Thursday, 25 August 2011

Down to earth with a clatter

Oliver Ash
We are all in a bit of shock after two such disappointing opening games.

I was at the Whitehawk game and enjoyed having a chat and shaking a few hands as I went round the ground with my youngest boy on my shoulders. Whitehawk were a very impressive team and the way the game went will have brought us down to earth with a clatter. I got the impression that one or two of our lads struggled to adapt to the pace and quality of the opposition. It didn't help that Jay himself went off early with a calf strain because we need his experience and bite in midfield.

At Whitstable it appears we created a few chances but weren't good enough to get a result. It's even more galling to lose to a rival with a few ex-Stones in their midst! However I am certain that we will recover from this awful start if all the squad recognise that we are in a dog fight in this division and nothing can be taken for granted. We will have to fight for every ball and not assume any opposing team will be easy meat for us just because we are Maidstone United. Right now all we are is bottom of the table, fact.

Also we will have to get used to the fact that our home pitch is a bumpy straw field when it's dry and a bog when it's wet. We have to use this to our advantage and learn how to play on this surface, it's just the way it is. Applying ourselves in this way will make us a better team. I am certain that Jay will get the necessary message over to the boys and we will see results going our way in the near future to bring back a smile to our faces.  

The work off the (Sittingbourne) field continues unabated so we can return to the (Whatman Way) field soonest. You may have seen some preliminary works have been carried out to take care of slow-worms and to allow the electricity sub-station to be built.

We are hopeful, depending on the progress in current contractor discussions, that fencing and ground levelling works can begin within the next month or so and we will be making an announcement as soon as we have a certain date for this.

Our intention is also to organise a 'Start of Works BBQ Party' at the new ground to mark the launch of the construction project. This will be aimed at all supporters, followers and indeed anybody who wishes to show support for the club on this momentous occasion. We may even have special edition merchandise produced to mark the Stones imminent home-coming. Once again more details will be provided asap when we are sure of when we can start works.

I can only conclude by restating how much there is to do to get all the off the field work done, above all the ground construction project. It is a huge and complex undertaking and requires vast volumes of time, energy, skill and patience particularly from Terry and Bill but also from the devoted members of the Committee, so please go easy on them; believe me they are breaking their backs to get us home.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Preparing for a massive moment

Terry Casey
Since the football season ended Bill, Oliver and I have been preparing the way so that we can get the heavy machinery onto the Whatman Way site and get the ground works started.

Having just completed the erection of a fence to stop the slow worms from returning to the site I am pleased to report that matters have been resolved to the satisfaction of the ecologists and they will give us the go ahead to start work on the ground. Once the ground works have started and the site is levelled we can install the fence on two sides and begin to secure the site.

We have had a number of legal obstacles to overcome with the difficulties over acquiring the land bank behind, what will be the East Stand, heading the list of problems. KCC have agreed to sell us the land bank and it is now in the hands of the solicitors.

UK Power will start the installation of the sub-station supplying electricity to the site on 19th August and the housing of the sub-station will begin in the next few days.

We are working closely with Maidstone Borough Council and submitting all of the alterations in the plans since the application was first lodged more than five years ago. These amendments are also being dealt with by the solicitors but I don’t anticipate any problems that we can’t overcome.

In planning and construction terms we are almost ready to go and we will be able to look at a start date in two to three weeks. Our target of completing the stadium by May 2012 means that we have to start, at the very latest, before the end of September.

Relief from the stresses and strains of the stadium project comes in the form of enjoying the highly promising start Jay and the lads have made to the new season. What is so good to see is the blend of youth and experience that looks so very exciting especially when I consider that more than 50% of the squad are either local lads or who have come through the Maidstone United youth system. I assume that the supporters of Hythe, Whitehawk and Bognor Regis are all thinking they have a squad that will get them into the Ryman Premier but I do think that we would never have been relegated if this squad had started last season.

Your support continues to be absolutely crucial to the club both for the 2011/2012 season and also helping the fund the stadium. We have spoken to many people who have said that they would become more involved once the building works starts. I can tell them it is only a matter of weeks away before work will start building a new home for Maidstone United Football Club.