Friday, 29 April 2011

Getting the right result - on and off the pitch

Oliver Ash
I have been physically absent from the club these past few weeks but thanks to internet and other wonders of modern life like the telephone I still feel totally connected. Meanwhile I am happy to allow Terry and Bill to deal with the hard grind of managing our business.

On the field there has been a late surge of quality and passion which has given us the hope we can stay up. All we should worry about is winning on Saturday and hoping Hastings slip up. But even if they do, it will be no good to us if we haven't beaten Hornchurch, so we have to focus solely on that. I hope it's a good omen that my rugby team Brive has managed to escape relegation after a very stressful battle.

Chris Bechervaise asked me for comments on off-field activities for the live radio show on Saturday but instead I'll update you here (hope you don't mind Chris).

Wwe are indeed making good progress with the stadium project in that we have identified various sources for the additional funds to be raised (Football Foundation grant, other third party loan, loan from synthetic pitch company, etc.).

We are optimistic enough on all these possibilities to push ahead with working on revisions to planning permission, ecology studies, preparing to put in electricity to the site, purchasing the freehold of the site and the land bank above it, etc.

We are in constant discussions with our engineers, building companies and turf companies to get a clearer picture of costings and timings. We should be in a position to make an announcement in more detail in the next few weeks.

And of course, last but not least, we are still counting on a significant contribution (£100.000 target) from the supporters because: 1. We do need this additional piece of the total funding jigsaw; 2. It will be a good symbol if the supporters contribution 'builds' the clubhouse, which they will use and enjoy; 3. It will show us that the supporters are also making a very significant effort and we're not on our own doing something crazy that others don't care enough about. So please go for it and make this push for the club.

Good luck to Jay and the boys for Saturday.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Powering our homecoming

Terry Casey
Over the last two weeks we have taken some significant strides to the building of a new stadium. We have commissioned an ecological study at a cost of 20k and we are proceeding with the installation of an electricity sub-station at a cost of 68k.

Because our target is to play our first match on the Whatman Way site in August 2012 these two elements of the construction had to be in place so that ground works can begin in September or October this year.

Oliver, Bill and I are constantly looking at ways that will enable us to reach the target of £1.5 million.  We are feeling more confident now that we have taken the plunge to take these early steps into the construction of the stadium. Another deciding factor was a conversation I had with Barry Fry who said he would give us a pre-season friendly in August 2012 and bring the Peterborough first team to Maidstone. I am reluctant to let this opportunity slip.

We were further encouraged by the news that we have agreed terms for securing the freehold to the land at Whatman Way, which was causing us some concern as the MOD solicitors were putting a number of restrictions on the use of the site which we could not agree to. The purchase of the freehold, the ecological study and the sub-station will require an investment of more than 100k, which demonstrates that we are absolutely serious about our intentions to build the stadium.

It has not been all positive however as we have received a bill from HMRC for 23k of unpaid VAT which we have inherited from previous years of mismanagement. We will have to deal problem promptly or face some serious consequences. 

We also have a problem for the 2011/2012 season as we are forecasting another loss which will, unless we get some help, bite into the money that Oliver and I can invest into the building of the stadium. Please help us with this short term problem by joining the club lottery which will be our main method of raising money. If each person reading this can sell just two monthly lottery tickets the club can make enough money so that the management of the team can attract a squad that we can be proud of. Bill Williams and I have a target of 20 tickets each and we have almost reached our target after just a couple of weeks. Please do your best as it will help us through the next 12 months.

We are putting together a number of packages that we are hoping to attract local businesses to help with both the short term requirements of the club and also the longer term needs of the building of the stadium. These will be advertising and sponsorship packages and there will be something for all local businessmen looking to raise their profile. A significant factor for anybody advertising through Maidstone United Football Club is the immense support that we are getting from The Kent Messenger who will be covering every single stage of the building of the stadium. Any local businesses who sponsor the return of the team to Maidstone will get enormous press and media coverage.

The selling of the bricks and the seats are going to be crucial to the BTSH fund as we have set them a daunting target of 100k which will enable us to build a clubhouse on the Whatman Way site. Please continue to send in your money as the fund still has a long way to go.

I am told we have the support of the Mayor and the local council. We have the support of our local MP, Helen Grant, and we even have the support of the Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson. There has not been one person who has said what we are trying to achieve will do anything but good for the community of Maidstone. If that support could be translated into practical or financial support then our path to the completion of the stadium will be made easier. The fact is that whoever gets involved will benefit a town that is desperate to watch semi-professional football in its home town and a community of hundreds of children and people with disabilities who simply want to play the game that they love in the town that live in.  
While we are now on a roll there are going to be a number of setbacks and challenges but they can be overcome with the support of the supporters of the club and the businesses and politicians of Maidstone.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Pat's backing builds momentum

Terry Casey
Having Pat Gallagher supporting and endorsing the building of the new stadium has given the whole project more than just money, it has given it the credibility and momentum that will ultimately result in Maidstone United FC at last playing its matches in Maidstone.

Pat is renowned locally as an immensely successful businessman and captain of industry and this latest gesture is just another example of Pat Gallagher's overwhelming generosity towards the people of the town.

Pat has already given a great of time and thought to the construction of the new stadium and he has pledged his continuing support and expertise.

We are now taking significant strides forward and are looking at a fund that has now reached £1,000,000. We are still a long way short but with your help buying seats and bricks I am now, for the first time, convinced that we will make the target and build the stadium.

KCC Highways have agreed to sell the club the land bank that adjoins our site in Whatman Way, which gives our design engineers more space for the east stand to be situated. It's good news like that which makes up for the problems encountered with the MOD securing the freehold. Being involved in Maidstone United is a bit like being on a roller coaster.

As the fund for the stadium build is entirely separate from the day to day running of the football club, proceeds from the lottery will enable the club to trade solvently for the 2011/2012 season. Please try to persuade just five of your friends and family to join the lottery as this will mean that the football club can pay its way for the first time in many years.

Andy Ford and Steve Butler should have been the “dream ticket” for Maidstone United FC. Not only were they highly experienced they also worked tirelessly in trying to get the team out of the relegation places. If effort and commitment were the only qualities required then Andy and Steve would have seen us to safety but sadly it seems that there are many factors that govern success in football management. I want to thank Andy and Steve for the time, loyalty and effort that they gave to the club while they were in charge.

I know it is clearly early days but Bill and I have been very impressed with the conduct of Jay Saunders and whilst any decision about next season won’t be taken for some time Jay has already demonstrated many qualities that suggest he understands how to get the best out of fellow professionals.