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.