FA Cup for the first time since reformation - and they were featured on BBC Sport's 'Road to Cardiff' feature. 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 hattrick against the Southern League East outfit. 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). However the Stones did pick up some silverware that season, winning both the Kent Senior Trophy and the Kent Charity Cup. However this paled into insignificance as continuing lease problems 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. However 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. However, construction of the stadium could not begin until a lease for the site was agreed with its owners, the Ministry of Defence. 2005-06 saw Maidstone, now managed by Lloyd Hume after a spell in charge from Mal Watkins, win 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 back to Maidstone was another step closer when a 99-year lease was signed for the land at James Whatman Way, meaning the club were now free to start building on it.

2006-present: The Isthmian League Years
Maidstone, who were now managed by Lloyd Hume and Alan Walker in a joint capacity, took the bulk of the Kent League winning side with them into the 2006-07 Isthmian League South campaign. After an injury ravaged pre-season the Stones took a while to adapt to their new surroundings before steadily moving up the table, eventually finding themselves in the hunt for promotion. The club's good form continued as others faltered, and Maidstone went on to win the Isthmian South title on the last day of the season thanks to a 2-1 win at Walton Casuals. 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 began Alan Walker was involved in a freak accident at a coaching course in Belfast which left him temporarily paralysed. Walker made a valiant recovery however, and was back walking and in management by the start of the league season. With the club yet again staying loyal to those players who won the league the year before, United struggled in the new surroundings of the Isthmian League Premier Division and spent the majority of the season near the foot of the table. Maidstone went into the final game of the season needing a win to avoid the drop, and they did just that beating Folkestone Invicta 1-0, a result that relegated Invicta in Maidstone's place. In other news 25% of the club was sold to businessman Oliver Ash in February 2008, easing some of the clubs money worries. 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 and the club was subsequently put up for sale by chairman Paul Bowden-Brown. 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 lead 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 did not improve Maidstone's financial situation and in December 2009 two months of staff pay being deferred to the end of the season, a move that led to Alan Walker and Lloyd Hume resigning as managers of the club. Reserve team manager 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. Nott was kept on as manager for the 2010-11 season and there were more player changes as the club's financial position led to another budget cut. As the season began Maidstone's monetary predicament continued to worsen. Rumours circled that the club's days could be numbered and chairman Paul Bowden-Brown once again expressed his desire to sell the club. Lashings owner David Folb made an unsuccessful bid to buy the club before existing shareholder Oliver Ash and supporter Terry Casey took over in October 2010, with Paul Bowden-Brown stepping down as Chairman. After a month at the helm the clubs new owners sacked Peter Nott and his backroom staff with the team bottom of the Isthmian Premier table and out of the FA Cup. Former Gravesend & Northfleet manager Andy Ford was swiftly appointed manager with Steve Butler brought in as his assistant. The new management triggered huge changes in playing personnel and by February 2010 well over 50 players had turned out for the club in the 2010-11 season. However the new management and players did not bring an upturn in the teams fortunes - by March 2011 Maidstone were bottom of the league and eight points from safety - leading to Andy Ford and Steve Butler resigning after five months at the club. Ford was replaced by club captain Jay Saunders who was appointed caretaker manager until the end of the season. On 25 February it was announced by Sittingbourne chairman Andy Spice that Maidstone would be returning to groundshare at Bourne Park for the 2011-12 season.

Shirts, colours and 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 a dark blue trim. 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

Stadiums
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. However the move to Ashford has widely been deemed as a failure due to falling attendances, and the club will return to groundshare at Bourne Park for the 2011-12 season with the intention building and moving to James Whatman Way by the start of the 2012-13 season.

Support
Maidstone averaged home crowds of 255 in the league during the 2009-10 season at club's temporary home at Ashford's Homelands Stadium, 25 miles (40 km) from Maidstone town centre. Down 34% on the season before when the club played at Sittingbourne, it was the 15th highest average crowd in the Isthmian League Premier Division. 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.

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. However these days the Stones support 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. Since Maidstone's promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division the teams have regularly pitted their wits against each other, however United have struggled in these matches winning only one of eight league games against the Angels. Maidstone's support also have rivalries of different extents with Ramsgate, Dartford, Sittingbourne and Margate.

Current squad
As of 25 March 2011 Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

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

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

Reserves, youth and community
Maidstone United's reserve side currently compete in Division 1 of the Kent League, finishing 3rd in the table in the 2009-10 season. 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. The club's Isthmian Youth side won the Isthmian Youth League East Division in the 2009-10 season. Maidstone's youth system has had many success stories in the last few years. Four of Maidstone's youth graduates, Ashley Ulph, Sam Morrison, Rob Carter and Chris Smalling, have all played for England Schoolboys' Under 18 side in recent times. Smalling, who featured for the Stones' first team during the 2007”“08 season when not on international duty, joined Fulham in the summer of 2008 and then made the move to Manchester United in January 2010. Maidstone's youth system has also bought through a steady stream of players to the first team, with Tom Mills, Sean Johnson and Alex Flisher all making the step up from youth and reserve football to the Maidstone first team in 2010. 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.

Club staff and officials

Notable players
The list comprises of former or current players who have either made over 100 Football League or Premier League appearances, have international experience (at senior or under 21 level) or are the club record appearance holder.

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

Managerial history

League history

Honours
  • Isthmian League Division One South
Winners (1): 2006-07
  • Kent League Premier Division
Winners (2): 2001-02, 2005-06 Runners up (1): 2002-03
  • Kent County League Premier Division
Winners (1): 2000-01
  • Kent County League Division One
Winners (1): 1998-99
  • Kent County League Division Two
Winners (1) : 1994-95
  • Kent County League Division Four
Winners (1) : 1993-94
  • Kent League Premier Division Cup
Winners (2) : 2001-02, 2005-06
  • Kent League Challenge/Charity Shield
Winners (2) : 2002-03, 2003-04 Runners up (1): 2006-07
  • 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. Aaron Lacy is the current club record appearance holder, making 246 appearances in all competitions from 2001 - 2009.

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 Kent Messenger Years Ground 1993”“2001 London Road, Maidstone 2001”“2002 Central Park (Groundshare with Sittingbourne) 2002”“2009 Bourne Park (Groundshare with Sittingbourne) 2009- The Homelands (Groundshare with Ashford Town 2009-10 Sole tenants 2010 Groundshare with Ashford United 2011) 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 Bourne Park, Sittingbourne (n/a) (n/a) 298 +50.5% 2002”“03 (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 - - - -
No. Position Player GK Andy Walker DF Lawrence Harvey DF Tom Parkinson DF Tom Mills DF Nathan Paul DF Ronayne Marsh-Brown MF Simon Glover ( Captain) MF Jay Saunders ( Player- caretaker manager) MF Colin Richmond MF Michael Phillips
No. Position Player MF Dan Stubbs MF Sean Johnson MF Jim Humphris MF Alex Flisher MF Ellis Green FW Billy Driver FW Gary Wharton FW Adam Burchell (on loan from Dartford) FW Jay May
No. Position Player FW Danny Hockton (at Thurrock until the end of the season) Position Name Manager Jay Saunders (caretaker) Assistant Manager Alan Pouton (caretaker) Coach John Brook Physio Nicky Collins Owners Oliver Ash & Terry Casey Chief Executive & Director of Football Bill Williams
  • Aaron Lacy (club record appearance holder)
  • Paul Haylock
  • Alan Walker
  • Steve Butler
  • Bradley Sandeman
  • Garry Kimble
  • Adrian Webster
  • Chris Smalling
  • Andy Martin
  • Mark Saunders
  • Ian Selley
  • Roland Edge
  • Ian Cox
  • Alan Pouton
  • Jermaine Darlington
Years Name 1993-96 Bill Tucker & Jack Whiteley 1996 Graham Martin 1997 Mickey Chatwin & Chad Andrews 1997 Nicky Chappell 1997-98 Mark Irvine 1998-99 Jason Lillis 1999-00 Matt Toms 2000-03 Jim Ward 2003-04 Mal Watkins 2004-06 Lloyd Hume 2006-10 0 0 Alan Walker & Lloyd Hume 2010 Peter Nott 2010-11 Andy Ford 2011- Jay Saunders (caretaker)
  • 1993”“1994: Kent County League Division Four
  • 1994”“1995: Kent County League Division Two
  • 1995”“1999: Kent County League Division One
  • 1999”“2001: Kent County League Premier Division
  • 2001”“2006: Kent League Premier Division
  • 2006”“2007: Isthmian League Division One South
  • 2007”“present: Isthmian League Premier Division

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